As we continued our trek around Israel we hit some incredible locations such as Masada which was a mountain top fortress built by Herod the Great, and more notably was occupied by a group of Jewish rebels that held the fort against the Romans after the first revolt and ended in a mass suicide of 967 people.
We also toured the Qumran which was an ancient settlement of the Essenes, a Jewish sect that copied the Dead Sea Scrolls and hid them in the caves surrounding where they lived. They were what I would consider almost an ancient Puritan group. They lived communally, rejecting any sort of personal wealth, and focused on living pious lives. They not only copied the scriptures, they also wrote commentaries and expositions of the scriptures and a complete copy of the book of Isaiah was found which perfectly matches the Isaiah that we read today.
It was quite encouraging to climb the hills where David hid from Saul with 300 of his men. We saw the accuracy of God’s word as it says that David convinced his men not to kill Saul. I thought how could David carry on this conversation in a cave with 300 men and Saul not hear him? The cave is located with a fresh water spring that had a powerfully running stream down through it which would have concealed their voices.
1 Samuel 24:1-5 Now it happened, when Saul had returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, “Take note! David is in the Wilderness of En Gedi.” Then Saul took three thousand chosen men from all Israel, and went to seek David and his men on the Rocks of the Wild Goats. (There are still wild goats roaming around there). So he came to the sheepfolds by the road, where there was a cave; and Saul went in to attend to his needs. (David and his men were staying in the recesses of the cave.) Then the men of David said to him, “This is the day of which the LORD said to you, ‘Behold, I will deliver your enemy into your hand, that you may do to him as it seems good to you.’” Then David arose and stealthily cut off the corner of Saul’s robe.
How incredible to see God’s word so convincingly come to life and affirm its incredible accuracy. For the Believer this trip was just a great confirmation of what we already know, God’s Word is truth. For the non-believer they will continue to suppress the truth in unrighteousness and ultimately bow before the King.
What I’ve most powerfully seen is the responsibility of the Believer to share the “Good News” because this world is dying in its sins and trespasses. Let’s be compassionate and tell them they need Jesus.