From the Lofty Heights

 

I’ve just returned from a two-week trip to Israel and my wife says I’m somewhat “emotional” about it.

 

That is an understatement.

 

The trip reduced me to a blubbering, sobbing ball of tears on more than one occasion. I’m talking multiple facial tissues here, folks. Torn-down, torn-apart, actual weeping. 

 

It started early in the trip on a hill overlooking Jerusalem. Those with me were praying and singing praises to the LORD, but my thoughts were still scattered by jet lag. I prayed for clarity and focus and almost immediately noticed the song we were singing urged the Holy Spirit to break our hearts for what breaks His. 

 

And that was it.

 

I was in tears. My heart was broken.

 

I stood up from the circle and moved away, embarrassed by my audible sobs.  I looked out over the Mount of Olives, over the Kidron Valley, over Jordan, over the vast expanses of Israel, over Jerusalem –and all the while a single word echoed in my head. 

 

Over and over, I heard Him say,”Come.”

 

“Come,” the Lord Jesus said, and the longing I felt for His people left me without words. 

 

And with it came the implication that He was coming back soon.

 

The second time was from my hotel roof.

 

I woke up at sunrise as usual, got ready for the day to come, and walked up to the roof. It was flat with a four-foot concrete wall all along the edge. I went to the corner that had the best view of the Sea of Galilee, removed my hat, bowed my head, and asked that my sins would be forgiven. As always, He did so before I finished the sentence. I raised my arms to praise Him with the sun rising over the waters He had walked upon and was immediately filled with joy and gratitude and this indescribable, holy longing for His people.

 

And, once again, I could not stop crying. 

 

Later that day, I stood on a knee-high stone wall on the Mount of the Beatitudes on the heights above that same lake with my arms raised in praise and I was brought to my knees with those same emotions. 

 

I left a puddle of tears on that stone.

 

There are many mountains and valleys in Israel, but until you’ve been there and seen the sweeping, glorious panoramas that fill this land that is the apple of His eye, until you’ve sung “HALLELUJAH” over the beauty of this land and heard your praises resound through those valleys and echo up unto His throne, there are no words for what His infinite love does to your heart. 

 

Well, there are no words of mine.

 

Today’s Praise

Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD from the heavens;
praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his hosts!

Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!

Let them praise the name of the LORD!
For he commanded and they were created.
And he established them forever and ever;
he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.

Praise the LORD from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all deeps,
fire and hail, snow and mist,
stormy wind fulfilling his word!

Mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars!
Beasts and all livestock,
creeping things and flying birds!

Kings of the earth and all peoples,
princes and all rulers of the earth!
Young men and maidens together,
old men and children!

Let them praise the name of the LORD,
for his name alone is exalted;
his majesty is above earth and heaven.
He has raised up a horn for his people,
praise for all his saints,
for the people of Israel who are near to him.
Praise the LORD!

Psalm 148 (ESV)

 

 

(Photo taken by author from the Mount of Beatitudes overlooking the Sea of Galilee.)

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