Bright and early, with Psalm 119:97, 98,102,103; ‘Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day. Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me.I hold back my feet from every evil way, in order to keep your word. I do not turn aside from your rules, for you have taught me.
How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!’ ringing in our ears, we make our way to Gezer.
Beginning with a good foundation, our guide orients us with a map overview, and history time-line.
Joe then teaches us well how leaders are to be in the gates. Later, one of the single ladies posed the question- ‘How are we to relate to this teaching?’ Could it be that they can hold up the arms of the leaders in encouragement, care, and blessing? What does that look like in today’s world? Joe demonstrates the strength and determination of Samson intent on doing what he chooses to do-carrying off the city gates.
After a teaching on the standing stones at Gezer, we moved on to Bet Shemesh. Below left is where it seems Zorah was, and the top middle picture possibly the vicinity of the rock of Etam. And on the right side was the area of Eshtaol. Read the account of Samson.Join us in realizing that when people by our standards are different, we tend to respond to them in ways that causes them to want to isolate themselves,but as Proverbs 18:1 says, when we isolate ourselves, our community can’t help us.
A hike up Azeka serves to get us well broken into the walking. It’s steep, and important for community to rally around the struggling.We had a nice long break as we dialogued for a relaxed while. Our discussion was on how to reach the struggling,and how being the salt of the earth isn’t always about sharing Scripture. Sometimes you can accomplish more by being than by doing or saying.
Eating Lunch at tables set up in a grocery store aisle was a new experience for most of us. Schnitzel, potato chips, peanut butter puffs, and juice or pop was our fare.
At Maresha we explore the underground houses, cisterns,
and the Columbarian Caves
… and end up at this Gat Shemonim. The weight of the stone crushes the olives, and only after being pressed under a great weight does the oil become useful. Thus it is with us. When we are bruised and broken by trials sore, we become useful in the Kingdom. We are challenged by Joe: “Do you dance when the trials come?” The question is posed: “What keeps us from dancing?” Pride, or fear of pain were some suggestions, and then we had to rush off. BUT- the lesson has made its impression in at least a few hearts! We will process and search our hearts later– when God brings it ringing to our ears– probably at a time we need it desperately. This seems to be the nature of God’s care and grace!
The olives are as beautiful before the crushing as they are useful after being pressed. Where does that put us? We will be a healing oil. 2 Cor. 1:3-4
We entered the Apollophanaes Cave, and saw the burial places.
An interesting writing gave more information.
The entrance to this place was amazing. This picture speaks volumes. In fact, it’s worth more than a thousand words!! It depicts a spiritual leader whose ‘children’ are like olive shoots ’round about his table, as Psalm 128:3 says. This verse was also a part of our lessons today.
We ended our day with a quick stop at Lachish where we again saw city gates, and we were admonished and reminded at how ruthless evil can be. Sennacherib was the person we learned about.
and after another quick stop at the Ben Gurion Burial and Memorial, we headed to Mitzpe Ramon Suites in the Negev. There is a wonderful cool breeze, and we anticipate the sunrise over the Ramon Crater in the morning!