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The Mediterranean Sea at Joppa

Today we wrap up our touring of Israel. Helping us wind down from the trip, the plan included a late breakfast, an extended bus ride, and some key spots around Joppa (Jaffa, Japho).

Highlights

We began this morning in the Valley of Elah, the place where David fought Goliath (1 Samuel 17). This valley gets its name from the abundance of Elah trees, in English often called the large and shady terebinth trees. We made our way over to Joppa where we saw Simon the Tanner’s house (Acts 9:43-10:48) and considered how important Joppa’s port was for the getting the cedars of Lebanon in the building of the biblical Temples (2 Chronicles 2:3-16). In the Old Testament, it was in Joppa where Jonah boarded a ship to sail to Tarshish (Jonah 1:1-3), and, in the New Testament, Peter raised Dorcas (Tabitha) back to life (Acts 9:36-42).

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We also played around some with our bus driver and tour guide in the hills west of Jerusalem. Then, we finished our day in the Old City with some final shopping and a beautiful light show on walls of the historic David Tower depicting the history of Jerusalem. Our free time in the Old City was delightful.

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For Your Consideration

The story of David and Goliath still challenges me. With the Philistines camped on the south and Israel on the north, Goliath would come out in the Valley of Elah and challenge the Israelites. David, as a very young man obeying the directions of his father, hears the challenge and responds to his brother and others. Based on God’s faithfulness to him with the lion and a bear, he was willing to fight Goliath in the name of God. As you know, even in light of Goliath’s mocking, David took five stones and faced his enemy. God gave him the victory.

My question to myself is simple: Do I trust in the character of God to face my small challenges in comparison every day? Based on God’s faithfulness, am I faithful? Do I appropriately respond in Christ-honoring ways to the pressured- filled circumstances in my life?

And what about our good friends Jonah and Peter? Jonah was told by God to go to Nineveh to preach repentance and chose in disobedience to go the other way. He did not believe the Ninevites deserved God’s mercy. So in Joppa he headed to sea. Also in Joppa Peter received a vision from God teaching Him the Gospel message was to go to the Gentiles. He obediently took the Gospel to the Roman centurian. However, in Galatia, he sided with the Jews against the Gentiles, the exact opposite of what God was teaching him. So Paul had to confront him face to face.

Here’s my challenge to myself from Jonah and Peter: Do I ever look at a person or people group and determine the Gospel is not for him, her, or them? Am I ever stingy with the Gospel? Do I ever think someone deserves the Gospel less than I? Do I ever say “No” to what I know the Lord desires for me to do?

Fantastic last day in Israel! My final thoughts today: Do I trust God in my circumstances and am I a great steward of the Gospel?

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From this blog series:
Last post: Israel Day 7 – Golgotha & the Garden Tomb
Next post: Israel – Final Day Wrap-up

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