Recently, we have been traveling to some places where David himself spent time. One of these places is En Gedi. 1 Samuel 23 and 24 talks about David hiding from Saul in the strongholds of En Gedi. It is in the middle of the desert: an oasis of streams and waterfalls. We hiked all the way up to the top of the cliffs, and then on the way back down stopped and enjoyed a swim in each of the 4 pools with their waterfalls. How refreshing must this place have been for David, the writer of Psalm 63! ("O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.") Below are some pictures from En Gedi:
Today, we went to the Elah Valley where David defeated Goliath (1 Samuel 17). We climbed to the top of Tel Socoh and read the account of the story. One thing that stuck out to all of us was the sheer courage David showed in proclaiming to Goliath the authority of his God. "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied...the battle is the LORD's, and he will give all of you into our hands."
What would it look like to have such faith? To have absolute certainty that God would show up? It was like this for many people in the Bible: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednago who knew that God would rescue them from the furnace; Elijah, who knew that God would show up against the prophets of Baal; Peter, when he stepped out on the water and started walking toward Jesus. It's true that Peter eventually started to sink, but at least he started walking. Barrett pointed out to us today that so many times God's people just act in reckless faith. They don't sit around thinking for days and days before they make a decision, trying to discern the will of God. This isn't to say that there isn't a place for that...nor is this to say that all decisions should be made in haste. But it just made me wonder: what would it look like to truly have such a solid, unwavering faith in God Almighty? Jesus himself said that the faith of a mustard seed can move a mountain. Oh that I might have that kind of faith.
On a less theological note...we ended the day spelunking in the caves at Azekah. These were the kinds of caves where David and his men would have hid from Saul. We brought our headlamps and crawled through narrow tunnels and larger caverns, making sure to mark the way back with purple chalk, of course. Perhaps David could navigate these caves with competence, but we felt a little less sure of ourselves. Below are some pictures:
(The Elah Valley from up high)
(in the Elah Valley)
(spelunking in the Azekah caves)
Tomorrow we are heading up to the Galilee for 4 days! So I'll be out of commission for a bit, but will surely have stories when we return.
Blessings upon you all,