Friends, I have spent ONE day in Israel, and I already feel like my heart has been changed forever.
The Bible is full of real places, real people, real stories, and these real places and people forever change our stories. (click to tweet)
Of course I know that, but standing in it today (and it’s only day one of a ten day trip) did something in my heart forever.
We started out at the port city of Caesarea. You can real about this beautiful port city in Acts 10.
We sang Amazing Grace on this spot. This was so special to me. See in Acts 10, Cornelias lived in Casarea when He had a dream to go meet Peter. Long story short, it was after this meeting that the Holy Spirit began to fall on the Gentiles.
I am a Gentile. So this place is important to the amazing grace available to me.
From there, we went to Mt. Carmel. This mountain is the scene of an epic movie like showdown between Elijah and King Ahab and the priests of Baal. You can find this story in 1 Kings 18. To be in that spot and look over the Jezreel and Armageddon Valley took my breath away. The brooke where Elijah would have had to send the prophets to get water to “wet the wood” for the altar was far down the mountain. Elijah had to have some great big faith to believe that God was going to provide the fire from heaven for this wet sacrifice.
What a moment that must have been. And then Elijah ran in the power of the Spirit all the way from the tiptop of the mountain where we were to the valley where Jezebel was. He had seen the powerful acts of God. He had seen God reveal Himself and prove Himself. Yet, a chapter over, He finds himself terrified of Jezebel and He runs and hides in the wilderness.
I don’t want to forget what it was like to look from this big mountain point into the valley, imagine how Elijah had seen the greatness of God, yet how a short time later He ran in fear. My friend and our guide on this trip, David Disney, reminded us as we were looking down into the valley how often we do that.
We experience the power of God in our mountaintop moments, but we get gripped in fear in the valley.
I do not want to let the valley’s keep me from remembering the God who moves the mountains.
we saw so many other incredible things today. A city gate left standing from the time of Jacob. Walls from Solomon’s day. A underground water cistern. The high places where the sacrifices took place, and walking in the Valley of Armageddon.
But the place that so gripped my heart was Nazareth. These were the streets my Jesus walked. In Luke 4 there is a point where the people of Nazareth get angry and take him up to a pinnacle to try to throw him off a cliff. To stand on that cliff and overlook Nazareth today set all the glory goosebumps on my arm.