Pictures to Illuminate
In October 2015, Pastor Niki was able to go on a 2 week journey of Israel and Jordan. Our group visited some of the most awesome sites in Scripture. For those chapters that have places Pastor Niki's group visited, visit this page to see a slideshow of corresponding pictures from that trip. Some people love visuals, so if you're one of them, this is for you!
In Chapter 4, the Hebrews begin their journey to the Promised Land. After escaping Pharaoh and crossing the Red Sea, they trek through the wilderness toward the land of Canaan, promised to Abraham and his descendants hundreds of years before. Here are some images of the Desert of Sin (as mentioned as one of the places the Hebrews journeyed through on their way to the Promised Land.)
In Chapter 5, we learn about the new commands and new covenant that God makes with Moses and the Hebrew people. Some of these new instructions had to do with the building of the tabernacle, essentially a worship space that was able to be put up and taken down whenever the group traveled. In the Timna National Park in Israel, you will find an exact replica of the tabernacle that is available to tour. Here are some images of that tabernacle.
In chapter 6, the Israelites wander the wilderness, as they are denied entry into the Promised Land. The chapter ends with the final words of encouragement and guidance from Moses, their beloved and sometimes derided leader. His time has ended...a new generation led by Joshua will enter the Promised Land. These pictures are of the wilderness and Mt. Nebo, where Moses gave that final sermon and died.
In Chapter 7, we begin to learn of the places that Joshua and the Israelites must overtake in the Promised Land. Jericho is one of the most well-known places. Here are some of the ruins of the city of Jericho.
The people of Israel, as we learn in chapter 8, are stuck in a consistent cycle of sin, oppression, repentance, and deliverance. They are led by a series of Judges in this period of their history, before the Lord relents and bestows upon their people a king (Saul.) Major places mentioned in this book are Mt. Carmel (pictured), Megiddo (pictured), Tob, Kamon, Hazor, Philistine (pictured.)
In Chapter 11 of "The Story," we learn more about the prophet Samuel, and the calling of Saul as the first king of Israel. Unfortunately, Saul failed as king, and so Samuel was sent to anoint another...a young shepherd named David. David and Saul had a complicated relationship, one that began as friendship and then grew into jealousy and rage on Saul's behalf. The slideshow below has pictures from Ein Gedi, a small area of caverns and water. David hid in some of these caverns from King Saul at one point when he was on the run.
At the end of chapter 11, David takes his place as King of Israel and shares with the Lord his desire to build a temple. The Lord promises good things for David's house, but that his son, Solomon, will be the one to build God's house of worship. Even so, David's taking of Jerusalem (a Jebusite city) was smart politically, geographically, and militarily. Though the Lord told him not to build a temple, the city of Jerusalem grew under David's reign and beyond. Here are some pictures of Ancient Jerusalem, located at the Jerusalem Walls National Park.
We have heard many stories about King David from Scripture, but probably the most well-known is David's egregious sins by taking the wife of another man. David's night with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, had consequences that impacted David and the kingdom of Israel for the rest of his days. David had Uriah killed on the battlefield. His own sons turned on each other and on him, and eventually the nation of Israel split into two, Israel (Northern Kingdom) and Judah (Southern Kingdom.) Most personally, the son that came from David's night with Bathsheba died. But due to David's wholehearted repentance, he and Bathsheba were blessed with another son, Solomon. This slideshow has pictures from the Amman Citadel in Jordan, the site thought to be where Uriah the Hittite fell in battle by order of King David to Joab.
In Chapter 22, "The Birth of the King," we are introduced to the Son of God, the Word...Jesus Christ. Jesus was sent to be the Word made flesh, God dwelling among God's people. Jesus came to break down barriers, to show God's people that there was more than what they had come to believe about their God. He came to show love, and taught us how to love God and one another...that it was the most important commandment. Here are some images from Bethlehem and Nazareth, where Jesus was born and where Jesus grew into a man.
In Chapter 23 of "The Story," we read of the start of the ministry of Jesus. He didn't begin ministry until around the age of 30, and it all started with his baptism by John the Baptist, his cousin who was preaching about repentance and the kingdom of heaven in the desert, baptizing people in the Jordan River. After Jesus went to him to be baptized, the Spirit led him into the wilderness to be tempted. From there, he began to call his disciples and preach the good news of the kingdom of God.
Jesus taught all over the place. He taught in homes, fields, synagogues, hills, and even standing in a boat on a lake. In Chapter 24, "No Ordinary Man," we get more stories about the incredible teachings of Jesus, about the kingdom of God and what it is like, as well as the lengths that God would to in order to find one person and bring them back to the fold. We read of the death of his cousin, John the Baptist, by Herod Antipas. And we learn more about those who follow Jesus in this time and place.