November 15, 2011

Echoes in Israel

One of the most meaningful stops on our trip was Israel. I don’t think words can quite describe how I felt about going to this very Holy Land. History begins here, and just about every significant religious and historical event to take place throughout the history of the world has occurred here! It is the only place on the planet where three continents come together: Asia, Africa and Europe, making it, quite literally, the center of the earth.  Because of this, it has been significant, valuable, and important to every ruler, kingdom and people who have ever existed.
By reading and studying the Old Testament over my life I have come to love this place, these people, and their history. Echoes of their extraordinary lives gently fills this Holy Land.
It was an honor to walk in the dirt, the very same dirt that the ancient prophets walked in. I thought of the dynamic and miraculous Elijah, the humble and suffering Jeremiah, and the epic and visionary Isaiah. My spirit felt close to their spirits as I felt feel the warm Middle Eastern breeze against my face and the coolness of the sand between my toes. I was overcome as I walked the streets of old Jerusalem. Echoes of powerful and grand kings like David and Solomon seemed to fill the walkways. 
The old, yet majestic, stone walls towered above me and the Psalms of David softly sang in my heart “I will love thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.”(Psalms 18)
As I thoughtfully strolled down the pathways and stopped to look at the many vendors selling beautiful scarves and jewelry I couldn’t help but reflect on the wonderful women of the Bible whose radiance shines over ions of time. 
My heart was filled with love and admiration for the young, beautiful and courageous queen Esther and for the strong, loving and loyal Ruth. And my heart, in a heavenly and miraculous way, felt connected to their hearts.

As I have diligently studied the Old Testament with its exciting stories, dramatic characters, miraculous events, and incredible prophecies and promises I have come to more fully realize the Lord is in charge of every detail of His Plan! He is a God of miracles. He is a God of amazing signs and wonders! And He makes sure that His purposes come to pass. He loves His children and blesses them when they are righteous. But he is also a “jealous God” and punishes His children when they are wicked. The beautiful thing is - after the punishment, of course, always, always comes the love and the promise of forgiveness! Although He may punish He never abandons. I absolutely LOVE how He takes care of His covenant people. 
He strengthens, redeems and delivers them. He protects, guides and prospers them. If we can just apply the powerful lessons from the Old Testament into our own lives we will know that if God did these things for ancient Israel and for Moses, Elijah, Gideon, Daniel, etc… then He can and will do the same for us! IF we honor our covenants with Him. How I love, love, love these people, this place and the Old Testament. It is a mighty testament of the extraordinary, phenomenal Power of God.

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