Beauty and Ruins are Reminders

I’m having a hard time focusing this morning. My heart is heavy with all the violence against God’s people. I guess I made the mistake of looking at Facebook before journaling my experiences from yesterday. Though, they may go hand in hand.

Yesterday we did a lot of driving as we ventured north to Tel Dan. The nature walk was magnificent, surrounded by trees, foliage, and the sound of running water. The water itself was crystal clear and it’s sounds soothing after an adventurous drive up the mountain. (And I am happy to report I am starting to get used to it.)

There are two trails to read the top of the tel that have the remains from Jeroboam’s time. One of the staff suggested we take the long trail since we had time. It took about 40 minutes to reach the ruins. As I said, there was beauty all around until…

Quite unexpectedly we came upon the site. The long trail empties onto the cultic site. So here we were, surrounded by the beauty of God’s creation, then suddenly see a man-made altar in a place God did not place his name. Don’t get me wrong, I love to look at ruins and imagine what it looked like when new, and what the people were like who lived there. I did some of that, but kept coming back to the rebellion this place represented.

Higher up the path are the bunkers from Israel’s war. From there, we could see past her borders and into surrounding countries. We also saw the path that once was in Syrian territory. Here, Israelis fought for freedom. And I couldn’t help but think how that hard won fight was not regarded by us in the US as we worked toward ‘peace’ by having Israel give back some of the land she’d won. How dare we. And again, we are looking to do the same thing, and I just want to scream.

We headed around the path that led to the Israelite gate. It is in better shape, with more impressive walls remaining than those at Megiddo. You can still see the base of where the king’s throne sat, when he judged at the gate. As I pondered this, I wondered why this would be in better condition than Solomon’s at Megiddo. Not from a physical standpoint, but a spiritual one. This morning I realized it stands as a monumental reminder that rebellion leads to destruction.

Farther along the path, we saw the Caananite gate. This would have been standing in Abraham’s day. Archeological digging was in progress, so we couldn’t go up to it, but I did note that what we were looking at was far different than the brochure photo. They had revealed much more than when the photo was taken, and the gate with it’s square bricks was impressive.

We started our descent, and stopped for a while at the wading pool. I rolled up my pants and headed in. It was freezing cold, but a nice respite from the heat. There were benches surrounding the pool. I laid down for one of my power naps, thanking God for the opportunity.

Our next stop was Ceasarea Philipi. It is a huge complex, but our only interest was in the ruins regarding the false gods. Again, we were reminded of rebellion. Maria couldn’t get over that Herod built the temple to Ceasar in front of the grotto to Pan, which some say is called ‘the gates of hades’.

Having visited all that we wanted, we started back down the mountain, hoping to visit the Mount of Beatitudes. It was closing when we arrived, so we are going to try to get there today.

Speaking of today, we will be spending an hour on a worship boat on the Sea of Galilee. I am looking forward to spending some time in worship with fellow believers in a place that Yeshua and his talmidim (disciples) fished and talked. We will then visit Korazim and Caperneum before heading south to the Yardenit (the baptismal site) then to Beit She’an for the night.

Please continue to pray diligently for Israel. And pray that the money would instantly dry up that is paying these terrorists (and their families) to kill Jews. And to stop the mouth of politicians and all people who would fight against Israel, or speak ill of her.

I was going to end this article here, but to be honest, there is something rattling around in my head from yesterday’s travels and from our time in Caesarea on Monday night. Just like America, Israel is open to many different lifestyles and practices that do not line up with God’s standard for right living. So I am also asking that we pray for Israel to get close to her God, the   one and only living God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. That she would leave behind the things of the world, any lifestyle, any practice, any idolotry that might lead to her chastisement. What the enemy meant for harm, would draw her closer to Him who called her Beloved.

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