Inside Israel

We recently returned from a robust trip to Israel.  While our itinerary was jam packed, certainly every site we saw is a well tracked path.  So, I will not post pics of Masada, Jerusalem, the Western Wall, the Sea of Galilee, the Dead Sea or even the Armenian Quarter  (ok, maybe one)…

20190619_123037                        20190608_171643

Yousef*, our Arab Christian tour guide, expounded a depth of spiritual and historical knowledge as a native with 20 years experience leading Americans through Israel and Palestine.  He introduced himself as a “true believer in Jesus Christ” and often taught scriptural truths as related to various historical sites. It was obvious that he had a love for all the people we encountered – Jews, Muslims, Bedouins, and Druze – rich or poor.

It is not only what Yousef shared of Israel that still stirs my heart but what he revealed about us.

Yousef challenged the group at every Christian/religious site, “Can anyone describe what happened here?” “How was this place significant to Jesus Christ?” “Who was Herod the Great?…”  Either most of the group was shy or had little Biblical foundation.  While traveling at great cost and distance to see religious sites, most of the group was either unwilling or unable to converse in Biblical truths.

Yousef shared his experience during the tumultuous ‘Second Intifada’, 2000-2005, a time of violent uprising between Palestinians and Israelis.  He left Israel during that time, traveling to USA to possibly relocate to relative’s homes.  Job opportunities were sparse for him but what he recalls to us is this:  “I visited their church and was sure they would be focused with concern and prayer for the crisis in Israel.  When I came to the meeting however, they were all talking about which pizza had the best cheese.”  I felt a collective inner shame for the sated Body of Christ, isolated and disinterested in the suffering of distant brethren.

Our tour ended with an exhortation and plea,  “When you go home, open your Bibles, read them!  Let all that you’ve seen bring the words to life.”  Referring back to his time in the United States Yousef opened his heart, “I left the States in 2005 – I missed the dirty, noisy streets of Jerusalem!  I love this country and had to return….but now I regret it.  There’s an undeniable stirring, an certain unrest and hostility.  I tell you for sure, it is not ‘if’ war breaks out here, but ‘when’.”

As elsewhere in the Middle East, particularly Syria, the Christian population is suffering and shrinking.  Once 20% in Palestine, now Christians are 1%, fewer than 10,000.  Many may be ‘nominal’ Christians but even still my heart was burdened.  With the nonstop traffic of tour buses from all over, I wonder how many of these sojourning Christians will seek and receive a burden for these brethren?  Multitudes flock to religious icons and shrines, but how many will align with the burden of Christ’s heart for His people?

If we will “open our Bibles and read them” we too will see, it is not ‘if’ but ‘when’.  If we take our salvation with certainty, we must take the prophecies of scripture with like conviction in our hearts.  A celebrated authority will arise, the charismatic Antichrist.  Betrayal, violence, and chaos are destined for Israel.  Yes, God Himself with be their victory and triumph, but what is our role as Christ’s Body in the world?

I loved every bit of Israel and my visits to Palestine.  I want though, more than any itinerary and tour, to realize what the Holy Spirit is showing me – Lord, align and press in my heart your truths and views of this great land.

Go to Israel while you can.  See everything, there’s so much!  But let the Holy Spirit be your inner tour guide and open your spiritual eyes with heaven’s view!

(*not his real name)

 

26 thoughts on “Inside Israel

  1. Lisa Beth, welcome back and glad you had a nice trip! Thanks for the post and Armenian-themed photos!

    RE: I felt a collective inner shame for the sated Body of Christ, isolated and disinterested in the suffering of distant brethren.

    Yes, sitting mostly safe and secure here in the U.S. we have no idea.

  2. Great post, Lisa Beth. The tour guide’s words were so true. He exposed the weakness in the faith of American Christians as well as their biblical ignorance. Here in the south, talk is of football rather than pizza, but it’s all the same disease. He is also spot on regarding “not if, but when.” Thank you for sharing this angle of your trip!

  3. Your trip must have been amazing. Thank you for sharing about your experience. I think we can all learn from what you saw and heard. Yousef sounds like a very special and blessed tour guide. I admire your courage and strength to make such a journey!

    • Thanks so much Martha! It was a wonderful trip – the people, the historic sites and the paths that Jesus walked were wonderful. We even went in and also sailed on the Sea of Galilee!
      I hope you and yours are well. I think of you every time I see my beautiful hanging sloth! 😀

  4. What a fascinating experience! I can not imagine what it must have been like to walk the streets that Christ walked!
    How sad it must be for your guide, as it is for you and me, to realize how little people are aware of, or care about, what’s happening in his native land.
    Even though we know, as each day goes by, that we are closer and closer to the end times, daily reports of “rumors of war,” earthquakes and strange weather patterns are telling us the prophecies of old are coming true. We should have an urgency of spreading the gospel in our lives, and our prayers should reflect our awareness, too.
    Thank you for the post.
    Blessings~💖

    • So good to hear from you sister, thanks for adding your kind and thoughtful comments. I agree with you, esp about the urgency of spreading the gospel. May the Lord open more doors and embolden us to go thru. I pray that God continues to inspire and encourage you Robbye! 🌻

  5. Thank you for sharing the insights from your trip, Lisa. I felt like I was there with you listening to your tour guide. So sad. I feel like a failure at stirring up other Christians. I’m afraid it’s going to take persecution and trials to wake up the American church.

    • So good to hear from you Bill, Bob and I were just talking about your itchy post. It is discouraging to think that, for all our legacy and resources, American Christians are no threat to the kingdom of darkness. We are so preoccupied with things that have no eternal value.
      Looking forward to your next post brother, may the Lord continue to speak through your heart.

  6. Beautiful!! The Holy land I’ve heard truly is transforming. ❤️🙏🙌 The truths of Gods Word come to life!!

    • Yes Ricky Racer, visiting the Holy Land is wonderful. 🇮🇱 Not only are so many ancient sites, like Masada, preserved but archeologists are everyday finding new historical treasures.
      Being at places like the Sea of Galilee and Old Jerusalem really do enliven God’s word!
      Thanks for your visit and comment, God bless you!

  7. (Slaps forehead for emphasis) So that’s where the phrase, “the burning lamp,” comes from–God’s covenant with Abram, Genesis 15:17, “…a burning lamp that passed between those pieces.” I knew there was something I was supposed to know about it!

  8. Pingback: Inside Israel — theburninglampdotcom – Truth Troubles

Leave a Reply to rickyracer42 Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s