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Why go to Israel?

Every time I go back to Israel, I get comments and questions, e.g. Is it safe? Aren’t you afraid? Why would you want to go to Israel? The questions are legitimate. Israel is situated in an area of the world in which there always seems to be a conflict occurring or at least one brewing. It has been that way since the Israelites came into the land more than 3,000 years ago. But I digress.

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Going to Israel is essential, in my opinion, to knowing God better and more experientially. It is not a substitute for daily study of the scriptures, but rather it enhances and enriches the devotional life of the student of the Word. This is true whether you are a Jew or a Christian–Evangelical or Catholic. Coming to the land where most of the events in your Bible took place changes how you see God, how you experience Him. For the Christian it is also important in coming to a better understanding of the Jews, their customs, their culture and their faith.

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In Israel, it is possible to stand where Jesus stood–on the Southern Steps of the Temple mount or perhaps in the synagogue in Magdala. One can see where Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel or over look the valley where David took on Goliath or visit the Pool of Bethesda where Jesus healed the lame man. So much of the history of God’s people can be anchored to physical geography of the land of Israel, i.e. the feasts, the worship, the battles, the births, and even the deaths.

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But the most significant thing about the land of Israel of me is the close presence of God. God hovers over Jerusalem. Despite the religious diversity, the tension, the rituals, the shrines, and all manner of religiosity, God set His name upon and made promises about Jerusalem. He cannot lie, and so the land emanates the fragrance of God. That is what draws me back–and the chance to learn even more about Him and His people, and the chance to draw ever closer to Him.

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For future tours to Israel, check out the Rooted in His Word at RootedinHisWord.org.

Review Exodus 14

1. What is the second thing Moses tells the people to do in Exodus 14:13?

2. What do you learn from 2 Chronicles 20:17 about standing still?

3. What does Moses say that God will do in Exodus 14:14?

4. What other things does God promise in Exodus 14:16-17?

5. What purpose does God identify for what He is doing in Exodus 14:18?

6. As you read the balance of the chapter, consider how God kept His promise. Consider that He also was in control of all the players and the forces of nature involved. Write out Exodus 14:30. Mediate on it. Record your thoughts and impressions.

7. Summarize the battle strategy carried out in Exodus 14.

8. What further information do you learn regarding these events at the Red Sea in Hebrews 11:29?

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The Promised Land

From the early chapters of Genesis, God has been promising a land of their own to His people, the Jews. He also promised to remove their enemies (who would be in the land) from before them and to cause the fear of them to make their enemies to flee before them.

Reading these types of passages in the Hebrew Bible, one could get the idea that conquering this land would be straightforward, but when God promised the land to them, they had a part in possessing it.

They had to battle. They had to crush idols and kill every idolatrous thing in their path–even items of great value. They had to rely on God for their support.

It is the same for us. The promised land and God’s people taking possession of the promised land is a picture of the abundant life God promises to all of His children.

In John 10:10, Jesus said, “I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].” Jesus is promising the abundant life to us, but we have a part in it.

We must take possession of the land God is giving us. We must walk in the paths He has laid for us. We must not trust in riches or the treasures of pagans. We must not trust in the chariots or horses of our fallen enemies. We must trust only in God–Maker of Heaven and Earth.

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Battle Strategies Out of the Hebrew Bible

The children of Israel were engaged in many battles, and when they were doing things right (following God and keeping their hearts pure before Him), the strategies were effective 100% of the time. God uses a variety of battle plans and strategies, almost appearing to loathe repeating Himself.

Crossing the Red Sea
A favorite story in the book of Exodus is when the children of Israel are crossing the Red Sea which is found in Exodus chapter 14.

In the prior chapters, Pharaoh hardened his heart against Israel in response to the various plagues God visited on Egypt. Even after the last plague, the death of all the firstborn of Egypt, as he watches the children of Israel leave, Pharaoh has a change of heart, regretting his decision to let them go, and wants to chase after them and bring them back.

In the opening verses of Chapter 14, the tension is building: it is the Egyptian chase scene. Pharaoh and the Egyptian army have come to hunt down the children of Israel. The Israelites are petrified with fear. They cry out to God, but then they turn on Moses, saying “Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt? Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, ‘Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians?’ For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.” Exodus 14:11-12.

Read Exodus 14
1. Where does the LORD tell them to camp at the beginning of Exodus 14? Why?

2. What does God say He will do in Exodus 14:4? Why?

3. What do you learn from Exodus 14:8?

4. What happens to the children of Israel according to Exodus 14:10?

5. What do the children of Israel say to Moses according to exodus 14:11-12?

6. Have you ever had a similar conversation with the LORD when you were facing a battle or struggle? Explain.

7. In Exodus 14:13-14, Moses lays out the battle strategy. Copy Exodus 14:13-14 here.

8. What is the first thing that Moses tells them to do in Exodus 14:13?

9. What do you learn from the following verses?
Deuteronomy 7:18

Deuteronomy 31:6

Isaiah 41:10

Luke 12:32

10. What do you learn about fear from 1 John 4:18?

11. How can fear factor into spiritual warfare?

12. What do these verses teach about why we don’t need to fear?
Psalm 46:1-3

Psalm 56:3-13

Isaiah 43:1

13. What do you learn from Psalm 78:52-53 about how God dealt with the fear that his people felt?

Knowing your enemy can give you the edge in battle. It is not nearly as important as knowing the about the battle, knowing the battle plan of your commander, understanding what weapons you will be using and who your allies in the fight are. Every piece of information can assist us in battle.

What do you learn about the battle from the following verses?
2 Chronicles 20:15

Deuteronomy 20:1

Deuteronomy 20:4

Psalm 18:39

Proverbs 21:31

Isaiah 41:10-13

2 Timothy 2:3-5

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Read Isaiah Chapter 14:12-17

  1. Who is being spoken of in Isaiah 14:12-17? How do you know?
  2. What names are given to him in Isaiah 14:12?
  3. What caused him to fall according to Isaiah 14:13-14?
  4. What is his future according to Isaiah 14:15?
  5. How will he be seen in the future according to Isaiah 14:16-17
  6. Summarize what you learn about the enemy from these verses. How does this help you in your understanding of spiritual warfare?

Read Job Chapter 2

  1. Where does this scene take place?
  2. What does Satan say he was doing?
  3. What does God say about Job in Job2:3?
  4. What does Satan respond in Job 2:4-5?
  5. What does God allow Satan to do to Job?
  6. After reading these chapters in the Book of Job, what conclusions can you make about Spiritual warfare?
  7. What conclusions can you make about the Sovereignty of God?