I have been blessed abundantly with the opportunity to set foot in some historical places the past couple of weeks: Bethlehem, Megiddo and Jerusalem to name just a few. While surreal is not grand enough of a word to express the feeling of being in these Biblical cities, something very interesting is stirring in me to share immediately following my Israel journey.
Not all will have the opportunity to take a trip to the land promised to Abraham. Not all believers will get to experience seeing with their own eyes olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane that may possibly be the very trees that the Lord touched as He prayed for the cup to pass from Him. Not everyone who loves the Lord will get to physically touch the waters of the Sea of Galilee and picture the Lord walking on them as He did long ago.
Not all will get to go to Israel, but all can go to Him.
I believe it was when we approached the location that is believed to be the birthplace of Christ in Bethlehem that a Scripture in Amos stirred within me:
"Seek Me and live; but do not seek Bethel, nor enter Gilgal...Seek the Lord and live."
I felt a conviction to be careful not to worship a place. We are human, and we operate in the tangible realm. It is easy to find ourselves placing a greater attention on what we can see and touch than on what we must trust to be real. But did not the Lord relay to Thomas after he needed proof that "blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
I love Israel, and I pray now more than ever for the peace of Jerusalem. I am a visual learner, and so I am beyond thankful for the ability to attach the views of these places to the words as I read the Word now. But more than I love the promised land, I love the Promiser. More than I love the Holy Land, I love the Holy One. A huge thank you to my aunt for blessing me with this opportunity...and a huge thank You to the One who came to dwell in me long before I could go to visit where He dwelt on earth.
Father, it amazes me that heaven and earth cannot contain You, yet You choose to make Yourself at home in my heart. Thank You more than I can say for the gift of being in the land You chose for Your people Israel. I am so blessed that I don't know how to express it. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Amos 5:5-6, John 20:29, Ezekiel 20:6, Psalm 122:6