I am writing today from Tel Aviv, the economic engine of Israel. This bustling city on the Mediterranean coast hosts 1.5 million tourists like me each year. When we travel in the Holy Land we always spend our first night here. Tomorrow we’ll depart for our tour of Galilee.
This picture was taken from the top floor of our hotel. You can see the modern swimming pool adjacent to the prehistoric Mediterranean Sea. Tel Aviv is an appropriate place to begin a tour of Israel, for it captures perfectly the juxtaposition here between the ancient and the modern. This city was founded in 1909 and possesses little archaeological value. But it stands beside the most significant road passage in the ancient Middle East, the famous Via Maris (the “way of the sea”). This road extends south to Egypt and north to Syria and beyond.
As we walked alongside the Via Maris and the Mediterranean shore tonight, we imagined Roman ships landing on this beach. Peter left here to began the 30 mile journey to meet with Cornelius, the first Gentile convert (Acts 10). Armies ancient and modern fought and died on this soil. On November 4, 1995, Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated at a rally here. The prime minister was speaking in support of the Oslo peace accord with Palestine. The outdoor plaza where he died has been renamed Rabin Square.
It is interesting that we are here at a time of unprecedented pro-democracy revolution in the surrounding Arab world. The Israelis I have met since arriving have the same questions and fears we face in the States. Will the Muslim Brotherhood dominate Egypt after Mubarak? If so, what will happen to the peace process? CNN is reporting that world leaders are increasing their pressure on Moammar Gaddafi to leave Libya. According to today’s BBC, two people have been killed in clashes between protesters and security forces in Oman. What Arab nation is next?
Being in this new city and its ancient land, I am reminded that we serve a God who is eternal and yet contemporary. As the author of Lamentations (traditionally Jeremiah) said of God, “His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).
Your Father already knows all that will be in tomorrow’s headlines. If you submit your Tuesday to him, you will be able to say with David, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want” (Psalm 23:1). When the day ends you can agree that “he guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake” (v. 3). Why do you need a shepherd today?
Originally posted on March 1, 2011.