Lion’s Gate

The story would have played out differently if it had been anywhere else. Known as the land between, click
Israel is a land bridge and crossroads. In the 1st century, sovaldi
whoever controlled the nation of Israel controlled the world. Genesis 15:18 tells us the Lord made a covenant with Abram, surgeon
saying, “I give this land to your offspring, from the brook of Egypt to the Euphrates River.” God brought Abraham to the crossroads to spread the universal message of love and redemption. The country is divided into four major areas that were roadways – coastal, hill country, Rift Valley and Transjordan. When Jesus gave His disciples the Great Commission, it wouldn’t have spread in the way that it did if it had been anywhere else in the world. We are the recipients of this message and for that reason alone, I should have greatly appreciated the land of Israel. However, it wasn’t until I was able to see the land with my own eyes and realize the colossal impact that occurs because of the events that happened within such a small span of terrain. The country was incredibly different than I had imagined and it is now much easier for me to see why the Lord chose it! The plush green grass on rolling hills, sparkling sea, winding rivers, towering mountains and gleaming desert are just a few of the wonderful scenes I was able to take in along our journey around the small country.

Standing at the top of Mt. Carmel, eyes spanning over mountains and valleys, the setting of countless Bible stories, my husband brought up the truth that God uses the small to do great things. We see that played out in the story of David and Goliath, a baby born in a cave and fisherman disciples, but to see the vast impact of stories that occurred in such a small space was awe-inspiring. Using unlikely people and situations is a great way for Him to get all the glory. Remember Romans 8:28, “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, those who are called according to His purpose.

View from Mt. Carmel

to•pog•ra•phy: noun the art or practice of graphic delineation… to show their relative positions and elevations (Merriam-Webster)

Before the beginning of the world, God designed a plan for you. You live where you live and He has positioned you in your current season of life and within your current relationships for a reason. Mine is a story of a girl gone astray, redeemed by the One who was and is and is to come. Elevate God in your life and He will use the positions of your past, present and future to make an impact on generations to come.
One of the most popular entrances to the Old City of Jerusalem is through the Lion’s Gate. It is the closest entrance to the Muslim quarter, site
Church of St. Anne (Mary’s mother), pilule pools of Bethsida and the start of the modern day Via Dolorosa. Carved lions decorate the outer walls at the entrance. Legend says that Sulieman the Magnificent, pharmacist
a Turkish Sultan, had a dream that there were lions surrounding the city and heard a Voice saying, “Why have you left My city unprotected?” Sulieman ordered that the walls be constructed around 1536. The walls were completed in 1541 and encircle the Old City today.

Lion's Gate, picture from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:LionsGate_Jerusalem.JPG

The story about Sulieman’s dream was casually mentioned by our guide as we entered through the gate. I was floored at the idea that this guy had a dream, believed he heard from God and acted upon it to the degree that we know about it almost half a millennium later. A phrase commonly used in our church is What is God saying to you and what are you going to do about it? Oftentimes we get the part about what God is saying, but forget to do something about it. This story about Sulieman’s dream made me question, when I think God is speaking, at what lengths do I go to obey? I’m sure that building a city wall took extensive amounts of planning, time and resources. However, the wall left more than a barrier of protection, it left a legacy for future generations and a reminder to follow the leading of the Lord.
On a simpler level, in our home the words “Listen and obey,” are often used as a reminder for our young children. How seriously do we, as God’s children, take His commands? Even if God isn’t speaking to you through dreams or with an audible voice, what about obeying what is written in the Bible? Jesus greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God (Luke 10:27). 1 John 2:5 says “those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him.” So obeying His word is how we show we love God. I will be the first to confess that there is a lot of scripture that I know that I don’t necessarily obey. What if we just started with focusing on one thing that the Lord asks us to do? Like caring for widows and orphans (James 1:27), keeping the Sabbath Holy (Deut 5:13), respecting our husbands (Eph 5:33), loving our neighbors (Matt 22:39)… I want to challenge you (and myself!) to go out of your way this week, spend money, use resources, take time, etc., to put into practice just one thing that you know is the Lord’s will.
Regardless of the validity of the legend of Sulieman’s dream, to me, the lions carved in the gate are a symbol of the wall being erected for the glory of God, for the protection of His Holy City. Let the stamp of the Holy Spirit mark all that you do. When we obey His commands, let’s do it for God’s glory, to make Him known, not just for the sake of a good deed.