“You can really see that God is still with His chosen people today”
By: Stephen Ezzy, February 2012
When I left Darwin in Australia to join the Zealous 8:2 tour in Israel the only thing I had hoped to gain from the experience was a greater understanding of the Word of God, by being able to personally identify with the places named in the Bible and to be able to more fully grasp the type of place where Jesus and so much of the Bible is based.
The best decision though at the start of the Zealous tour was that I was going to be open to the leading of the Lord. I think that it is one of the best decisions that I could have made, because the Lord takes great delight in working with people who open themselves up to His will and make themselves available - as I am finding out to my great joy.
During the tour I got my wish to see a large number of Biblical cities and places throughout northern and central Israel, such as Caesarea, Nazareth, Capernaum, the Sea of Galilee and of course Jerusalem. This was a real blessing, and I am sure that whenever I read the passages relating to these places they will have extra meaning.
I am also thankful that we had Tom Brimmer as tour guide - he has a great knowledge and enthusiasm for Israel and for showing other people these special places, and therefore adding so much more to their experience through the sharing of that knowledge.
What I didn't realise is how much the Lord has done and is still doing for modern Israel. When you hear of the great victories that the Israelites have won during the Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War, and visit places like the Valley of Tears in the Golan Heights, you can really see that God is still with His chosen people today.
What affected me the most though - and will stay with me the longest - was not just the privilege to see all of these Biblical places, as good as that was. It was first of all being challenged in my thinking regarding the depth of my knowledge of the Word of God, and to study it more deeply.
I was given opportunity to visit a couple of Jewish Synagogues and to observe how they study the Torah, and was then able to discuss our viewpoints on the Bible. It made me realise the importance of questioning what the Bible says and not just simply reading it, as I have been guilty of in the past. God does not expect us to just blindly follow - by questioning and digging a little deeper you can be really blessed by His Word.
The second thing was the attitude of the people there - how they seem to have a purpose about their lives. Not all of them are Christians or even Orthodox Jews, but most of the people that we had opportunity to
speak to had felt a call to the place of Israel. It was obvious that God is still at work in Israel today, and that he is calling the Jewish people back to the land and also people of other nations to minister to them.
So I really enjoyed my time on the Zealous tour in Israel. The tour is well organised and I made some good friendships with the others in the group, and I benefited from the devotionals and emphasis on God during the tour. As I returned home it left me with a much greater understanding of the relationship that God has with Israel and a desire to be about the Lord's work - so I hope that I will return soon and be blessed again.