Tag Archives: En Gedi

Out of a Dry, Barren Land…

     In the last Listening on the Journey…blog post, I talked about my moments of personal reflection while visiting En Gedi. The lovely oasis has for centuries been the gathering place for animals such as the Ibex, a wild goat.

     It was in some of the caves nestled in the hills surrounding En Gedi that David hid from King Saul and his army. In one of those caves David chose to spare King Saul’s life. (Read the story in 1 Samuel 23 and 24.) David penned some potent psalms from the oasis of En Gedi.

     When we returned home from Israel, I re-read Psalms 57 and 142, two psalms David wrote from En Gedi. I know some people reading this blog post are experiencing their own bleak life season, and as I share some newfound insights from Psalms 142 (NLT), I’m praying they encourage you.

I cry out to the Lord;
I plead for the Lord’s mercy.

I pour out my complaints before him
and tell him all my troubles.

     David wasn’t afraid to “cry out,” complain and admit he was overwhelmed. How often I forget God’s character is merciful. When I remember God can handle my honesty, my whining and hearing about “all my troubles,” then I know I’m trusting God truly.

     David is a great example of one who truly trusted God!

When I am overwhelmed,
you alone know the way I should turn.
Wherever I go,
my enemies have set traps for me.

     Part of my journey of trust is growing in the assurance God is God and knows what I don’t know and sees what I can’t see. I’ve always believed this intellectually, but when it seems the road ahead is full of booby-traps, it’s easy to allow doubts to trump trust.

     David understood God was his ultimate solution.

I look for someone to come and help me,
but no one gives me a passing thought!
No one will help me;

no one cares a bit what happens to me.

     Sounds like David may have been having a little pity party. I understand! Even if we’re blessed with supportive people, there are times when we feel like no one understands or cares. Some of this may be self-pity, but some is true. Human beings are incapable of knowing fully the hearts of even those they love most deeply.

     Somehow, David’s vulnerable expressions of ‘woe-is-me’ self-pity seem strangely freeing.

Then I pray to you, O Lord.
I say, “You are my place of refuge.
You are all I really want in life.  (emphasis mine)

6Hear my cry,
for I am very low.
Rescue me from my persecutors,
for they are too strong for me.

     When I desire and seek intimate relationship with God above all others, enormous security and confidence are the outcome. Like many biblical principles, this seems counter intuitive. For example, if an over-doting mother makes her child the center of the universe, other vital relationships suffer. The more, however, the LORD is “all I really want in life,” the more areas of my life, including relationships with others, are enhanced.

     This is another “God thing” I don’t comprehend, but David seemed to grasp its truth.

Bring me out of prison
so I can thank you.
The godly will crowd around me,
for you are good to me.”

     Missio Dei is a Latin Christian term meaning the “sending of God.” Recently, I attended an event at which Dr. John Ortberg was the keynote speaker. Dr. Ortberg said, “You are blessed to be a blessing—blessed to will and work for the good of others.”

     David understood Missio Dei. He realized when God blessed him, those whose lives intersected with his would be influenced. Others would see and be drawn to God’s goodness.

     I hope you’ve enjoyed these insights, which came about as a result of our Israel visit to En Gedi Nature Reserve, a site filled with historical, ecological and spiritual richness.

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Listening on YOUR Journey

Sue Reeve

Note: I will be sharing additional posts about our impactful trip to Israel. For more information about your own trip to Israel, we recommend highly Dan and Sharon Stolbarger, our group leaders. If this is a trip you’d love to make, check them out at http://holygroundexplorations.com/

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Into a Dry, Barren Land…

I will give thanks to you, O Lord…

For your steadfast love is great to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds.

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
Let your glory be over all the earth!

Psalm 52:9-11(ESV)

A psalm written by David from En Gedi

     One of my favorite questions to ask people is: “Where do you feel your strongest connection to God?” The most common answer is the same I’d give: “When I’m near the water.”

     The Bible is filled with many references to water. Following our recent visit to Israel, I have a deeper appreciation for the significance of water and a greater understanding of why so many people’s spirits are nurtured when they’re near water.

     Israel is a hot, dry, barren land. As Jane, our tour guide, described the history of the land she loves, the critical role of water was a recurring theme.

     Merriman-Webster online dictionary defines “oasis” as a fertile or green area in an arid region (as a desert); something that provides refuge, relief, or pleasant contrast. The term “oasis” took on a whole new meaning for me while in Israel.

     One of the lovely oases we visited was En Gedi. The name means “Spring of the Kid.” En Gedi has for centuries been the gathering place for animals such as the Ibex, a wild goat. Ibex still hang out at En Gedi, but the contemporary oasis is also a popular destination for tourists and families on holiday.

 

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     The hills around En Gedi are dotted with caves. It was in these caves David hid from King Saul and his army. It was in one cave where David chose to spare King Saul’s life. (Read the story in 1 Samuel 23 and 24.)

     David penned some potent psalms from the oasis of En Gedi.

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     The day we visited En Gedi, I felt fatigued. I’d walked with Ron to the first waterfall, but rather than hiking to a second, I rested and reflected. During those moments of reflection, I experienced an “ah-ha” moment about why God had wanted me to spend an extended period of time with David in the psalms during a desert season through which I’d trudged several years ago.

     It was an extended period when I felt betrayed, trapped, perplexed, and frightened, a time when I wondered if God cared about me. During those trying days, I’d scolded myself, “You should study your Bible,” but the only Scriptures I could bear to read for several months were the Psalms.

 

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     During my challenging days, David’s lament mirrored my pain and validated my distress. Although I didn’t know it at the time, David’s words instructed me and encouraged me to ‘hang in there.’ Eventually, I transitioned into a new season. As a result of the time I’d spent in the psalms, my faith in the same God David knew and loved so well had grown stronger. My confidence in the God about which David wrote so eloquently was greater.

     Spending time in a spiritual dessert often toughens up the soul.

     In my next blog post, I’d like to explore some thoughts from Psalms 142, which is one of the psalms David wrote from En Gedi. I hope you’ll join me. Until then…

     Blessings to you, no matter the season through which you’re currently traveling…

Sue Reeve

Note: I will be sharing additional posts about our impactful trip to Israel. For more information about your own trip to Israel, we recommend highly Dan and Sharon Stolbarger, our group leaders. If this is a trip you’d love to make, check them out at http://holygroundexplorations.com/