Israel Day 6: Masada, Ein Gedi, Mt. of Olives, Jerusalem

Greetings from Israel!   Last night we stayed in the Dead Sea Region and this morning we began to make our way to Jerusalem.  We began our day at Masada; the imposing fortress palace built by Herod the Great. There in the southern Judean wilderness we considered one of the greatest disasters of the Zealot Revolt against Rome during the final moments at Masada. We also visited the area of Ein Gedi, the region where David hid from Saul (I Sam. 24). We finished our day with a scenic overview of Jerusalem from the Mt. of Olives. Themes for the day were the sovereignty of God,  substitutionary atonement, and worship.  Please continue to pray for our group as we are battling fatigue and some lingering sickness.  Pray that God will bring endurance and healing to finish our trip strong!

Masada Fortress

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Herod’s Throne RoomImage

Scribe at Masada

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Cable Car To Masada

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Highlights:

1. Possibly it was the stronghold of David—1 Samuel 22:4–5; 23:14; 24:22

2. Jonathan Maccabee originally built a fortress here

3. Herod the Great rebuilt this stronghold in 36 b.c. and it became one of his three fortresses

4. Here he left his family for refuge after the Parthian Invasion while he proceeded to Rome to seek help and receive an army

5. In a.d. 66, as the First Jewish Revolt began, Masada was captured by Menachem ben Yehudah, the leader of the Sicarii (named after the short dagger, sica, that they carried in their robes), the most extreme of the Zealots, who was later killed in Jerusalem by his opponents

6. After the fall of Jerusalem in a.d. 70, 967 men, women and children sought refuge here under Eliezer Ben Yair, the nephew of Menachem ben Yehudah

a. The Romans, under Flavius Silva, with the 15,600 strong Tenth Legion, came and built a solid seige wall about six feet thick and about seven miles in circumference around this mountain to keep any Jews from successfully fleeing

b. Along the wall the Romans built eight, separate army camps

c. Masada finally fell on the 15th of Nisan (the first day of Passover) in a.d. 73 after the ramp was built all the way to the top of the wall and the breech in the wall was made by the use of a battering ram

d. Fell by mass suicide—Only two old women and five children survived

Lesson: Masada-Christ is My Rock and Fortress!

2 Samuel 22:2 (ESV), Psalm 18:2 (ESV), Psalm 31:2–3 (ESV), Psalm 71:3 (ESV), Psalm 91:2 (ESV), Psalm 144:2 (ESV), Exodus 17:5–6 (ESV), Numbers 20:6–8 (ESV), 1 Corinthians 10:1–4 (ESV), Psalm 46 (ESV)

Devotion:

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

A mighty fortress is our God, a trusty shield and weapon;

He helps us free from ev’ry need that has us now o’ertaken.

The old evil foe now means deadly woe; Deep guile and great might

Are his dread arms in fight; On earth is not his equal.

With might of ours can naught be done; soon were our loss effected.

But for us fights the valiant one whom God himself elected.

You ask, “Who is this?” Jesus Christ it is, The almighty Lord

And there’s no other God; He holds the field forever.

Though devils all the world should fill, all eager to devour us,

We tremble not, we fear no ill; they shall not overpower us.

This world’s prince may still scowl fierce as he will, he can harm us none.

He’s judged; the deed is done! One little word can fell him.

The Word they still shall let remain, nor any thanks have for it;

He’s by our side upon the plain with his good gifts and Spirit.

And do what they will—hate, steal, hurt, or kill—though all may be gone,

Our victory is won; the kingdom’s ours forever!

Martin Luther’s, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” has been translated into a host of other languages other than its original German and has over 100 English translations alone! It is based off of Psalm 46. This hymn serves well as a reminder of the spiritual warfare around us.  It deals very directly with our need for God’s strength in our daily fight against the Devil and his angels. Verse one begins by reminding us that our God is our fortress. He is the place where we can go to find refuge and safety. But he is not only our refuge, but he is also our weapon to fight against the Devil. The Devil is serious about this battle. He wants all of us to die with him eternally in hell. Deep hatred and great power are his weapons. No one on earth can stand up to him alone and win.

Verse two begins by confirming our weakness. We can do nothing by ourselves against the Devil. But we are not alone; no, we have a substitute who will fight for us. This substitute is someone whom God himself chose. Who could it be?  Jesus Christ, there is no other God! He holds his place in battle forever! Because we have our hero fighting for us, verse three says that we are not afraid even if the world is full of devils who want nothing better than to devour us. Why? Because we won’t be overpowered! Even the Devil himself can bark as loud as he wants, he can roar like the mightiest of lions, but he has no bite. He can’t harm us because Jesus has defeated him. One word of God can and will destroy him. But Jesus, the Word incarnate remains! He’s with us through out our lives here on earth and he gives us his good and perfect gifts and he gives us the Holy Spirit. No matter what happens here on earth, if we are hated, if we lose our possessions, if they torture us physically and mentally, even if they kill us, they can’t take away our victory. Nothing can separate us from the love ofChrist! His Kingdom, the Kingdom of Heaven is ours forever!

I. Gospel-Driven People Do Not Resist The Rock.

Matthew 21:42–45 (ESV), 1 Peter 2:6–9 (ESV)

II. Gospel-Driven People Rest In The Rock. 

III. Gospel Driven People Rejoice In The Rock.

Ein Gedi Caves

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Waterfall at Ein Gedi

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Highlights:

1. Contains a total of four springs: Ein Gedi, Ein Nahal Arugot, Ein Nahal David and Ein Shulamit

2. Identified by some as the Hazazon—Tamar of Genesis 14:7

3. City of the Tribe of Judah—Joshua 15:62

4. One of the confrontations between David and Saul occurred here—1 Samuel 23:29–24:22

5. Camp of the Moabites, Ammonites and Meunites when they came up against Jehoshaphat—2 Chronicles 20:2

Lesson: Wings And The Demonstration Of The Gospel: David and Saul

1 Samuel 23:29–24:22 (ESV), Numbers 15:37–41 (ESV), John 1:1–2 (ESV), John 1:14 (ESV), Ruth 3:9 (ESV), Psalm 17:8 (ESV), Psalm 36:7 (ESV), Psalm 61:4 (ESV), Malachi 4:2, Luke 8:41

4 Demonstrations of The Gospel…from David’s Example.

I. Gospel-Driven People _________________________ God is Sovereign.

II. Gospel-Driven People Understand God ___________________ Suffering For Our Good And His Glory.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2–4, ESV)

“David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. And when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it, they went down there to him. And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him. And he became commander over them. And there were with him about four hundred men.” (1 Samuel 22:1–2, ESV)

“A MASKIL OF DAVID, WHEN HE WAS IN THE CAVE. A PRAYER. With my voice I cry out to the LORD; with my voice I plead for mercy to the LORD. I pour out my complaint before him; I tell my trouble before him. When my spirit faints within me, you know my way! In the path where I walk they have hidden a trap for me. Look to the right and see:  there is none who takes notice of me; no refuge remains to me; no one cares for my soul. I cry to you, O LORD; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” Attend to my cry, for I am brought very low! Deliver me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me! Bring me out of prison, that I may give thanks to your name! The righteous will surround me, for you will deal bountifully with me.” (Psalm 142, ESV)

III. Gospel-Driven People Honor God In Servanthood. 

IV. Gospel-Driven People Embrace Submission.

“You will not be in Authority if you are not under authority.”-P.J. Scott

City of Bethany

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Abraham & Isaac

Genesis 22:1-19 (ESV)

Lesson: The Gospel-Driven Worldview: The Example of Abraham

Synopsis: Genesis 22:1-14 reveals Abraham’s faith and provides a picture of substitutionary atonement that God requires and that would ultimately be fulfilled in Jesus Christ. We see one of many beautiful names of God in Genesis 22:14, Jehovah- Jireh, A compound name of God combining the personal name and a word suggesting God’s knowledge of the human situation that leads to provision. Hebrews 11 is the New Testament commentary that reveals Abraham’s worldview and his subsequent obedience.

Worldview-  A worldview is a comprehensive view of life through which we think, understand, and judge, and which determines our approach to life and meaning.

“One generation believes a truth, the next generation assumes a truth, and the third generation denies a truth.” D.A. Carson

5 Functions of a Worldview:

1. A worldview seeks to provide a coherent and organized thought system.

2. A worldview attempts to define life, thereby bringing hope and meaning to life.

3. Worldviews bring sense to life by offering explanations for the seemingly irrational events that occur in life.

4. Worldviews determine our values.

5. A worldview guides actions by assigning values and priorities to those actions.

Everyone has a worldview, a particular way of looking at life. What define’s your worldview?

I. Gospel-Driven People Have A Worldview Rooted In Faith.

Hebrews 11:6 (ESV), Hebrews 11:1 (ESV)

II. Gospel-Driven People Have A Worldview Defined By Action.

Hebrews 11:8–9 (ESV)

III. Gospel-Driven People Have A Worldview Built On The Eternal Not The Temporal.

Hebrews 11:10 (ESV), Hebrews 11:13–16 (ESV)

IV. Gospel-Driven People Have a Worldview That Has An Impact On Their Family And Their Future.  

Hebrews 11:11–12 (ESV)

V. Gospel-Driven People Have A Worldview That Believes The Word of God, Counts The Cost of Following God, And Shows The Fruit of Obedience. 

Genesis 22:1 (ESV), Hebrews 11:17–18 (ESV), James 2:18–21 (ESV)

VI. Gospel-Driven People Have A Worldview That Is Anchored In The Promises of God And Has The Faith To Believe The Impossible

Genesis 12:1–4 (ESV), Genesis 15:4–6 (ESV), Hebrews 11:19 (ESV)

Jerusalem

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The Temptation of Jesus/Good Samaritan/Psalm of Ascents/Hospitality

Temptation of Jesus

Luke 4:1–13 (ESV)

Good Samaritan

Luke 10:25–37 (ESV)

Psalm of Ascents (120-134)

Despite the disagreements on meaning, modern scholarship is rather well agreed that the heading to the group of psalms here discussed, “a song of ascents,” indicates psalms of particular use to worshipers ascending the hills to Jerusalem in order to celebrate one of the three major festivals (Passover, Weeks, or Booths; cp. Leviticus 23). These were glorious occasions. The psalms, then, appropriately may be called “Pilgrim Songs.”

Bethany (House of Figs)

(Mark 11:1–14, ESV), (Matthew 26:6–13, ESV), (John 11:1–46, ESV), (Luke 10:38–42, ESV)

Hospitality

HOSPITALITY DEFINED

Hospitality is the ability to welcome strangers and entertain guests, often in your home, with great joy and kindness so that they become friends. Hospitality is supposed to include one’s family (1 Tim. 5:8), friends (Prov. 27:10), Christians (Gal. 6:10), and strangers who may not be Christians (Lev. 19:34).

HOSPITALITY IN SCRIPTURE

Jesus spent time befriending social outcasts (Matt. 11:19), often ate with His disciples, and has welcomed us into the family of God, which includes an eternal home (John 14:2) and an eternal party (Isa. 25:6-9; Rev. 19:6-9). Elders and pastors are commanded to exercise hospitality (1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:8). Peter enjoyed the hospitality of Simon (Acts 9:43) and Cornelius (Acts 10:48). Paul enjoyed the hospitality of Lydia (Acts 16:15) and the Philippian jailer (Acts 16:34).

I. Gospel-Driven People Recognize The Place of Hospitality. 

II. Gospel-Driven People Demonstrate The Ministry of Hospitality.

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About George Ross

I am a pastor, church planter, husband, and father of four.
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