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Israel 2019 Update #6

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

Our day started early. Another morning of chocolate lava cake. I must say, the cake wasn’t tasty this morning…so disappointing. By the way, this pattern (addiction) ends tomorrow.

We departed the hotel early today because of a reservation at the Western Wall Tunnel. We touched stones that date back 2,000 years. Biblical and archeological history are deep and rich in Jerusalem. I grew up near Mammoth Cave, Kentucky. The Western Wall Tunnel reminds me of walking through the cave as a young boy. The tunnel is cool and tight in places. Stones in the tunnel are massive. King Herod placed his signature on the stones. Many women were praying in the tunnel because of its proximity to the Holy of Holies. Inside the tunnel, we saw a short movie, showing how the massive stones were set in place.

We visited the Mount of Olives. One thing was missing. We didn’t see the camel. I imagine that animal is worn out. Graves and olive trees cover the Mount of Olives. Jesus rode down this mountain on a colt as prophesied in Zechariah 9:9. He had a discussion with the Pharisees about worship. The request was for Jesus to rebuke His disciples and make them be silent. Jesus gave a powerful answer. It was a “mic drop” moment. Jesus said, “If these [disciples] were silent, the very stones would cry out” (Luke 19:40). We walked down the “Palm Sunday Path.” Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem to die for our sins. The Mount of Olives has three sections of graves: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim. To be buried on the mountain costs between $35,000 and $60,000.

The Upper Room (Last Supper Room) is located on Mount Zion. Massive crowds of people were present at this site. The Tomb of David is near, too. We read John 13:1-5 and Acts 1:12-14. Stones form the Holy of Holies can be seen at the Upper Room. As I mentioned earlier, King Herod put his signature on stones. However, he wasn’t allowed to do so on stones used for the most holy place. Many of us touched those stones.

Walking the streets of the Holy City is inspiring. We saw thousands of Jewish people going about their day. I pray always to see people through the eyes of Jesus. We walked inside the Old City. Many school children filled the streets. We entered the Zion Gate and ate lunch in the Christian Quarter. We met several young girls serving in the Jewish military. Girls serve two years; boys serve three years.

We walked inside The Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Crowds were enormous. Your heart breaks because of the chasm between religion and a relationship. Jesus is missing in the hearts of many people. I tried to witness to an employee of the church. He knew nothing about the One who died on Calvary’s cross and was raised on the third day. In fact, he walked away from me.

We made our way to the Western Wall. In times past, people called this area, “The Wailing Wall.” It’s a holy site for Jewish people. Most of our group offered a prayer at the wall. Small pieces of paper (prayer requests) are placed by people in stone cracks. Those papers are removed two times a year and buried on the Mount of Olives.

Our worship service today was on the Southern Steps. We worshiped the Lord by singing, teaching, praying, and reading. As Psalm 122:6 calls us to do, we prayed for the peace of Jerusalem. While standing on the Southern Steps (teaching steps), we read the Psalms of Ascent (Psalms 120-134). Worshipers would read these Psalms as they walked up the steps before entering the temple. Thank the Lord for the opportunity to read His Word and walk up those steps.

Our group has been amazing. We walked many miles today. We definitely got in our 10,000 steps. Our group has grown together and helped one another. Our dinner tonight was served family style…many, many options.

We have one more day in Jerusalem before we fly back to the states. I hope you’ll check back tomorrow for our final update from Israel.

My Help Comes from the Lord,
Pastor Ronny
Psalm 121:2

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