Leviticus 6:1-7:27, Mark 3:7-30, Psalms 37:1-11, Proverbs 10:3-4
Today is the 18th day of February welcome to the Daily Audio Bible I am Brian it is wonderful to be here with you today once again, from the holy city of Jerusalem where we will be embarking on our final day of our tour here in the land of the Bible in Israel. We had a great day in the lowlands yesterday and today we will be spending the day in and around Jerusalem and centering ourselves in the final days of Jesus as we bring this tour to a close. But we will talk about all that in a little bit. We have come here, and we are at the beginning gathered around the Global Campfire to take the next step forward together. We have transitioned between the book of Exodus and Leviticus. So, we’re in the book of Leviticus in the Old Testament and we transitioned between Matthew and Mark in the New Testament this week. And, so, we’re in new territory but we’re definitely getting ourselves moved in. And, so, today we will in the book of Leviticus, and we’ll be learning about the sacrificial system. Leviticus chapter 6 verse 1 through 7 verse 27 today.
Father, we thank You for Your word. We thank You for a community that we can come together like this, no matter where we are on this earth and be together, knit together in Spirit as Your word washes into our lives and teaches and instructs and corrects and rebukes and comforts and leads us forward. We thank You. And we thank You for bringing us through another week. And we thank You for bringing us through the journey that we have been on here in the land of the Bible. And right now our minds and our hearts are exploding. They’re so full. We are being expanded. And, so, it’s gonna take a minute for us to kind of move back into our own environments and begin to unpack all this and process all this, but we thank You and we thank You for all that You have done in the community, even as we travel virtually just observing everything. Seeing the places, hearing about the places, we thank You for what this means to us in our knowledge and understanding of the Scriptures as we move through them this year. And as we are here for our final day, we ask that You bless all that we experience. As we always ask, lead us into the truth. Lead us deeper into intimacy with Jesus. Lead us forward in the way that we should go understanding that wherever we go, we are ambassadors and representatives of Your kingdom and that we are here to reveal it and share who You are. Lead us forward on the narrow path that leads to life, we ask in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Okay. So, as I mentioned today will be our last day and that’s happening or has yet to happen. And, so, I’ll certainly tell you about our last day tomorrow. But yesterday we went into the lowlands, and it really couldn’t have come at a better time. We had…I mean…since we left the Galilee it’s been kind of hard charging. Lots of distance covered and then arriving in Jerusalem and just a whole new way of getting around and a whole new way of processing things and just a lot of people, all of that. So, that takes a lot of effort. And, so, to just go down and see this final region on our trip, the lowlands, the Shephelah, the low lands is beautiful because it’s so fertile. And it was so green and open and fertile and beautiful. And, so, we went outside of Jerusalem to Emmaus Nicopolis. And there’s a few Emmaus candidates, at least for the Emmaus in the New Testament. But this is one of them and there’s an ancient Byzantine church there and just the grounds, they’re…they’re small, but there’s a little loop that you can walk and it…it is serene and garden like and there’s some history there and actually some ancient tombs there. So, it’s not like a lot of time is spent there. But we do talk about Jesus’ meeting with His friends on the road to Emmaus and their hearts burning inside them when they reflect back upon it. We did take a few minutes to just walk just silently by ourselves, just move around, enjoy the beauty of the nature of the lowlands, enjoy the beauty of the nature of Israel drinking it all in knowing that we’ll be going back to Jerusalem and that’s our final stop. And, so, we know what that’s about and how congested, and busy that can be. And, so, just drinking in the beauty of God’s creation in the land of the Bible. Beautiful way to focus our morning and then we’re just moving south deeper into the Shephelah, deeper down. And, so, the next stop, another kind of short stop, but too important to just drive by and that is the biblical city of Beth-Shemesh, where after the Philistines had captured the Ark of the Covenant and plague broke out among the Philistines and they sent the Ark of the Covenant back, this is where it came, to Beth-Shemesh, this Levitical city. And, so, just appreciating that, that the Ark of the Covenant was here, that this is the kind of border territory with the Philistines. Very good. Very very important to just place ourselves. Not now. When we read that story, we’ll see it. We’ll see what that land looks like and…and appreciate that. And then our next stop was an active archaeological site at Beth-Goren, which is biblical Maresha so the hometown of…of the biblical prophet Micah and a major city and export of olive oil. And it has a lot of history. There’s the history going back to the prophetic times in the Old Testament but then there’s a lot of history from the time between the Testaments like the times of the Maccabees in that war. And, so, we…there’s so many caves there, over 5000, and some of them are amazing and some of them have been quarried out. This was a place of quarrying chalk and olive oil and all of presses. And, so, we were digging in a cave that was from the intertestamental period, a time between the Old and the New Testaments and finding pottery. Ezekiel and I went down, and we dug this…this cave and we found some pottery. Everybody found some pottery. There were some bones found and some cooking pot fragments found with soot from the…the fires, you know, 2000+ years ago. So, like, 2200, 2300 years ago. So, that’s cool. That’s amazing. And then we had a picnic lunch. Beautiful, beautiful day. Beautiful, like really probably the most pleasant day that we’ve had on the entire trip. We’ve had really good weather, but this was just a beautiful day to be outside having a picnic. And then before leaving we…we explored another cave. It’s called the Bell Cave, a huge quarry. Really impressive to be in this massive space that had been carved out over time by hand. Really, really impressive. And we appreciated that. And it’s really striking. Lots of pictures. And then I left there and went to the site of the ancient biblical city of Lachish. This is a place that people don’t really go much, and we don’t spend a lot of time there. But it’s also really important in the Bible. This was like the second most powerful city in Judah next to Jerusalem. And Sennacherib, the Assyrian king who was trying to push his invasion after conquering the northern kingdom trying to push his agenda into the southern kingdom had conquered Lachish and then sent all these intimidating messages to Jerusalem. And the Lord spoke that he will not get in and he didn’t. So, he conquered Lachish but then he had the go home and…and he was taken out assassinated. But the siege works, the way that they built a mound so that they can get battering rams and soldiers up to the walls and, you know, try to eventually break them down and get into the city and take the city, the remnants of what they built there to get in are still there. Like, it looks like part of the hill until you and know what you’re looking at. But that has made Lachish like a UNESCO world heritage site because it’s the only…it’s the only siege works from the Assyrian Empire that are left to be observed. And they were a brutal, ruthless, notoriously brutal people when they conquered other peoples. And, so, you know, we just…we didn’t spend a lot of time, but we did look at that and…and just located ourselves and appreciated where this is and so that when we encounter it in the Bible we understand where we’re talking about. And then moving back northward on our way back to Jerusalem we went through the Valley of Elah, sort of a border valley between the Philistines and the Israelites in ancient times. And there are number of cities all along that Valley. And we just located, sort of situated, what was going on in the David and Goliath story and then considered the David and Goliath story and our own giants and fighting those giants. And we could go down to the brook that runs through the valley. So, the one that David would’ve approached and gathered his stones as he crossed over to face the giant. And, so, we could see that and even maybe grab some stones and take some pictures before jumping back on the bus and heading back to Jerusalem. So, beautiful beautiful day in a beautiful beautiful part of the country experiencing some pretty monumental things in the Scriptures and…and just adding to our understanding of the geography of the land and the biblical geography as we read it. And, so, that was great. Today we will be centering ourselves in the story of Jesus final days and I look forward to sharing that with you.
Thank you for your prayers. Thank you so much for your prayers. We’re at the point now where we’ve been hard charging for a couple weeks and so we’re full and our minds are full and our minds are tired and are our bodies are tired because we’ve really invested into seeing everything that we can see - north, south, east and west, and write down the middle. Like, to see all these regions takes effort and we’ve been putting that effort in. And now we have to begin the process of thinking about packing and, you know, airports and flight changes and long flights and just coming home and reentering and working back through jet lag and all that. We’re just starting to think about that and just asking for you to pray for us as we return back. We are coming home full and we are coming home changed, but it does take a minute to kind of unpack and allow all of this to become a part of who we are. And, so, thank you for your continued prayers as we prepare to move toward home, toward our homes.
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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.
Community Prayer and Praise: