Wandering in the Wilderness and Entering the Promised Land

Leaving Eilat this morning, we headed north through the very same wilderness where Moses and the Hebrew nation wandered for forty years. But it didn’t take us that long to enter the Promised Land.

Ibex on cliff edge at Machtesh Ramon

(Photo: Ibex on cliff edge at Machtesh Ramon. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

From the “Grand Canyon of Israel” to the valley where David killed Goliath, our bus stopped a number of times over a hundred miles.

On our journey north, we saw a part of Israel very few pilgrims ever see.

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Petra—the Lost and Found City of Wonder

Fewer places on the planet offer a more suspenseful approach and rewarding visit than Petra in modern Jordan. Rose-hewn sandstone, rugged hills, and monumental facades—all accessible through a twisting narrow gorge—serve to inspire and amaze every visitor.

Petra—the Lost and Found City of Wonder

(Photo: The Treasury facade at Petra, Jordan)

The Nabatean capital served as the home for thousands of people in the first century. But a devastating earthquake in AD 363 crumbled much of the city—a disaster from which it never recovered.

For centuries, the location of Petra remained a secret. And the locals tried to keep it that way. It’s strange to think that for centuries the residents tried to keep infidels away from the beauty of Petra.

Today, however, they try to get as many of us there as possible.

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Eilat, the Red Sea, and Timna Park

Today begins the official first day of the “Pre-Tour Red Sea Experience.” We’re still squinting through the fog of jet lag.

This morning we had the option of lounging around the hotel or visiting the Underwater Observatory Marine Park in Eilat. I chose the marine park.

Eilat Underwater Observatory

(Photo: Eilat Underwater Observatory. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

On a previous trip to Eilat, I snorkeled in its beautiful coral reef. But today I got to see it and stay dry while underwater.

The large aquarium offers a home to 400 species of fish, including:

  • A massive shark pool
  • A habitat for large herbivore turtles and stingrays
  • 40 rare fish aquariums

This afternoon, our whole groups of 7 buses headed north to Timna Park to explore a replica of the Tabernacle.

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Headed to the Holy Land Today!

Today Cathy and I fly to Israel to help lead the 2014 Insight for Living Israel Tour. After going to Israel so many times through the years, I have to be honest . . . it never gets old.

Headed to the Holy Land Today

(Photo: The Mediterranean coast of Israel at Tel Aviv)

I’ll be blogging daily along our journey. Here’s how you can follow along:

  1. To get daily posts and pictures, subscribe to my blog. If you already are a subscriber, I won’t be emailing any more than the usual 3x a week. You’ll just see two days at once.
  2. Each day I’ll post new pictures via my Instagram feed—as they happen! You won’t see these pics in the email, so check them out on my blog.

A Life-Changing Journey for Many

For many who will join us on our tour, this trip will be their first to the Holy Land. What a treasure awaits them!

My request of you? Please pray for us. Specifically, for:

  • Good health and adequate rest
  • Safe travel . . . alert bus drivers . . . agreeable Israeli guides
  • Excellent weather
  • Opportunities to share Christ with those who may not know Him
  • God’s grace for Chuck Swindoll as well as for those of us who will be teaching at various sites. (I’ll be serving as the Bible teacher on Bus 6.)

Shalom . . . and thank you for praying! 

Question: What question would you like answered while I’m on this tour? To leave a comment, just click here.

How to Follow When God’s Plan is Strange

God’s leading is often strange. That’s because He doesn’t share the plan. He keeps it a secret. We want God’s plan so we can trust the plan. God hides the plan so we will trust Him.

How to Follow When God's Plan is Strange

(Photo by Tom Butler, courtesy of oomf.com)

Genesis began with God blessing all He created. But the fall of man, Abel’s murder, the rebellion at Babel, and the global flood gave cause to doubt that there would be any recovery of that blessing. Genesis 3–11 sketches more than 4,000 years of suffering that people experienced under the curse of sin.

But God’s plan chose one man through whom He would resurrect His blessing for all mankind.

Your life may seem in chaos as well. But God has a plan He is hiding.

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