As Mary Jane and I traveled in Israel in March, I found my ability to abide in Christ being strengthened. Visiting the many sites where God demonstrated His faithfulness to His people had a profound impact on my own faith.
The first encounter provided a reminder of how God has been faithful to the promise He made to Abraham 3,941 years ago: “You shall be the father of a multitude of nations” (Genesis 17:4 ESV). Abraham’s trust in that promise is pictured in this sculpture at our Ramada Inn. Here is Abraham submitting to God’s instruction and taking Isaac to Mount Moriah to offer him as a sacrifice, trusting that God would supply in whatever way He would choose. Abraham’s faith was “counted to him as righteousness” (Genesis 22, Romans 4:23 ESV).
I recalled God’s promise as we traveled throughout Israel, visiting the sites where significant parts of the nation’s story took place. Gideon, David, Hezekiah, Isaiah—each was called upon to believe God’s promises. God continued to fulfill His promises throughout the extensive history of Israel, even through their captivity and domination by foreign governments. Then came Jesus’ incredible work on the cross and His resurrection. God’s sovereign involvement continued through the stories recorded in the book of Acts, from Peter traveling to Caesarea to share the gospel with Cornelius through the council at Jerusalem. It is evident even through the next 2,000 years as the Jews spread all over the world and endured the great tragedy of the Holocaust, in which 6,000,000 Jews were murdered.
In Amos 9:14,15 we see this prophesied:
“I will bring my people Israel back from exile. They will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit. I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them,” says the Lord your God (emphasis mine).
God’s sovereign hand brought His people back to the land in 1948. Now, 70 years later, this land has been transformed. Look at the valley of Armageddon as Mary Jane I stand near the precipice and see the land fruitful and overflowing with green and productivity.
Photo courtesy of Dennis Blevins
As I experienced this tangible evidence of God’s faithfulness to His Word, it strengthened my ability to abide in Christ. I saw how He always keeps His promises. Sometimes—often—His people must wait for Him to work. Our faith will be tested as God’s plan unfolds. But we can rest in the fact that His Word is true and He controls our circumstances.
Enjoy being reminded of the hand of our God. Enjoy abiding in the God who keeps His promises.
Dennis Blevins coaches leaders and pastors across the country in more than 40 states. He helps lead the Navigator Church Ministries on the Director Team and as Pacific Northwest Regional Leader, and he also helps pastor Anthem Church in Portland. He and his wife, Mary Jane, live in Gladstone, Oregon.