Journey to the Holy Land: Day 1 – Madaba & Mount Nebo

(Written by Kane Crawford)

After being awake for over 24 hours straight and not managing to get much rest on the plane, we arrive in Jordan to begin our adventure. Our first stop is the city of Madaba, the City of Mosaics. As we drive into the city, I take in the views and find that Jordan is both exactly what I expected to see and nothing like I expected at the same time. The landscape is torn and littered; it is what I have seen before in the Hollywood screens but also more real than I could ever hope to take in at once. The bus stops a short way from St. George’s Church where we will see the 6th century map of the Holy Land, preserved in the church floor. We walk uphill through markets and open shops, greeted by many friendly locals along the way. The locals greet us and each other and many of them know each other by name – although we are strangers in this city, we are made to feel very welcome. I feel like this gentleness is a stark contrast to the roughness of the scenery around me.

Our next stop is Mt. Nebo, the place where Moses got a glimpse of the promised land. We drive up almost to the top of the summit and make the rest of the trip on foot, and the view is spectacular. From the top, we can see miles of Jordanian wilderness and even manage to see Jericho and a very faint Jerusalem. It is quiet and still atop mount Nebo and I am transported to that moment where Moses looked over the land that God had promised His people and I try to imagine how Moses must have felt. From here, Moses could see the land that God would deliver to His people, but it was also a land Moses would never be allowed to step foot in himself. I imagine it must have been bittersweet for Moses to see God’s plans fulfilled but no longer be a part of them directly.

God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? – Numbers 23:19 NIV

 

By this stage in the Israelites travels, they had all already rebelled against God – Moses included.  And despite this, God held on to His promise. Although Moses was not allowed to enter the promised land, God wanted to show Moses that He is a faithful God who always does as He promises. He doesn’t hold grudges and He doesn’t change His mind based on emotions like humans do, but at the same time, He is a God who is righteous and just. This is a side of God that He revealed to me on Mt. Nebo. He is higher than us; His wisdom is higher than our foolishness, His faithfulness is higher than our rebellious attitudes and His promises are mightier than our shortcomings.

 

TODAY – Let’s remember that when God makes a promise, it is not the same as when we make a promise. While we may tire or change our minds because the recipient of our promise is no longer deserving, God does not. So, when God promises that our sins are washed away, although we can still feel the consequences of our sins, we are never expelled from God’s presence and we still inherit His promises and grace. As you pray, thank God for His faithfulness and for keeping His promises.

 

SONG: I Will Trust In You by Laura Daigle https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_aVFVveJNs&list=RDIW_5GhdmUb4&index=9