Today we went to En Gedi, a place that was well known to David during his days as a shepherd boy, before he became king. It was also a place of refuge to him when being chased by Saul. En Gedi is a beautiful place with lush oases, waterfalls and a perfect area from which to explore the love that Christ has for his bride, the church.
Rev Taylor and Pamela stood in the water, with a small cascading waterfall as a backdrop, ready to share the word of God to the group. En Gedi is mentioned in the first chapter of Solomon “My beloved is unto me as a cluster of camphire (henna blossom) in the vineyards of En Gedi”. There are three main ways that Songs of Solomon is interpreted; allegorically, as a means of explaining God’s love for Israel and the church, literally as a book about godly marriage and sexual relationship or typically as Solomon’s own personal experience.
Women are usually very romantic and love to feel loved. We are made to respond to love and there is only one person who truly knows about love and romance and that is God. In Songs of Solomon, God shows how he wants to love us; we are the apple of his eye. He also expresses that if we call him and run after him he will draw us to himself. It is a romantic pursuit by God for intimacy with us with the result being that we respond to Him.
In chapter 2: 14 it says “O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely”. What a picture for us, to show us that these are the places where God meets us; the secret places, when we draw away from the crowd and busyness, when we are still before God.
Chapter 4:12 – 15 of Songs gives a beautiful picture of a woman. Rev. Taylor encouraged us that we all have these beautiful attributes of womanhood within us, we just have to draw them out.
The love that God has for us is a stubborn sincere love. He went to the lengths of sending his son to die on the cross for us. What a love, what a cost we stand forgiven at the cross.
He Leads Me Beside Still Waters
After a short prayer, some of the group then traversed the hills of En Gedi. The topography was such that it was not hard to imagine that this was the place (as well as the Judean desert) that inspired Psalm 23. We walked by still waters, experienced hills and viewed valleys. This was a place where the soul could be restored.
Having traversed the hill, we reached a splendorous waterfall. The group took pictures and then descended, our next stop was the dead sea..
The Dead Sea Experience
A few members of the group had never been to Israel, hence this were their first experience of the Dead Sea. It was amusing to see their expression as they put themselves in a chair position and then floated as if weightless. One day there will be life in the Dead Sea again! (Ezekiel 47:10)
We ended the day with wonderful fellowship with Pamela and her husband Sh’muel at Jerusalem House. Refreshments were waiting for us and after we partook of them we all sat around the large table to hear what was on Sh’muel’s heart.
Sh’muel reminded us that on Thursday, the day of our departure; it would be the 64th anniversary of the State of Israel. During this time the Jewish people remember the 2000 year exile without their land, Jerusalem and their temple. God has brought the Jews back from the nations (from which they were scattered) in 1948 and this is considered a miraculous event before the full and final redemption of Israel.
We read from Ezekiel 36:22 – 24 which says “Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for our sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land” These are the main verses that speak of the return of the Jewish people to the land of Israel and Jerusalem.
The sanctification of God’s name is probably the deepest meaning of the State of Israel today. It’s not only about the people returning to the land or the spiritual restoration of the land of Israel when all Israel shall be saved. The sanctification of God’s holy name is what it is all about. For 2000 years God turned his face (presence) from Israel and scattered them amongst the nations. Church history teaches that God was finished with the Jewish people and has replaced them with the church even though Paul says in Romans 11 that God most certainly has not. Now we are in the time prophetically where he is turning his face back to Israel and turning to Zion.
We left knowing the most pertinent thing – how to pray for Israel. We read from Daniel 9: 3- 19 and were encouraged to pray these scriptures, making supplication before the Lord on Israel’s behalf. Reader, I encourage you to open your bible and do likewise…