Skeptic No More
When you’re irritated by all those people who recommend a trip.
By David Daniels
Inever really considered going to Is- rael, and even admit to being irritat- ed whenever someone just returning from a Holy Land tour would say, “You have to go. It will change forever
the way you read the Bible.” I dismissed
it as an overly exuberant, romanticized
view of Israel.
But in 2008, when the ministry I was
leading wanted to partner with an Israeli-based publishing ministry, I enjoyed an
incredible 20-day visit to the Holy Land,
organized in part by a knowledgeable
friend, Israel Turner. I met some amazing
people and found out those overly exuberant Holy Land romantics are right – visiting Israel has changed forever the way I
read the Bible.
Two of the people I met are John and
Judy Pex, who for nearly three decades
have welcomed Israelis and international
visitors to The Shelter Hostel In Israel’s
southernmost city of Eilat, a fun-in-the-sun tropical resort on the shores of the Red
Sea. Vibrant Christian believers, John
Eilat is a fun-in- the-sun tropical resort on the Red Sea. Inset: David Daniels heading south into the Negev.
and Judy offer a
no-obligation-to-attend daily Bible
study, along with a
public Friday night
John and Judy,
avid hikers, have
walked the 600-
mile Israel National Trail from the
to Mount Hermon
and the Lebanese
border in the north.
their amazing 42-day trek in Walk the
Land: A Journey on Foot Through Israel,
available in print and on Kindle through
Amazon. Reading it may lure you into
planning your own Israeli hiking holiday.
The kaleidoscope of ways in which my
Bible reading has changed – deeper and
richer than ever before – is too extensive
to fully recount here. As you might ex-
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pect, I now visualize the towns and
villages, hills and
valleys, lakes and
in Holy Scripture.
I can imagine Jesus standing on the
shores of Galilee.
But there have been unexpected changes also. Now when I read about ancient
Beersheba, I visualize the 21st-century
desert city of Be’er Sheva. I can still see
Lily standing in the kitchen area of her
tiny apartment. A humble senior with
meagre resources, she insisted on feeding us a hot meal late on the evening of
our first night with food she really couldn’t
afford to give away. I also remember worshiping with the vibrant congregation of
Israeli believers there.
Having travelled the length and
breadth of the land, and met many people
like John and Judy Pex, I marvel at the
rock solid truth of God’s promise: only if
the created order ceases to exist will the
“descendants of Israel ever cease to be a
nation before me” (Jeremiah 31: 36). n
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David Daniels pastors Grace Baptist
Church in Richmond Hill, Ont.