Day Three of Israel
Day Three of our Israel trip started it out cold and rainy. I was a tremendous little packer as we had ponchos ready, but I didn’t realize how cold it was going to be. I would venture to say the weather in Israel is much like I’m used to here in Pensacola. The rain would come and then we would see sunshine. Regardless of the weather, we didn’t let that stop us from having the time of our lives. In fact, this was the first day of the new year. It ended up being one that we will never forget.
Grab your favorite drink and get cozy with your bible. I pray today you can see how God reveals himself as we walked through these biblical times.
Our first stop was once an important and royal city, Hazor. This is where Joshua conquered the king after he allied with ten kings to crush the Israelites. Joshua burned this town to the ground. The evidence of the truth in the Bible in this city was incredible.
The biblical resource can be found in Joshua 11:1-14.
As I walked through this area, there were archeologists on site securing an area with tarps because of the rain. It’s rather neat to see how they continue to work and uncover more of this city.
As we walked through the city gates as seen below, you notice instantly there was a significant fire that had taken place by observing the darkened stones. The fire became even more evident as we walked further through the gates. They estimated the findings in this area to be around 2800 years old.
One of the ways you could see evidence of the fire is the stones below was all of the cracks in the stones. These stones were burned more than 2000 degrees F.
In many of the places we visited you could find evidence of idol or pagan worship. Hazor was no different in that sense.
Below you can see a pagan statue they worshiped. Looks interesting, huh?
Random Side Note
Random side note, please forgive me but my heart needs to get this out.
As we were touring these areas and seeing the idols, they worshiped such as Baal I had these thoughts running through my head of why God’s people would do something so ridiculous. Why worship this statue? Why would they idol false Gods and not the one true God? Ahh… then I had a jolt of reality. What was I thinking? We are naturally made for worship because we are created by God, for God’s purpose, and our identity should be found in Him alone. However… just as Paul states in Romans 1:25; we exchanged the truth for a lie and worshiped the created instead of the creator. It still happens today because of our sin nature. If we removed that statue in the above picture and placed my iPhone in its place… there you would find idol worship. We love what we talk about or use the most. We are no different than the Israelites of the days.
Just a little food for thought.
Okay, moving on to Tell Dan!
If you can remember from my first post, I explained that a Tell depicts many layers of civilizations built on top of one another. This area is in the Northern part of Israel in the city of Laish. Tell Dan is an area where the Danites migrated from the South where they were under the leadership of Joshua. When we first started our walk, we could see a beautiful spring of water. Note that it was beautiful but FREEZING along that trail. Due to the spring of water, they had plenty of water, and the area is very lush because of the climate.
Biblical References: Judges 17-18:1-31 and 1 Kings 12:26-31.
The city of Laish has a lot of rich history dating back to at least 1800 B.C. and possibly to 2200 B.C. The city of Laish becomes Dan.
This is a gate that was discovered they believe that both Abraham and Jacob both could have used this gate during their travels.
After a long hike through the woods, we then stumbled upon this alter believed to be built by Israel’s King Jeroboam where he had the Golden Calf. You can read more about this in 1 Kings 12:26-31. This area was known as the Sacred Precinct.
As we were walking, we were able to see both the Israelite and Canaanite gate. As we were walking through the Israelite gate, we came upon a Bema Seat or also known as the Judgement seat.
Read more about the Judgement Seat of God: 2 Cor 5:6-10, Rom 14:10. Christians, we know that God will judge. Be encouraged, read Psalm 103: 10-12.
More evidence was revealed about their high places and sacrificial areas.
Our next stop was Caesarea Philippi. Since 1000 B.C this area was identified as a place of idol worship, pagan gods and a place for hedonistic worship practices. For many centuries it was called Panias for the god of Pan, a Greek god of the shepherds. This was a popular site for parties, drinking, and other not so nice things. This area was used by Canaanite gods, Greek and Roman Gods as well as Caesars.
There was also a cave called Cave of Pan as seen below. Many believe it was the underworld known as Hades. This cave was given the name Gates of Hades or the Gates of Hell.
What I noticed immediately as I was walking to the cave was the number of people here worshiping, praying, kissing the mountain. From the looks of it, pagan worship continues at this site.
Jesus brought his disciples here for a valuable lesson and rebuke. Read about it here: Matthew 16: 13-18.
I waited quite awhile to get a picture of this area below without the visitors sitting there. The rain had already diminished, but they were staying put. Instead, I smiled and clicked the shutter button.
Biblical references: Joshua 11:17, 12:7 and 13:5. Judges 3:3 and 1 Chronicles 5:23.
You can note many of the intricate details that are still left within these rocks.
Off to the Jordan River!
The day has already been spectacular… it gets even better as we travel to the Jordan river to the baptismal site. Along the way, we could see the clouds starting to lift and a spec of blue skies starting to show through. Praise the Lord. If only it would have been a wee bit warmer.
The water temperature of the Jordan river was about 46 degrees. That equates to FREEZING in my book. Our entire group was baptized which meant our pastor could no longer feel his legs once all 15 of us were finished. We each proclaimed publicly that Jesus Christ was our Lord and Savior. Hearing each person state their proclamation and seeing their baptism was amazing. We shouted celebrations after each one. The faces of each of us coming out of that freezing water was hilarious. It was a day I will always remember.
My mouth stayed open forever. I don’t know if it was the shock of the cold or my excitement. Either way, it was amazing. What a blessing to have Russ there helping with the baptism of our children and myself. I’d love to share my story with all of you soon. I hope that it can inspire someone to know more about Christ.
As you can see, our third day was full. After the baptism, we headed to our hotel to get warm.
Speaking of warm… I’m NOT warm here in Florida. Wow! It’s freezing and if you can believe this… we had a rare snow day for our kids yesterday. The temps are in the 20’s, and we had little flurries blow through our area. Pretty amazing for Pensacola.