Yesterday started my trip to Galilee!
We haven’t quite made it to our destination quite yet, but we are getting there!
We have already been to a lot of places, so I’ll just do a highlight of a couple, or all of them.ok.sweet.
We would have been able to get there in a couple hours, but we took an amazing detour onto the Coastal Region of Israel.
Our first stop was in Aphek. It is mentioned in 1 Samuel 4:1-13. This is the place where the Ark of the Covenant was captured by the Philistines. There is currently a Turkish fortress ruins that are standing there. And there is a park right next to it and I’m pretty sure the trees were eucalyptus, which are totally my favorite!
Caesarea Maritime was our next stop. It was here that I could only think of family as we passed a Coal Generating Station which was on the coast. It only made me think of my dad, who transformed my thinking of them from just being ugly pipe things in the ground, to stacks-generating station-a form of getting power to the city. I love my dad.
We sat in a theater that had been reconstructed to look like what would have been in Herod’s day-at least during one of the Herod’s day…anyway, this city is actually called “Little Edom” due to the amount of god-worship that took place here. We read through Acts 10-when Peter had his vision in Jaffa, then went to Caesarea and witnessed to Cornelius-showing proof quickly that the gospel is not just for Jews, but for all man.
THERE IS SO MUCH THAT HAPPENED HERE!
But my favorite is the testimony of Paul in Acts 23, 24 &26. He is imprisoned and fearless to share the gospel with the highest government official. Preaching the truth of the work that the Lord is capable of doing-saving the lost man to be found. Praise the Lord!
Megiddo: Judges 1:27-28. Today is pretty much a slab of dirt that is higher than the lower Jezreel Valley which makes it nice to see the surrounding country. A lot happened here, and it was cool to see all the layers of the people groups that have lived in this one spot.
It was really cool to see the Jezreel Valley as it is a large agricultural area, filled with different orchards and crops. Kinda like the mid-west, but much better weather.
Mt. Carmel: 1 Kings 18: 16-46. It was surreal to read this story and think about what was going on in the mind of Elijah and those prophets of Baal. And we could see the Kishon River where the prophets were taken to be killed. Through this story, it straight up tells about God, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Plus it was really amazing to see all the trees that we passed to get there and it all the agricultural metaphors make so much more sense. Its amazing. I am loving it.
Tell-Jezreel: 1 Kings 21:1-29. Ahab and Jezebel-what a mixed up couple! But it shows the reality that there is truly, nothing new under the sun-in regards to woman being so strong-headed. She definitely “wore the pants” of the relationship. But amazing to see how God is a sucker for repentance. When Ahab repents and sees the wrong of what was done, the Lord allows the prophecy that was placed on his head to be lifted, yet Jezebel was still going to be killed and their son as well. It was Jehu who truly put an end to Baal worship-yet he still worshiped as his Jeroboam II, which was not a manner that was honoring to the Lord at all.
Then we stayed in the Herod Valley. Literally right next to the spring, Gibeon Spring, at the foot of Mt. Giboa.
Today, we visited the spring where Gideon took his men to get his 300 men. The 300 men who would show that it was only God who was truly winning the battles for the Israelites.
We went to Beth-Shan-which is a huge ruin and active tell-excavation site and read 1 Samuel 31. It was at this place where Saul’s death occurred and his head was hung. Today it is a really cool place where we could see a 2nd century theater in its original shape, a bathhouse, and some old streets.
Then we got to Nazareth, which is where we are staying tonight. It is a cool modern city, it is difficult to imagine what it would be like in the day of Mary and Joseph- where there were probably only 200 people and everyone knew everyone and everything. A highlight of today was when we went to the Church of Enunciation-which is where tradition says the angel told Mary she was going to have a baby-Jesus. The Son of God! In some free time at this site, I read through Mary’s Magnificat in Luke 1:46-56-what an amazing testimony of her servant attitude. I know she probably didn’t say this in this town, but still-it’s amazing. My God is amazing.
The place we are staying tonight is a guesthouse/hotel that is across the street from the biggest Catholic Church in the Middle East. It’s huge. I’m actually looking at it right now as I am on the roof of my room, typing this blog. What a beautiful thing to go into this place and rejoice at the work of the Lord that He had done through His Son. The work He has done through His people in the Old Testament. My God is FAITHFUL!
I’m doing well-this week is going to be crazy, and there is going to be information coming out my ears, but I’m excited for the places we are going. I am a little home sick, but only when I’m not doing anything with my time, like hiking or sleeping. I am very thankful for this experience. I will literally never read the Word of God the same-Praise the Lord! Next time I’ll blog, I’ll be in Galilee!