You cannot imagine the beauty of the Promised Land. I might need to qualify that statement. If you go south of Jerusalem you will run into a harsh desert. It is rocky, barren, and immense. Our guide told us that the whole land use to look like the region south of Jerusalem. The famous writer, Mark Twain, once visited Israel. In his book, Innocents Abroad, written in 1867, he wrote about the region around the Sea of Galilee with these words.
?… A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds… a silent mournful expanse…. a desolation…. we never saw a human being on the whole route…. hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country.?
If Mark Twain were to visit Israel today, 140 years later, he would be shocked. The land is blossoming at every turn. The Israelis have planted 300 million trees in the past 60 years. Water is at a premium in Israel because not much rain falls, but the Israelis have developed “drip irrigation” methods of watering their crops and vegetation. The farmers of Israel produce more than 3 million tons of fruit and vegetables each year.
God had told His people long ago not to cut down the trees of the land. Deuteronomy 20:19 says,
19 When you lay siege to a city for a long time, fighting against it to capture it, do not destroy its trees by putting an ax to them, because you can eat their fruit. Do not cut them down. Are the trees of the field people, that you should besiege them? (Deuteronomy 20:19 NIV)
Through years of battles, being invaded by enemy armies, and neglect the “land flowing with milk and honey” was turned into a desert. God reminded His people in Isaiah 35 that it would not always be this way, God would restore what had been destroyed. Isaiah writes,
1The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, 2 it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the LORD, the splendor of our God. (Isaiah 35:1-2 NIV)
As we traveled throughout the Promised Land we were able to see evidence of God’s faithfulness right before our eyes. The beauty and splendor of the fields, the rich colors of the flowers, and the millions of trees speak to the faithfulness of our God!
In His Steps,