“For יהוה your God is bringing you into a good land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills. When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise יהוה your God for the good land He has given you.” (Deuteronomy 8:7-10).
I am so thankful to Yahweh for the opportunity to visit that good land.
Here’s some of the beautiful things:
Sabbath in Jerusalem
Jerusalem honors the Sabbath unlike any other big city in the world, and that’s an amazing thing to be a part of.
Visiting a Messianic Synagogue
The congregation was overflowing with believers form all over the world. There was such diversity, and yet so much unity. The teacher talked in Hebrew. Someone in the congregation translated into English (for which I am very thankful!). A lady sitting in front of me took notes in Chinese, and a lady behind me quietly translated the teaching into Norwegian for her friends. His message was themed on Joshua 1:7–“be strong and courageous”–and how we should not fear death. It was especially powerful considering that it was preached at the start of this recent wave of hostilities in the Land. There was such peace in all of our hearts as we sang familiar hymns and Hebrew songs together, including some of my favorites: Ram Venisa, Come Thou Fount, and Blessed Assurance
The sandy hills of the Judean Dessert
Not only was the desert picturesque, it was also fascinating to see Bedouin dwellings, camels, and shepherds leading their flocks of sheep, as we drove along the highway. It reminded me of Yeshua calling Himself the Great Shepherd, and explaining that we are the sheep of His pasture. Suddenly 2,000 years seemed so much closer.
Washing clothes by hand
Okay, so this might sound like an odd “beautiful thing,” but I felt like a real Israeli as I washed my clothes by hand in the apartment where we were staying. The kitchen window was open and I could hear Jerusalem outside and breathe its dry air. (Any time that I get to feel like a native, it’s a beautiful thing.)
The worker who loved his work
He was an older man, with a gentle smile, kind eyes, and a peaceful countenance that defied the noise and hustle of the open-air market. I could tell that he delighted in his job as he slowly selected the carrots, oranges, apples, or pomegranates–whatever we requested–to press into juice. He told us how it was good for our health, and seemed to get as much pleasure in serving us and as we did in sipping that delicious fresh-pressed juice.
I love how many beautiful flowers there are in Israel, especially considering that it’s in a desert climate.
This was my first trip to Israel since learning how to read Hebrew. It was exciting to read the signs and labels and be immersed in a culture where Hebrew is the native language. Note to self: I should have learned to read a long time ago! (It’s actually quite easy.)
Fellowshipping in the park with friends
When family in Messiah from all over the world gathers in His city at His festival to worship Him, it’s the most beautiful thing of all! Here’s one of the songs we sang together (led my James Block).
P.S. If you’ve never heard James Block’s music, I’d highly recommend you do. He mostly sings the Psalms and returns God’s Hebrew names to the text.