I am freshly back from a couple of weeks in Israel and Jordan. Of course, I’m exhausted. I mean, we walked 68 miles over 13 days, surrounded by six take-offs and countless security lines. With the time change there and back, we are all a bit worn on our return. But it was an amazing trip. Amazing.
But since I’ve been over 10 times, the most energizing part of the journey to me is to listen to folks react to what they see and smell and discover on this journey. The evidence of God at work is everywhere. We stopped in popular sites and some at which we were almost alone. But they all speak to the soul.
Shiloh was meaningful on this trip. You stand on the spot where the Tabernacle/Temple had been found for the longest time in Israel’s history (369 years) and soak in the landscape around you. Solomon’s Temple didn’t last nearly that long. Neither did Herod’s. But at Shiloh could stand and gaze around to where the tents of the people of Israel would have been pitched on those days of festivals over the years. It is there that the story of the presence of God among His people can be told. What a place!
Of course, I love to stop in Hazor in the north so that we can learn of the veracity of God’s Word. The Bible records that Joshua captured and then burned this city with fire. And what have the archeologists discovered? Clear evidence of a fire at Hazor. We saw the consequences of a fire burning with raging heat during the days of Joshua. And then we saw the stone found at Tel Dan with the inscription, the “house of David.” This stone is the only non-biblical reference to King David, which proves his existence. To be honest, many “scholars” have relegated David to the realm of myth over the years. But this stone, inscribed by a Gentile, proves David is no myth or legend, he is real.
We saw two gates dated back to the days of Abraham. We saw the stone with an inscription of the governor of the area, Pontius Pilate. And the stone declaring an ossuary to be that of Caiaphas, the high priest. Evidence of God at work in the land is everywhere. In archeology and in the land itself. We discovered proof of the accuracy of the text. We discovered life-changing scenic vistas which support and inform the biblical narrative.
We stood above the Sea of Galilee and saw what a dramatic difference such a small geographic region could make on the whole world. The Jewish third of that shoreline has changed the world. It changed some fishermen. A tax collector. A Gentile centurion. And yet, having seen the presence of God among them, most never recognized Jesus for Who He was and is. And so, these towns in Galilee where Jesus invested most of His time were cursed, and their cities relegated to a pile of stones.
May we respond in humility to Him who came to bring us to God. May we be faithful to proclaim His tender mercies and follow the instructions given to us. The evidence is real. May our faith be just as real.