Pyramids of Giza – Astonishing Monuments and Painful Hopes

Those Moments When Egypt Sounds Better than the Promised Land

When we picture ancient Egypt, we think of deserts, camels, the Nile River, and hieroglyphics. But there’s nothing more iconic of Egypt than the Pyramids of Giza.

Giza Pyramids

(Photo: Giza Pyramids. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

They’re the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still standing, and the pyramids predate them all. In fact, there were already standing for centuries before even Abraham journeyed to Egypt in 2000 BC. They were more than a thousand years old when the Exodus occurred.

The age and location of these pyramids are such that it’s very likely many of our biblical heroes saw them— people like, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, the prophet Jeremiah—and even Jesus, Joseph and Mary. Egypt was a place of escape and seclusion for many of them, but that wasn’t always a good thing.

For God’s people, Egypt was often an easy out— a way to keep from trusting God when life got tough.

Turns out, Egypt isn’t just in North Africa. It’s in our lives too.

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Jesus Shows Us Why Our Little Lives Matter So Much

Sepphoris Offers a Great Reminder When We Feel Insignificant

Often the mundane days of our lives tell us lies. They seem to shout how insignificant we are, because all we do seems so small. Jesus’ childhood days in Galilee, near Sepphoris, turn those lies upside down.

Jesus Shows Us Why Our Little Lives Matter So Much

(Photo: Sepphoris and Bet Netofa Valley. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

When Jesus, Joseph, and Mary left Egypt after Herod the Great’s death around 4 BC, they settled back in Nazareth, in Herod Antipas’s territory of Galilee. Antipas set about rebuilding the capital city of Sepphoris, and he hired local artisans as laborers.

The gospels refer both to Joseph and Jesus as “carpenters,” from the Greek word, tekton, a worker of wood and stone. Since this was the same time that Jesus’ family returned to Nazareth, it’s very possible that Joseph (and eventually Jesus) would have worked to build Sepphoris, since Nazareth was only about 4 miles from Sepphoris—an hour’s walk.

But even if Jesus did have a hand in helping to build this beautiful city, still—doesn’t it seem a huge waste of His gifts?

The answer to that question speaks volumes to our own lives.

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How to Strengthen Yourself in the Lord

Ziklag Reveals the Secret to David’s Spiritual Success

Sometimes a disappointing setback in our lives only serves to propel us forward in God’s sovereign plan. In the meantime, we need God’s help to keep going. David’s days at Ziklag show us how.

Ziklag - How to Strengthen Yourself in the Lord

(Photo: Ziklag, Tel Sera. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Just when things couldn’t have gotten worse for David, they did. Much worse! King Saul’s jealousy over David’s popularity eventually branded David a fugitive and kept him on the run from Saul for years.

In desperate moments, we need to strengthen ourselves in the Lord.

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3 Powerful Truths to Know When God Delays

Taking small steps from Egypt to Sinai to the Promised Land

God’s program to give the Promised Land to Abraham and his descendants took some strange turns. For instance? A famine upon the land, Joseph’s imprisonment, and bondage in Egypt. Hardly a joyful journey with God.

3 Powerful Truths to Know When God Delays

(Photo: Great pyramids of Egypt. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

But God’s deliverance of His people from slavery in Egypt, and His gracious provision along the way, served to motivate gratitude in them “so that they might keep His statutes” (Psalm 105:45).

Our painful journey with God offers a hidden blessing.

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Banias Falls—Where Your Overwhelming Despair Finds its Hope

How Jesus’ resurrection gives the solution to the despair we feel.

Sometimes despair can wash over us like a wall of water. One moment we’re dry—the next, we’re dripping with discouragement. I’m talking about an overwhelming sense that it will never get any better.

Banias Falls-Where Your Overwhelming Despair Meets its Hope

(Photo: Banias Falls. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

“What if,” to quote Jack Nicholson, “this is as good as it gets?” I don’t know about you, but despair can be one of my greatest struggles. In those moments, I travel in my mind back to Banias.

The psalmist used the waterfalls at Banias in northern Israel to express a similar question and emotion. But he also had a solution of hope we need to turn toward when we feel overwhelmed by despair.

In fact, Jesus gave us that ultimate hope in the exact same region.

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Beth Shean—When God’s Blessings Seem Too Hard to Hold

What to do when they seem to slip from your grip.

Sometimes the blessings God gives you seem hard to hold. In some cases, the difficulty urges us to abandon the blessings. Beth Shean gives us a great example.

Beth Shean excavations

(Photo: Beth Shean excavations. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

The Lord provided Beth Shean for the Tribe of Manasseh. But the excellent location proved to be a double-edged sword. Because the spot was so good, every nation wanted control of Beth Shean. And whoever held it always seemed to contend with those who would wrench it from their grasp.

Perhaps its strategic location gave Beth Shean its name, “House of Security.”

But security only works when you trust in God.

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Hezekiah’s Tunnel and Wall Give a Lesson from Archaeology

Scripture is supported by what we can dig out of the ground.

The ancient world had a bully system that worked in straightforward terms. A nation would conquer a region and demand tribute—annual payment of money and goods. If you didn’t pay tribute, they’d come and kill you. Pretty simple system.

Hezekiah's Tunnel

(Photo: Hezekiah’s Tunnel. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

King Hezekiah refused to pay tribute to the bully. So the Assyrians invaded Judah.

Archaeology has unearthed treasures that reveal Hezekiah’s faith in God. How does it strengthen your faith to see the Bible in archaeology?

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The Harod Valley – Your Overwhelming Anxiety Finds its Peace

Truths as enduring as the beautiful settings in which they occurred.

Have you noticed how history repeats itself in our lives? We think we’ve learned to deal with overwhelming anxiety, but each new day offers a new challenge we never would have expected.

The Harod Valley—Your Overwhelming Anxiety Finds its Peace

(Photo: The Harod Valley. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

In ancient Israel, the Harod Valley gave stage to two sets of desperate situations. From threats to insecurities to death and hopelessness, in every case the overwhelming anxiety found its peace only one way.

It’s the same with your overwhelming anxiety today.

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[VIDEO] Our Current Crisis and Jerusalem’s Walls and Gates

What to Do When God Lays Siege to Our Lives

Being stuck at home these days compares little to suffering under a siege in an ancient city. But the lessons it offers us are very much the same. That’s probably why I have had numerous members of my Walking the Bible Lands videos suggest I make this video available to you. The encouraging truth it offers rings as true today as it did thousands of years ago.

[VIDEO] Our Current Crisis and Jerusalem's Walls and Gates

In ancient Israel, a city wasn’t a city without a wall. Even in Jerusalem, a wall served as the primary means of protection from an enemy. The city walls of Jerusalem serve as a fitting metaphor for what God often does in our lives when we erect walls to keep Him out.

But God lays siege to our lives not to destroy us, but to restore us.

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Paul’s House Arrest in Rome and Our Home Isolation

What do these unusual days make possible?

These unusual days in which we find ourselves homebound reflect, in a way, Paul’s days under house arrest in Rome. Our home isolation amounts to a couple of months. But Paul’s incarceration lasted two years.

Paul's House Arrest in Rome and Our Home Isolation

(Photo: Insula in Rome by Lalupa/Public domain)

In Rome today stands an apartment from the 1st-2nd century, roughly the time of Paul’s first imprisonment in the city. These types of quarters, called insula, were literally everywhere in Rome. This insula offers an example of the “rented quarters” Paul would have lived in during his two years of house arrest.

The book of Acts refers to Paul’s time under house arrest as amazingly productive.

His time also offers us a example of our own unprecedented opportunity during these unusual days of home seclusion.

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