Leviticus 9:7-10:20, Mark 4:26-5:20, Psalms 37:30-40, Proverbs 10:6-7
Today is the 20th day of February, welcome to the Daily Audio Bible I am Brian it is great to be here with you today are coming to you from Eliot, which is the southernmost tip, southernmost city in the land of Israel. We journeyed through the wilderness yesterday all the way down here to the shores of the Red Sea, which is where we spent the night. And, so, obviously can’t go further south and stay in this country. So, we will begin journeying north today. We’ll talk about that in a little bit. But before we do, let's…let’s do what we’ve come here for. Let’s allow all of the cares of life…they won’t…they have a way of coming back…they won't…like they’re not going anywhere, we’re not gonna lose them…or…or maybe we are. Maybe we’re coming here every day to learn how to live. And, so, it’s good for us to just exhale the world and inhale the serenity and peace that comes from allowing the word of God just to wash over us. So, we’re reading from the New International Version this week, continuing through the book of Exodus. We’ll read chapter 9 verse 7 through 10 verse 20 today.
Okay. So, yesterday in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus is using an agricultural story about planting seed and it falling on different types of ground and so what happened to the seed because of the soil. And, so, in today’s readings He’s kinda continuing with…with that kind of agricultural motif or background but expanding it to…to encompass the entire kingdom of God. So…so He’s like, “the kingdom…the kingdom of God is like a farmer who scatters seed on the ground.” Then He’s explaining the growth of the plant, that it’s happening both day and night and the farmer doesn’t even know how it’s happening. It’s just happening. The growth is taking place as he waits for the harvest. And then He’s like, “the kingdom of heaven is like a tiny mustard seed, a tiny little seed but it…it sprouts up into the largest of all the garden plants.” Okay, let’s remember Jesus is describing the kingdom of God with these parables, with these metaphors. So, what then can we say about the kingdom of God? We could say that the kingdom is happening right now all the time, right, day and night. Like the farmer planted the seed and then day and night it grew, and the farmer didn’t know how. It just did because the seed and the soil collaborated. So, the kingdom is a collaboration between God and His image bearers on this planet - seed and soil, collaboration. And…and although it begins small, it grows and flourishes and gives life as we cultivate and participate, which brings us to the harvest. We could also say that Jesus is using a physical parable, a physical reality that people can understand to explain an inward process that is taking place because you can’t go to Walmart and buy seeds of the kingdom of God and then throw them out into the air and just see what sprouts up. The seeds of the word of God are spread into our lives and we collaborate by understanding the kind of soil that is in our hearts. And, so, we could also say the kingdom is here and now and we are in it because it is in us as we explored when we were going through the book of Matthew. This isn’t something we’re waiting for. This is something that’s happening. What we’re waiting for is for its fullness, for its fullness to be revealed. And so often where just like waiting…we’re just like…life is about waiting, right? Like, I’m here. I’m confused. I’m not exactly sure what’s going on. I believe in God and I believe this is all going somewhere but I’m here to wait to die and then I can understand or be involved somehow in this kingdom when we would wait our whole lives and miss it. It’s happening. It’s among us. It’s within us and the transformation isn’t for us to go to battle with the Romans or for us to defeat some kind of doctrine that we don’t agree with, its to be transformed from within by becoming good soil so that the kingdom can flourish within us and then we will know what to do with ourselves in this world. This is essentially what Jesus was trying to awaken people to, right? He’s looking for those with eyes to see and ears to hear. And, so, once again we get that opportunity. Do we have eyes to see, do we have ears to hear? If this kingdom is happening then I should be able to see it, I should be able to see the goodness of God sustaining everything in this world. I should be able to see it, but I’m so focused on the evil in this world. But if we have eyes to see and ears to hear we can’t look anywhere without seeing the presence of God in action and understanding that we are collaborating in it and that it is happening by transforming us from within.
Jesus, we invite you into that as we go through this day asking once again that your Holy Spirit would bring these things to mind and help us to contemplate on…contemplate on them as we move through this day. Give us eyes to see. We’re…we’re opening our eyes. We’re cleaning out our ears. We want to see this kingdom. We want to reveal it through our lives. So, come Holy Spirit into all of this we pray in the name of Jesus, we ask. Amen.
Okay. So, this is the day two of our…of our pilgrimage in the land of the Bible. So, our first day was yesterday. And we left Ashdod which sits right on the Mediterranean coast. It’s an ancient Philistine city. I’ve mentioned that before. We began to head south, moving into the transition zone into the desert and we visited a very ancient site called Beersheba. And it’s a southernmost boundary of ancient Israel right? It was from Dan to Beersheba. That’s pretty popular…popularly known. So, Beersheba is the southernmost point. So, we’ve reached that. And then we just kept going into the desert into the deep, deep wilderness and we had the opportunity to overlook the wilderness of Zin and just…there’s just a really, really great place to kind of get a look at the barrenness of the desert. It’s quite striking actually. It’s otherworldly. It’s very, very beautiful. So, we had some time throughout the day to get these vast vistas of empty barren wilderness and to just think about what that would be like because it’s hard for us to even wrap our minds around traveling as a caravan with a million people in the wilderness and it becomes very apparent we would not be…like our modern…we would not be prepared for that at all - no cars, no cell phones, no social…like there’s no way to post a selfie. Like, all things we’re just used to doing, like running to the convenience store to get some convenient food, none of that would be possible. And, so, you begin to see the…certainly the isolation of the wilderness, but the simple fact that God was deeply embedding into His people that there was no hope outside of Him. And, so, we had some time to just kind of think about our own wilderness experiences because I….so far in all of my years of life that I’ve been paying attention I haven’t met anybody who’s never had a wilderness experience of some sort and that a lot of us are going through them now, whether on this pilgrimage live here in the land of Israel or whether you’re virtually in this community. There’s all kinds of things going on all the time that we face. And usually all of our energy is spent trying to get out of the wilderness while ignoring what the wilderness might be saying to us, what we might need for our lives when we…when we exit it. And, so, that’s kind of…that’s kinda some of the things we’ve been thinking about as we’re traveling.
And we got to have lunch with the Bedouins, which is always a highlight just because it’s such a different experience. Like I can’t say it’s this unbelievably five-star dining experience with multiple courses and everything. It’s just engaging with a culture, a people that we would never really encounter outside of this part of the world in any way. And, yeah, there’s plenty of Bedouin people still kind of wandering in the wilderness, as it were.
And, yeah, so just continuing south, south, south, wilderness, wilderness, wilderness until we get to this little oasis where there is a kibbutz which is sort of like communal living…like where everybody is working and living for the community and sharing everything in common. And, so, these are dairy farmers. And, so, there’s this little shop and some of my favorite ice cream I’ve ever had in the world, I don’t know why, maybe just because it’s in Israel, but I’m not like a super big ice cream eater but every year I look forward to it…every year I even talk about it. And, so, it’s…it’s…so we get we get to stop and have it. We get to stop and have it again today. And, so, we did that and, you know, it’s a chance to stretch the legs a little bit, go to the bathroom and all that.
And then we…we made it down to Eliot to the shores of the Red Sea. And, yeah, that…that’s also just a really, really interesting point in this journey because we’re kind of…it just…it's…it’s a good place for this to sort of hit you that where…where we are because from that point you can look into Egypt, you can look across into Saudi Arabia, you can look across into the country of Jordan even as you’re standing in the…the nation of Israel and realize, yeah, I’m in the Middle East and this is the Red Sea and…and man this was…this was divided and the children at some point somewhere along this shoreline that stretches way, way, way further south into the Sinai Peninsula, somewhere along here they crossed…they crossed over. And, so, it’s like I’m in the Middle East and I’m in the Bible, like I’m standing in the book of Exodus right now, So, it's…yeah…and plus the jet lag and all the adrenaline and everything that just goes into day one. So, that’s what we did.
And then had some dinner and try to relax and get some rest and gear up for this day.
And yeah, so we’re the book of Leviticus and reading about all of these sacrifices at this…at this tabernacle that has been erected and it’s that these dimensions and it’s got these kinds of cloths and it’s like all of the specific details and instructions that we’ve been reading, today we’ll actually kinda get the chance to see that in person because there is…yeah….there’s a life-size replica out in the wilderness of the tabernacle. So…so yeah, there’s lots of instructions and lots of sacrifice and regulations and how to do this and how to do that. And as we mentioned, this this is the law. So, it’s not always the most rivetted…riveting reading but this is what will establish this culture in the wilderness that are the Hebrew people, that are Israel, ancient Israel. And, so, this is…this is what will shape them. And, so, we’ll kind of get a chance to step into that a little bit.
And then we’ll keep heading North but none of that’s happened yet so I can’t exactly tell you about it. I’ll have to tell you tomorrow.
Thank you for your continued prayers overall of us, over the buses, over the drivers, over the guides, over health, over whether, over logistics, over technology, over everything that is involved in keeping this going every day, even as we travel here internationally.
And also reminding you that our next year’s pilgrimage is planned and registration is open at dailyaudiobible.com in the Initiatives section. Just for Israel 2021, and you can get all of the pertinent details that you would need and hopefully we’ll see you next year.
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And that’s it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.