Standing Upon the Obstacles of the Past
February 3, 2020
Recently, my classmates and I went hiking through the ancient ruins of Tel Arad. Located about a 90-minutes drive south of Jerusalem, these ruins rest between the southern edge of the hills of Judea and the northern edge of Israel’s Negev desert. These ruins dated back to the early Bronze Age roughly 5,000 years ago. Sitting at the highest point of these ruins is an ancient fortress used to protect the nearby city and the valuable trade route to Egypt that it provided.
The view from this ancient fortress is incredible. We could see for miles all around us, taking in the beautiful landscape of rolling hills to the north, set in contrast to the flat expanse of the desert to the south, all crowned with a beautiful blue skies scattered with bright white clouds, rushing quickly south from the Hebron Mountains by the strong cooling winds.
While taking in this view, it was much easier for us to imagine what it must have been like when the
Israelites, freed from their enslavement in Egypt, came upon a fortress-like this on their way to the promised land after the difficulties of wandering in the desert to the south for 40 years (see Exodus 3:17). It is easier for us to give up or run away when we encounter such seemingly insurmountable obstacles, but if we trust in the Lord and his promises, like the Israelites did at Tel Arad (see Numbers 21:1-3), we too can overcome the difficulties we encounter on our journey to our true promised land in heaven.
Diocese of Gaylord