Still in Israel

I remember seeing the Mediterranean Sea; it took my breath away. We were in Caesarea, which is on the coast of the Mediterranean. We sat in a reconstructed amphitheater where worship and drama mingled in the ancient Roman Empire. The back of the amphitheater blocked the view of the Mediterranean, so I listened quietly to the history of the place, where we would see Pilate’s vacation home around the corner. We left the amphitheater and rounded a bend near a sarcophagus. My eyes gazed upon the Mediterranean and my breath was taken away. The emerald sea still taking pieces of the land, while ruined Roman remains crumbled.

We saw where Paul waited for his trial near the palace and an Olympic-sized swimming pool fed by the Mediterranean. What a beautiful place to be, yet Paul’s life was in danger. How cruel the human heart, but how beautiful God’s creation. God yearning for the human heart to turn toward Him—the true good and beautiful one.

We visited Tel Megiddo, which overlooks the Jezreel Valley. It is a beautiful fertile valley, green and lush. This same valley is described in the book of Revelation, it is where Armageddon comes from Har Meggido.

I am like Tel Megiddo, a city razed and a new one built in its place, several times—layers of history. My layers of wounds, grief, all the things I carry—the good and the sin—temples to false gods, connections to people, places, things. One altar is torn down and another takes its place. It seems to me, the human person is this battle ground. As we offer our sins to God to be forgiven, the city is razed. But another sin takes its place. I seek to keep my being focused on the good on God, the only good. Christ must raze my high places, my places of idols and rebuild me by the grace of the Holy Spirit, the same substance as Jesus Christ. Christ is the victor in the battle for my whole person—my soul. He comes on the white horse with the banner raised hailing his beloved. My soul delights in the Lord, my rest and my peace. Those who yield to the grace of God who pushes us toward goodness and desiring that goodness will meet the King in the open field living in the beautiful eternity that is God’s Kingdom.

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