30 Years in Israel this Month!

30 Years in Israel this Month!

We are on a family vacation up north this week, and today I visited Muchraka for the first time. This high peak in the Carmel Mountains next to the Druze village Dalit AL Carmel is traditionally identified as the place where Elijah staged his historic contest against the idol-worshipping prophets of the Baal, as the people of Israel watched on. Here is how the Book of Kings tells the story:

Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one bull and prepare it first, for you are the majority; invoke your god by name, but apply no fire.”

They took the bull that was given them; they prepared it, and invoked Baal by name from morning until noon, shouting, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no sound, and no one who responded; so they performed a hopping dance about the altar that had been set up.

When noon came, Elijah mocked them, saying, “Shout louder! After all, he is a god. But he may be in conversation, he may be detained, or he may be on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and will wake up.”

So they shouted louder, and gashed themselves with knives and spears, according to their practice, until the blood streamed over them.

When noon passed, they kept raving until the hour of presenting the grain offering. Still there was no sound, and no one who responded or heeded.

Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come closer to me”; and all the people came closer to him. He repaired the damaged altar of GOD.

Then Elijah took twelve stones, corresponding to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob—to whom the word of GOD had come: “Israel shall be your name” —

and with the stones he built an altar in the name of GOD. Around the altar he made a trench large enough for two seahs of seed.

He laid out the wood, and he cut up the bull and laid it on the wood.

And he said, “Fill four jars with water and pour it over the burnt offering and the wood.” Then he said, “Do it a second time”; and they did it a second time. “Do it a third time,” he said; and they did it a third time.

The water ran down around the altar, and even the trench was filled with water.

When it was time to present the grain offering, the prophet Elijah came forward and said, “O ETERNAL One, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel! Let it be known today that You are God in Israel and that I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your bidding.

Answer me, O ETERNAL One, answer me, that this people may know that You, O ETERNAL One, are God; for You have turned their hearts backward.”

Then fire from GOD descended and consumed the burnt offering, the wood, the stones, and the earth; and it licked up the water that was in the trench.

When they saw this, all the people flung themselves on their faces and cried out: “the ETERNAL One alone is God, the ETERNAL One alone is God!””

WOW. Today in this breathtaking historic place, I thought for the millionth time since moving to Israel 30 years ago this month (!) what a privilege it is to live HERE. A privilege I wouldn’t give up for any amount of money in the world. Seriously 🇮🇱 ✡️

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