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The following images will probably not be your typical idea of the Holy Land, but Eilat is in Israel, and it does offer special treasures to the traveler.

In Eilat, one can relax and enjoy the warm sun, the clear sky and the blue water. Eilat is a very short drive or boat ride to either Jordan or Egypt, and it is but a few hours drive to the Dead Sea, the Negev or even back to Jerusalem.

Eilat is a resort town at the most southern tip of Israel complete with snorkeling and other water sports, but for the student of the Bible, Eilat is the jumping off point for a journey to the rock city of Petra in Jordan. The importance of Petra to Bible prophecy will be outlined in an upcoming post.

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Usuites, Eilat
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Usuites, Eilat
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Sunrise over Gulf of Aqaba
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Sunrise over Gulf of Aqaba
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Sunrise over Gulf of Aqaba
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Sunrise over Gulf of Aqaba
Border Crossing to Jordan from Eilat Israel

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On the road from Jerusalem eastward to Jericho is a great expanse of Judean desert or what is often called the Judean wilderness. It is to such a place as this that Jesus may have gone when he fasted for 40 days before being tempted by Satan. See Luke 4:1-13 for a reminder of the story.

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It may also be the place of which David spoke in the Psalms 63:1, O God, You are my God; with deepest longing I will seek You;  my soul [my life, my very self] thirsts for You, my flesh longs and sighs for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

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It is a place which, at first glance, appears to be devoid of life, with no obvious plant or animal life and no observable source of water. But when one peers over the edge of the cliff and looks below, one sees green in the valley. Small trees, bushes and grasses grow  in the valley, fed by the water that gathers.

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Like our circumstances which can loom like a great desert or wilderness before us – overwhelming us with their apparent impregnability – there are valleys which can only be seen as we near the edge of the cliff and peer over into the crevices below. Life exists in the valleys – verdant, prospering life.

So when faced with a wilderness or desert of impregnable, unnavigable circumstances, go to the edge, look down and see the truth that life is continuing, even prospering in the valley of those circumstances. Know the truth that God would never leave you nor forsake you. God is in the valley.

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We humans always seem to be grappling with our mortality, with the apparent finality of death.

We can glean something of how death is perceived by a people, by a faith group, from the markers that have been left for those who have died.

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In the flurry of activity surrounding Christmas, one can lose sight of the wonder and awe of the one true and living God, the one who calls Himself “I AM”, “EMANUEL”. It is also possible to overlook the exactness, the precise plan, the deliberately placed scarlet thread woven through the fabric of God’s revelation, connecting the books, written by various authors, from various walks of life, over many generations.

This Christmas, look for the scarlet thread, consider the Weaver, the love evidenced in the fabric woven before the foundations of time, God’s plan for salvation . . .

God prepared the perfect place for man to live in perfect fellowship with Him . . . the garden, in the east of Eden . . .

God allowed them to choose; they chose death, spiritual and physical.

BUT GOD had a plan to bring life . . .

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel . . .

The plan is slowly revealed . .

God provided a sacrifice for Adam and Eve, a covering for each of them before they left the garden.

God saved Noah . . .

God called Abraham out of a pagan land filled with idolatry to walk by faith in an unseen God.

God asked Abraham for faith, seen in the willing sacrifice of a son by a father in obedience to the God he loved. God provided Himself a sacrifice, so Isaac was spared.

From Isaac, came Jacob and the 12 tribes. The Messiah was to be the Lion of the tribe of Judah.

The 12 tribes were held captive in Egypt and suffered under the bondage of Pharaoh.

God sent a deliverer, Moses, a picture of the ultimate deliverer, Jesus, who God would one day send to deliver the world, from sin.

God gave His people the law through Moses, laying out how sinful man might approach a holy God.

The Law was a school master showing the people their inability to measure up, their ultimate need for a Savior, a Redeemer.

In the wilderness, God gave signs of the Coming One, bringing living water from the Rock . . .

Raining down the bread of life from heaven . . .

A pillar of fire by night and a cloud of protection by day.

God drew the plans for a temporary dwelling place for Him in the wilderness, the Tabernacle. It was a picture of Jesus, the Way to fellowship with the Father.

At the entrance of the Tabernacle was the altar, where the blood would be spilled, the sin offering, the atoning sacrifice for sin.

Next was the Laver, a place for cleansing, for reflection like the water of His Word, which washes us clean and shows us who we are.

Then, the Holy Place, to be entered only by the Priests where there were many pictures of Jesus, the lampstand (the light of the world), the show bread (the bread of life), and the altar of incense (the intercessor).

Finally, the Holy of Holies where only the High Priest could enter and then only once a year. It was a clear picture of our separation from God, our need for a mediator. Jesus Christ, our High Priest, would tear the veil and forever remove the barrier separating us from God, allowing us to run boldly to the throne of grace.

God’s plan was to all-inclusive . . . Consider Rehab, a pagan temple prostitute in the messianic line.

Consider Ruth, the Moabitess, also in the line of the Messiah. We see the love of Boaz, the Kinsman Redeemer, for the foreigner, Ruth. Boaz is a foreshadowing of our Kinsman Redeemer, Jesus.

Boaz lived in Bethlehem, growing barley in fields near where one day our Kinsman Redeemer would lay in a manger.

Consider David, the King God chose, a lowly shepherd boy, watching his sheep in those same fields outside of Bethlehem.
Over time, the people fell away; they left God to seek after idols. They played the harlot, and God forsook them. They were again taken into captivity, this time in Babylon. God, in His great mercy, preserved a remnant.

Consider Esther. A Queen in a place of influence to save her people from total destruction.

Through the remnant, God restores Jerusalem and rebuilds the temple. However, the people again find themselves in captivity. This time, they are under the domination of the Roman Empire, and God has been silent for some 400 years.

But God has not forgotten His promise to Abraham. He has not abandoned His plan for salvation.

In Bethlehem, as foretold by the Prophets of Old, God sent His only begotten son to be the Savior of the world. All the Old Testament signs and foreshadows come into focus in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

It was God’s plan to save man. It was God’s mercy to provide Himself a sacrifice for the sins of man. He sent Jesus to be the mediator between a Holy God and sinful man. It was God’s intention that
the Word would become flesh and dwell among us that we might know God’s love.

No one is righteous; all fall short of God’s law.
The just punishment for violation of God’s law is death.
We’re all dead men walking.
We can’t save ourselves.
We are at the mercy of God.

Jesus, the son of God, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of Jesse, the Promised One, the Messiah . . . He provides the covering for our sins. On the cross at Calvary, He laid down His life, an atoning sacrifice for the sin of mankind. He died and was placed in tomb. On the 3rd day, as He promised, He rose again, conquering death once and for all. He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

He is the Way . . . the only Way.

May your Christmas be spent worshiping the true and living God who died that you might live . . . forever.

Merry Christmas!

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BABY JESUS, BORN TO DIE

Baby Jesus, small and soft
born that star-filled night
for ages prophets had foretold
Light to pierce the night

Your heavenly home You left behind
put eternal things aside
to enter human time and space
a temporary home.

why would You,
Almighty King
Lord of all the Lords
come down to earth to be with us
so far below Your throne

the cross it is the centerpiece
instrument of pain
see where blood was flowing down
the lamb on it was slain

O Jesus, help me see the truth
Your life was not in vain
Your coming was to meet my need
Yours a blood sacrifice

the living, it was needful
without blemish You were found
yet dying was the pinnacle
my sin stain it removed

in dying You gave your life for me
propitiatory substitute
in rising You opened eternity
rendered the accuser mute

a baby born to humble means
lain in a manger bare
is only part the story told
look further if you dare

the only true and living God
the one they call “I AM”
He kept His promise in the child
He sent His Son, the Lamb

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In Isaiah 2:1 to 4:6, Isaiah gives his second message. He speaks of the temple of the Lord (Isaiah 2:1-5), the Day of the Lord (Isaiah 2:6-3:26), and the Branch of the Lord (Isaiah 4:2-6)

Read Isaiah Chapter 2
1. What is the word concerning according to Isaiah 2:1?

2. What time frame is given for the events described in Isaiah 2:2-4?

3. What is being foretold in verses 2 to 4?

4. Where (in what city) will the house of the Lord be established? What further information are you given about it in the opening verses?

According to Warren Wiersbe, Isaiah the prophet ‘looked ahead to the time when God’s righteous kingdom would be established and the temple would become the center for the worldwide worship of the Lord. In Isaiah’s day, the Jews were adopting the false gods of the Gentiles; but the day would come when the Gentiles would abandon their idols and worship the true God of Israel. The nations would also lay down their weapons and stop warring. These promises must not be “spiritualized” and applied to the church, for they describe a literal kingdom of righteousness and peace. The Jewish temple will be rebuilt, and the Word of God will go forth from Jerusalem to govern the nations of the world.’
–Be Comforted: Isaiah, Warren W. Weirsbe

5. What are the 3 results listed from the arrival of the Judge and His judging between nations in Isaiah 2:4?

6. Read Micah 4:1-4. What do you notice about these verses and the verses from Isaiah 2:2-4?

7. What reasons are given for God having forsaken His people, the house of Jacob in verse 6?

Verse 7

Verses 8-9?

8. What is described in verses 10 to 11?

9. What do the following verses teach?
□ 2 Samuel 22:28

□ 2 Chronicles 7:14

□ Psalm 101:5

□ Proverbs 16:18

□ 2 Timothy 3:1-5

close up court courthouse hammer

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

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I awake to Thee

Today I awake to Thee, Sweet Jesus
today I awake to Thee

My thoughts scurry to the work
I bid them quiet be

I take the water of the Word
and wash myself in it

And then with pen and journal
I in Your presence sit

I find my joy as I wait on You
and hear Your voice again

 

MaryBeth Mullin

Copyright 2018

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