It’s hard to imagine an omnipresent God dwelling in one place. And yet, every December we celebrate the fact. God dwells in the confines of a human body. And He is also everywhere.
But the incarnation isn’t the first time God has localized His presence among His people.
God is both omnipresent and present. King Solomon summed up the seeming contradiction when he prayed:
Will God indeed dwell with mankind on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You; how much less this house which I have built. —2 Chronicles 6:18
From creation to Christmas—and from today to eternity.
Let’s take a quick geographical journey and follow movements of God’s dwelling place among us.
Where there is water in Israel, there is life. And where there isn’t water? The rule in antiquity was simple. Pray for rain and dig a cistern.
God used a simple, physical resource like rain water to teach the spiritual truth that He alone is the true source of life. This truth hasn’t changed for us.
I recently had a man in his 60s tell me, “I have to spend daily time in the Scriptures. I mean every single day. I need it.” His words simply affirmed what the Bible makes clear for all of us.
The need for water illustrates the need for truth—both essential for life.
If you’re feeling dry in your spiritual life, there’s only one way to slake your thirst.
Whenever I visit the Jerusalem Archaeological Park, I’m eager to walk to the southwest corner of the Temple Mount.
I’ve never been to this corner on Rosh Hashanah or during the Feast of Trumpets, but I’d love to go there then. Archaeologists have uncovered a large portion of the first-century street that stretched north along the original Western Wall.
One hundred meters north of the corner is the part of the Western Wall where locals and tourists pray. But beneath the ground, Jerusalem’s Central Valley has been filled in with the rubble of the Second Temple’s destruction in A.D. 70. As a result, the beautiful modern plaza stands about 30 feet above the first-century street uncovered at the southwestern corner.
There at the corner lies a reminder of something Jesus predicted 37 years before the temple’s destruction.
And of a promise He made that could be fulfilled at any moment.
Google Maps Street View serves us well with directions, helping us to see what the turns in our journey actually look like.
But the Web site also allows a virtual peek at some key biblical sites.
There’s nothing like traveling to Israel to see the land of the Bible firsthand. Experiencing the Bible with all your senses is an unforgettable way to learn it. You’ll never be the same.
But until your first (or next) trip, you might enjoy a virtual walk through a few biblical sites via Google Street View.
I have chosen 7 biblical sites that allow you to do a little exploring.
The true value of our hearts is hidden.
But sometimes we reveal its value by how we give—not by how much. That’s the currency God cares most about.
On His way out of the temple for the last time, Jesus sat down in the Court of the Women and observed those who made donations to the treasury. To be sure, this seemed an odd place to pause.
But the Lord had a lesson to teach His disciples.
It’s a lesson on how He values our hearts.
Abraham saw the acreage. David bought the lot. Solomon built the house.
Nebuchadnezzar tore it town. Zerubbabel rebuilt it. Herod the Great expanded it. Titus flattened it. Before these temples stood on Mount Moriah, it was nothing but a hill used for threshing wheat.
Hardly worth noticing.
But today, the Temple Mount remains the most precious piece of real estate in the world. And the golden shrine that graces its crest has become the icon for the Holy City of Jerusalem itself.
How did this ordinary hill become holy? Not through battles or land bartering or by popular vote.
God chose it.
I remember in the 2008 election when Barack Obama conducted his world tour as part of his presidential campaign, he visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
You may remember that he inserted a prayer in the wall. The Jews consider this a sacred act—even if the individual represents another faith.
(Photo: Paul J. Richards / AFP – Getty Images)
After Obama left the Western Wall Plaza, someone scrabbled out the prayer—written on King David Hotel stationary—and took a picture of it.
Here’s what Obama’s prayer said:
I’ve heard it said, “If you want to understand the history of Israel, then learn the history of Jerusalem.”
Many books depict the expansion and contraction of the walls of Jerusalem, but I thought a timeline might illustrate it well.
Congratulations, Mr. Stiles, you’ve just won an all-expense paid trip to Hawaii!”
“You mean . . . you don’t want it?” I hung up. It was a short conversation.
A solicitor does not call to give anything—unless he or she ultimately gets more back in return.
I have discovered the devil is the same way. Satan knows how to market to people. He’s been doing it a long time. From the beginning, in fact.