Thursday, April 4, 2019

Understanding God's Heart

After our morning camel ride, we were off on our first full day in Israel for our Old Testament study tour with the JV single missionaries.

It's an honor and privilege to be here with this group of strong, brave, talented, godly, and oh so fun people, which includes our daughter, Claire!

PC: Marek, one of our JV singles who serves on our Communications team and is super talented with photography!

First stop today was actually a bonus! While our bus driver went to get gas (did you know a bus can't get gas while passengers are inside?), we got to step out into the morning sun here at the Ramon Crater, the world's largest erosion crater.

It's 40 km in length and 2-10 km wide - quite a spectacular sight that we all enjoyed seeing!

And it ever special to be here with not only Claire, but Tyler too (who isn't single! But is co-teaching with Dave this week).

We continued our journey into the desert, stopping along the way for teaching by Dave on "Leadership in the Desert"! Pretty cool location to have that particular lesson!

We're not only getting great Bible teaching this week from Dave and Tyler, but Dave is also leading us through a "walk through" of the Old Testament, using hand motions and words to help us remember the timeline of events in the first 39 books of the Bible!

His teaching was so good here, as he talked about the leadership mistakes Moses made. One of the last things I wrote as finished up the teaching was, "Leaders should be faith filled, and good instruction followers!" You can probably guess that Moses made some errors in those areas.

We continued through the desert, headed to Timna Park where Tyler was getting ready to do his teaching for the day.

Timna Park is not only a spectacular geological sight that covers 15,000 acres, but also holds something else that is unusual and special.

In 1986 a German Bible school chose to build a life-size replica, a 23-ton tabernacle model to show Israel honor on the occasion of the school's 30th anniversary. Built on the school's campus, the tabernacle had 15,000 visitors in its first two months.

Students manned it and gave tours seven days a week, and some time later the school decided to send it on tour around Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

It had 500,000 visitors in all, but afterward ended up in storage. Until two men had a vision to bring it to Israel!

To be honest, when we arrived and saw it from a distance, it didn't seem like much. But the young man who gave us the tour, brought it to life as he explained it to us.

He talked about the sacrifices and offerings brought by the people to the priests, who would then bring them into the tabernacle, the dwelling place of God, to make atonement for their sins. The fire on the altar was to be kept burning at all times and the daily sacrifices were offered in the morning and afternoon.

Only the High Priest could enter the holy of holies where the ark of the Covenant was held, which contained the Ten Commandments given to Moses.

It was beautiful to hear our guide give a clear Gospel presentation inside the Holy of Holies, telling of how Jesus' death was the final sacrifice and atonement for sin, which opened the way for God's presence to be with each of us once we receive that sacrifice from Jesus for our sins.

We found out afterward that our guide lives in Eilat, just a half hour away, and is part of a Messianic Jewish community there. And when we asked him about how he came to be a guide at the Tabernacle replica, he said that his mom had been one of the original guides years ago! #familyonmissionūüėČ

Our version of family on mission continued here in Timna Park as Tyler opened the Word for us and taught on "How to Read Old Testament Law"!

Once again, my notes are FULL from all that he had to share with us.

I think one of my biggest takeaways was that the Law actually helps us understand God's heart; they weren't meant to be law in and of themselves, but to give us the heart of God and what He cares about. That was such fresh insight for me, especially as I'm in the middle of a chronological read through of the Bible this year, so am deep in the Old Testament right now! How I'm enjoying learning from my son about these things!

Tonight we're tucked away in a very different location than last night's bedouin camp.

We're not sure how our tour operator booked us into such a nice hotel, but we're grateful for the hot showers, the beautiful food, and the lovely view out to the Dead Sea tonight!

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