As our tour here starts to wind down, good-bye starts to become word that is heard here and there. As I think of leaving this group that I have struggled down difficult paths with, physically as well as spiritually, I have to say that the experience has been truly amazing. The things that we have seen and experienced here in Israel have really brought life to the Bible and encouragement to our souls.
Today started bright and sunny. It was a cool, breezy 70* morning as we left the dead sea and traveling into the unknown southern desert.
The start of the day was quite deceiving though. As the day heated up, we were met with the most challenging hike to-date; ascending to the top of Timna. Looking up to the mountains in front of us, it gave me a lot more sympathy towards the Israelites going through the wilderness. Imagine if this was the sight that greeted your eyes every morning day after day.
God was very merciful to us today though, giving us some shade and just the right breeze to refresh us without kicking up dust into the air. The “ruach” of God to lift us up and start our journey though the desert on a great note.
One of the things that has been a focus of the entire trip and one that I have really appreciated, is community. There is a Hebrew saying that translated goes, “Be strong, Be strong, make each other strong”. Helping each other and encouraging each one is something that has just been a tremendous blessing.
In the barren place that you saw in the pictures above, you would never expect to find trees or water, but just two days ago there was a rainstorm and the barren desert is slowly starting to come alive.
The view at the top was absolutely breathtaking and filled each one of us with a sense of awe as we looked at a portion of God’s creation that we normally do not see.
While on the top of Timna, Joe shared a beautiful image of God’s covenant with the Israelites. He laid out the similarities it has to a marriage. There is the covenant which in this case would the be the Ten Commandments. Then the covering which would be the cloud filling the tabernacle (the dwelling place) in which God would meet with his people.
After we descended from Timna, it was our privilege to view a full scale replica of a tabernacle. The Bible came alive once more before us.
The altar of burnt offerings
The opening to the inner court
The items in the inner court and the ark of the covenant inside the Holy of Holies.
All in all it was an amazing day in which the scripture came alive and my eyes were opened yet once again.
These thoughts I leave with you. The temple not made with hands is where? What dwelling place have we prepared for our Master? As a royal priest, someone who is exemplifying God on this earth, what do the people around you see when they look at you? Do they see a little bit of the kingdom of God brought down to earth?
Written by Joshua Hess