God said to Abraham, “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
My husband and I recently spent ten days touring Israel. We felt safe and amazingly at peace while we traveled in the disputed land where sixty five percent of the Bible took place. We spent considerable time underground walking in recently excavated archeological digs with a top archeologist, a native Israelite who came to regard Jesus as the Messiah as well as his personal Savior and Lord. He painstakingly led us on an electrifying, hands- on walk through the Bible. We examined indisputable evidence of the biblical account from Genesis through the life of Christ and beyond. We walked along ancient pathways stopping at key places to read biblical accounts that had occurred there. We returned home eager to read the Bible from cover to cover. Having seen the land, walked in tunnels chiseled thousands of years ago by human hands, examined the astonishing evidence of biblical stories, the scriptures sprung to life in powerful ways.
We came home exhausted and exhilarated, determined to keep this newly lit passion burning and to spend considerable time each day studying the Bible. Arriving at the Atlanta airport, I recognized immediately how challenging this goal would be however, when I turned on my cell phone (for the first time in 10 days) to discover hundreds of emails and texts to filter through. We had spent ten days disconnected from media, with no cell phone or access to the internet, no TV or newspaper. How easily it would be to simply fall back into the normal pattern of life and allow the endless distractions and interruptions to consume our time, energy and devotion.
While in Israel, we took a lengthy camel ride in the desert. I was not particularly excited to do so however. It seemed mundane, unexciting, and somewhat uncomfortable. Climbing onto the camel, I was already looking forward to the ride being over. The experience however wound up being peaceful and rich. Sitting on the camel, looking out on the vast expanses of the desert, I had time to think and to pray – no interruptions – no voices – just the peaceful, ambling gait of the camel. I pondered the lives of the ancient Israelites who had wandered this same desert for forty years. I looked around and realized their wilderness experience was far different than I had considered it to be. They had possessed the time and the serenity to commune daily with the God of the Universe who was to be their only source of provision.
Sadly daily life for many Americans today is often reduced to a stream of endless interruptions and distractions. In the midst of this distracted age – when time for deep contemplation is difficult to find – how do we train up young men and women with steadfast faith, who rely upon God and not themselves? It begins with a committment to studying the one book He wrote in its entirety – from Genesis to Revelations. Otherwise how will we raise leaders who can move mountains and slay giants – who will be willing to pick up the stones today? Who will have the faith of David and the courage of Joshua? Who will remain devoted like Ruth or Mary? Who will spread the gospel like Peter and Paul? We can learn deep truths and important lessons today by learning about those who have gone before us.
HIS story here on earth- God’s redemption of mankind – continues to play out not just in Israel, but also around the world and here in our great land. I wonder who among us today will be remembered as strong men and women of faith?
I strongly encourage the NAUM’s trip to Israel next June for an inspirational life changing experience. For information about the trip, check out My Fathers House Educational Foundation.