Yesterday when I woke up, I was talking to the Lord about the safety of going to Shiloh. You see, Shiloh is in Samaria, which is within what people call ‘the West Bank’. In my heart I wanted to go, but the heart can be deceitful, so I sought the Lord.
He reminded me that years ago he sent someone to tell me he was giving me the desires of my heart. It’s a story for another day and time, but suffice it to say that he was talking about Psalm 37 and at that time I understood he was putting his desires into my heart. He also reminded me that he was the one who put this itinerary together. And finally, he reminded me of a conversation I had with a few people last night. One woman was telling the group how dangerous it was to be in Jerusalem and that they shouldn’t go anywhere.
Then, a post popped up on the phone from my friend, Marissa, on facebook. It was a meme quoting Jer 29, “‘I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope.'” I knew immediatey that things were going to be alright. He wasn’t sending us to Shiloh to harm us, but to deliver a gift of help to his people in Shiloh.
So things were moving along, we had to leave by 8 to arrive in Shiloh by 9 to meet with the former mayor who was taking us on a tour. I went up to the room to get my backpack and when I returned to the cafeteria to meet Maria, she was talking to a gentleman who had her in a panic. Since the car was in her name we weren’t going.
By this time it was 8:30. We were already late. I went down to the lobby to pray. I knew the conversation I had with the Lord. I knew I was supposed to go to Shiloh. So God would have to move on Maria’s heart or show me another way to get there on my own.
The Lord reminded me that the mayor mentioned there was another way to get there. I looked up the email and sure enough he said I could get there by bus, but the car was a much easier route. (Shiloh is only a 45 minute drive from Jerusalem, more with morning traffic.)
So it was decided, I was going. I returned to the cafeteria and told Maria there was a bus to get there. She agreed to come by bus. The Lord knew that she was frightened, so he sent people to help her every step of the way.
We decided to take the car to the bus stop because the name of the place was Psigat Ze’ev Mall. Being from America, you say mall, we think shopping center with a large parking lot. Silly us.
When we couldn’t find what looked like a mall, we parked. As I worked with the gps looking for a bus or train station (signal was spotty), Maria got out to see if she could ask someone for directions. It was a Jewish neighborhood.
The Lord sent her to a woman with a phone who didn’t speak English, but had a boyfriend who did. She called him and he told Maria we were in Pisgat Ze’ev Mall. So she returned to the car and we walked to the shops we passed around the corner.
There, we stepped into an office where one woman spoke English. The whole shop got involved! Three of them were looking up the Egged bus route on their computers while another offered us water. There were a couple of naysayers asking why we were going to Shiloh. I started praying and the naysaying stopped and they found the bus number and schedule that Mr. Rubin gave me. They even looked up the directions on their gps for us.
At bus stop, we met a woman from Delaware named Natalie. She made aliyah 8 years ago, and was also going to Shiloh. She chatted with Maria the whole wait, and on the bus we continued talking. She communicated with the driver for us, and was like mother hen, telling us that it was okay, just be aware, and even made us sit right behind her.
At Shiloh, a chasidic gentleman told Natalie he would guide us to the tel. His name is Yaakov Berkovitz. He walked us all the way there, chatting with us the whole time. At the gate to the tel, he bid us goodbye. It was now a little after 12 and our tour was scheduled to end at 1.
David Rubin is the former mayor of Shiloh. He moved here years ago from Brooklyn, and raises his family here. When his oldest son was a toddler, he was driving from Shiloh to Jerusalem when attacked by terrorists. They shot him and his son. That birthed a desire in him to help the children of terror and Shiloh Children’s Fund was born. He has written four books on the subject which has been translated in to other languages and tours all over the world, telling people about what they have accomplished in Shiloh for the children who are victims of terror.
This is the man we kept waiting for three hours. I had been in touch with Mr. Rubin the entire time, so he was aware, and very gracious when we arrived. He made some arrangements so he could spend some time with us, albeit brief.
He took us to the two schools and therapy center that his fund helped develop. Words this morning would not do justice to the many accomplishments the staff of these places have made – many child victims of terror themselves. Please go to the site and see for yourself. http://www.shilohisraelchildren.org/
He then brought us to Ancient Shiloh. We watched a movie about the story of the how the tribe of Benjamin was almost wiped out (found in the book of Judges), and how Hannah prayed for a son and was given Samuel, who was then given back to the Lord, and how Eli sons were crooked, and how Eli died. All this took place here at Shiloh, the place where the tabernacle stood for 369 years.
But the thing about the movie that broke my heart was that people had stopped coming to the tabernacle. The the place where God dwelled was neglected and eventually burned down by the Philistines.
After the movie, Mr. Rubin offered to stay with us another half hour. Knowing that I wanted to spend some time there, I thanked him for all he’d done and delivered the gift we raised from TAK’s Connections group.
The theater where they show the 15 minute movie faces the spot where the tablernacle stood. When the movie is over, you are still looking at spot. All I wanted was to get there and spend some time with the Lord.
I put on Paul Wilburs song that starts, “I enter the Holy of Holies, I enter through the blood of the Lamb. I enter to worship you only, I enter to honor I am.” And I worshipped, and prayed, and listened. I suddenly realized coming to this spot was the entire purpose of the trip. I was so sorry that the tabernacle was burned up, that it went into disuse, that we all neglected God, and continue to neglect him on a daily basis.
The rest of the afternoon was spent looking at a few of the ruins, but for me every thing paled by comparison. Being in the place where God dwelled with his people was all that mattered. And that few people venture there out of fear, breaks my heart.
Shiloh is a beautiful town, and very tranquil, while surrounded by threats, much like Israel is surrounded by threats, but when you connect with the Spirit of God, there is something very tranquil about the land.
Several of the residents we spoke to, including Yaakov, asked us to keep them lifted in prayer. Please join me in praying for them daily.
On the way back, Maria felt much better and said that traveling there was not so bad. God is good. The enemy tried to thwart us, but God won out, as he always does.
We finished our day shopping in the Yehuda Market for some goodies, and had dinner on Yehuda street, just chit chatting. And we once more were amazed that we are here in the land, eating a meal and chatting away as if it were the most natural thing in the world.