oh little {lowly} town

I went this past Wednesday-FIELD TRIP DAY- to Bethlehem, Herodian, Tekoa, and Hebron

This trip was really interesting, as we passed from Israeli controlled cities into Palestinian controlled cities.

Our first stop was in Bethlehem-which is still a good depiction of the original city. Originally, the city was nothing beautiful, just a city in Israel that Joseph was from. And today, it hasn’t been made into this city inlayed with gold, it is a city that was having a garage sale at the top of the city and has a Catholic church built on top of the place where Jesus was born-thanks to Constantine’s Mom-Helena. It has some cool architecture, but really, it doesn’t have a whole lot going for it.  As we passed into the city, we stopped at the separation wall that literally separates Bethlehem (under Palestinian rule) from the rest of the country, in essence. On the Palestinian side, there is a lot of graffiti that is favor of peace and wanting to be at peace with Israel, yet they are the ones who were hostile in the first place-it is quite ironic.

We got to the church and read Luke 2:1-8. It was crazy to stand and read and think about what happened in this city so many years ago-it’s a real event at a real place. One aspect that I love is that the Magi, Gentiles, came and worshipped Jesus, which is only recorded in the gospel of Matthew chapter 2.  And here are some misconceptions of the birth of Jesus that we too often don’t see as the text doesn’t explicitly say-yet we traditionalists just go with what has been said over the past 2000 years:

  • “Inn”-it is more accurately translated as guest house-there was no room in the guest house.
    • Therefore-there is no large angry innkeeper
    • There is no mention of animals
    • Joseph and Mary did not arrive late, they were actually probably living in the city for a long time before the census was happening as it says, “And while they were there”. Some even go to say that they traveled there far before she was even showing dramatically that she was pregnant.
    • We don’t really know if Jesus was really born at night-we assume that because of the Shepherd’s being told by angels at night.

I had never thought about some of these things before!

The city was nothing of beauty-it was made beautiful because of the fact that God sent His Son, Jesus to be born as a baby to a young, poor couple, placed in a feeding trough. I love how God made Jesus my example and how I can see His humility from literally the beginning to the end of His human life.  

The irony is that one of the next stops was where Herod the Great built a great kingdom for his name to be exalted and be made great. He was a sick man who was willing to do anything and everything to make his name exalted and made beautiful. He had to be named King of the Jews-which was SUCH a threat Jesus was BORN King of the Jews.

Herod did everything he could to grasp power. Jesus found His equality with God nothing to be grasped {Philippians 2:6}

We then stood in field just East of Jerusalem and read Luke 2:8-20-the account of the Shepherd’s hearing of the birth of Jesus. And we also talked about other things that took place in the fields of Bethlehem- David, Shepherds, and Ruth & Boaz. Again-humble beginnings and stories of real live people that God used for His glory.

While we were standing there, all I could think of was the song, “Humbly thyself in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”

We went to Tekoa where the prophet Amos is from and we stood in another field looking at the city and valley, and read Amos 6 which talks about the fact that it’s when things are going well that the people can become numb, desensitized to fact that it is the LORD who is doing the work-not them. And it is so often that I find myself in this same position. I don’t want to become desensitized to my sin and the sickness of this world even when things in my life seem to be going well- it’s all for His glory {Romans 11:36}.

And we also went through the amazing story of Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20. We were overlooking a valley of olive trees which Bill, our teacher, told us could be a possible location for the Valley of Baracha- The Valley of Blessing. The place where Jehoshaphat led his troops, led by the choir, to gather the spoils from their enemies that were originally trying to destroy Judah, but ended up killing each other-the Ammonites, Edomites, and Moabites. The Lord protects His people yet again.

Our last main stop was Hebron.

This was huge as it has been closed off to the general public for ages, it has only been the past couple years that our program has been able to go to this city as it is under Palestinian control. I’m pretty sure only Muslim people were allowed to go in and out for the longest time-not super confident in that, but I do know that the number of Christians that have actually visited Hebron is very few.

What makes this city great is that it is the city of the Patriarchs. The tombs of: Rebekah, Leah, Isaac, Jacob, Abraham, and Sarah. Sarah died, and Abraham bought a piece of this land to bury her in Genesis 23. It is also known as the fields of Mamre. It is the place where Abraham was visited by 3 visitors and was told that he was going to have a son-Isaac. We read through Genesis 18 &19 and my favorite part of this section, “Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year and Sarah shall have a son” (Genesis 18:14). SNAP! I sat close to the place where the LORD put His name “on the line” through Abraham and proves Himself faithful through Isaac.

We went and visited the tombs where they think the different people are laid- Abraham, Jacob, Leah, and Sarah are located in what is now a Catholic church. And Isaac and Rebekah are in a Muslim mosque-which we were allowed to go into as long as us, girls, put on those cloak like things and all of us took off our shoes. It was definitely an experience. I felt like an elvish girl from Lord of the Rings.  

Then we stopped on the side of the road to buy some HUGE grapes-which were delicious and only made me think of John 15-what a beautiful picture of Jesus-especially as grapes are a big deal around these parts. PLUS it was crazy to see how the vines grow so well in rocky terrain- I don’t know what they are doing, but they are doing a great job-Dad-we should be able to grow these grapes! Hahaha but then again, SCV isn’t quite the “Promised Land” J

I’m doing well-thankful for the package I got from my parents today-Monday-as I was literally missing the little things-like goldfish and Oreos and gum and some of my striped shirts. AND I was really missing the feeling of blow dried hair-so I improvised. I set my fan on the highest setting-and within 30 minutes-voila, I had dried hair and it felt great! Plus no heat damage! *win-win-win situation*

Last week I had a couple tests which were difficult, but I’m getting back into the whole studying thing. Don’t worry mom, I’m staying on top of my reading! I am loving the people that are here-making friends and having some great gospel conversations and also laughing with each other. I have been so encouraged by the girls here and even through emails from back home. Thank You! On Tuesday mornings, we have girls Bible Study lead by the teacher’s wives and 2 female IBEX staff-and we split into small groups and that has been a sweet time of fellowship, prayer, and encouragement.

OH and I’ve definitely been missing my youth group girls TREMENDOUSLY! Praying for you girls!!!!

Bea has definitely helped me just laugh. One of my favorite Bea quotes of the week, “The fan is squirting air into my mouth!”


One thought on “oh little {lowly} town

  1. I love how the Lord is kindling your mind of things of Him throughout your studies there in Israel. Thanks for sharing!

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