Israel 2020 – Lesson 4: Dedication and Determination
Today, we're bringing you another installment of our Israel 2020 series, written by Evangelist Wayne Martorana. Look for this series every Friday and Saturday for the next few weeks!
Through the years, I have often had the desire to visit the Holy Lands in Israel and walk the paths that
Christ and His disciples did, fulfilling their ministry, establishing The Church, and administering to the people. However, I did not know that I would ever have that opportunity. The invitation came from a very unlikely source, the Gathering of Tribal Nations leadership, and culminated very quickly.
As an aside, please pray for the leadership of this organization who some Church members have befriended. We have shared with them and many others on this trip that many of the aboriginal people of the Americas are descendants of Joseph of Egypt from Old Testament times. They have been receptive to listen to our scriptural explanation but want the Lord to show them directly in order for them to be proponents of this message. Certainly, this thing is not too hard for the Lord to accomplish!
On several visits and stops during our tour of Israel, we were reminded that the dedication and
determination of God's servants of old were severely tested. We know that the Lord is unchangeable;
He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Therefore, we, as servants of the Lord, must demonstrate the same righteousness, faith, and closeness to God as our spiritual forefathers to expect the same blessed results.
As we visited Mount Carmel, the modern city of Muhraka, our focus was the Biblical encounter of the prophet Elijah with the 450 false "prophets" of Baal in 1 Kings 18.
Very pointed in this account is Elijah's question, "How long halt ye (waver) between two opinions?" Who is genuinely God — the true and living God of Israel, or the other manmade and man-devised gods? The prophet Elijah demonstrated great confidence and trust in his God. He even chided the false prophets: Cry a little louder, maybe your god is talking or on a journey, or sleeps and must be awakened. There was no answer. Again, Elijah's utmost confidence in God and His supreme power — after repairing the altar, cutting up his sacrifice, and dousing his sacrifice with 12 barrels of water, he called on the true and living God!
The result was miraculous. The entire sacrifice — the altar, the water, everything — was consumed by the fire of God! Seeing this miracle, all the people exclaimed, "The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!"
This is our fervent prayer for the nation of Israel, her people, and all nations — that they will personally come to know God and understand that Jesus Christ, His Son, was sacrificed as the great ransom for the sins of mankind (and our sins), and gives us great eternal hope through the plan of salvation.
Continuing with our lesson, the next tour visit was Caesarea-Philippi (see Matthew 16).
Jesus asked his disciples, "Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?" They responded with John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. Granted, these men of God would be very good company to be included with. Then Jesus asked them a much more direct and personal question: Who do you say that I am? Peter, often quick to speak, was filled with God's Spirit and responded, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." To which Jesus immediately replied, "Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven." Amen!
The Lord is particularly interested in His servants — our lives, our service to Him, our level of commitment and dedication, including our actions and speech. It is a constant, daily renewal and revelation for each of us to be fully convinced and convicted that Christ is indeed the Son of the living God and is able to care for us in all aspects of life. Education, worldly knowledge, the opinion of others, cannot bring us to this conclusion. It is only the true and pure revelation of God, which is needed in our lives on a daily basis. The Spirit of the Lord will sustain us, as this is a walk of faith and not of knowledge.
In conclusion, the prophet Nephi was inspired to write, "He that diligently seeks shall find; and the mysteries of God will be unfolded to them by the power of the Holy Ghost; as well as in times of old, as in times to come. Therefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round." Amen! We must be fixed in our purpose to share the Gospel of Christ to all those with whom we come in contact and to run the race to the end and receive our eternal reward.
Ruins at Caesarea Philippi
Feature Photo: Plains from Mt. Carmel
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.