View the Facebook album of photos from the DTS Israel Study Tour.
My wife and I were privileged to attend the DTS/IBEX Study Tour in Israel from May 10-31. We traveled north to the slopes of Hermon and south to the shores of Eliat, swimming in the Med, the Dead, the Red, and the Sea of Galilee as we crisscrossed the land of the Bible. We walked on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Like David, we picked up five smooth stones from the Elah brook. We read the showdown of Elijah with the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, we wandered and complained in the wilderness too, and we took a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. We visited the place of Christ’s birth, the locations of his ministry, and the place of his death and resurrection.
Here are three specific ways this trip deepened my faith:
1. A trip to Israel brings the Bible to life
Our trip to Israel added sights, smells, tastes, colors, and feeling to the words of Scripture. Names of places and events in the Bible transfigured from imagination to real images. Perhaps this is the most impactful reminder a trip to Israel can bring for a follower of Jesus Christ. Growing up in rural West Virginia, the biblical places and events I read about seemed a world away. I knew exactly what our towns, mountains, and rivers looked like, but Jerusalem, Mount Arbel, or the Jordan River … not so much.
2. A trip to Israel affirms God's past faithfulness
For me, a visit to Israel further affirmed God’s faithfulness in the past, his trustworthiness for the future, and his complete sufficiency for the present. Concerning the past, I was visibly reminded that God had entered into history with a people in these very places. I saw the ridges Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob walked, along with the cities of judges, kings, and prophets. I walked in the footsteps of my Savior and could marvel at his words and works anew in the very places they occurred.
3. A trip to Israel reminds us of Christ’s future return
Looking to the future, I was assured of God’s ability to finish the redemptive plan he began long ago, culminating in the imminent return of Jesus on the Mount of Olives and the establishment of God’s kingdom on Earth. Therefore, in light of what God has done in the past and what he is going to do in the future, I am motivated to holy living in the perfect provision and grace of the Father, through the Son, and by the Spirit.
I would encourage everyone to visit Israel who has the opportunity. The country has never been more accessible, thanks to modern travel, and my wife and I felt safe the entire trip. A trip to Israel provides the experience to stop and marvel at the majesty of God as you travel the land of the Bible.
“For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.”
– 2 Peter 1:16 ESV