Wilderness Wanderings–Day 2

March 13, 2007

Day 2 of the Negev field trip (which I like to call the Negev Field Awesome) started early. At 5:45, the alarm went off, and we ran out to the edge of the canyon to watch a pretty magnificent sunrise.

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Watching the sunrise reminded me of a line from a new Matt Redman song called “Shine.” It says, “We have seen the rising sun awakening the early dawn, and we’re rising up to give you praise.” Let’s just say that is the first sunrise I’ve seen for a while, so I did not exactly remember what the sun “awakening the early dawn” looked like, but it is glorious. Each morning displays the glory and faithfulness of God. (Psalm 19)

After breakfast, we loaded up the bus and drove South. For miles on either side, all we could see was wilderness. Todd used this opportunity to take the teaching way past the academic level. He gave us quiet time on the bus and off the bus along the side of the road in the wilderness to ponder the wanderings of the Israelites. Here are a couple of my musings:

1) The Wilderness could have been avoided. God had instructed Israel to enter the land, but after the reports of the spies, their lack of faith led them to reject God’s plan. Many times we end up in a wilderness because we did not trust God and turned to our own plan instead of his.

2) The Wilderness could have been instructive. We can learn so many lessons from the time the Israelites spent in the wilderness. Time and again, God displayed his faithfulness by providing bread from heaven or water from a rock. Remembering these things should develop in us an unshakable trust in God.

Here is a picture of Ron (a non-IBEXer who is taking Land and Bible with us) against the backdrop of the Wilderness.

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Our destination for Day 2 was the city of Eilat, which sits at the very Southern tip of Israel on the Gulf of Aqaba–part of the Red Sea, but we made a couple stops along the way.

First, we stopped at the Red Canyon. No biblical events happened here, but it is a very interesting canyon that was full of colorful rocks and cool geological formations. Second, we stopped at the Egypt border. But here’s a picture of me above the canyon that we hiked through.

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After these two stops, we arrived at Eilat and enjoyed lunch on the boardwalk before heading to the beach for snorkeling in the Red Sea. Snorkeling there was actually pretty legit. Plenty of colorful schools of fishies cruised underneath us, and purple jellyfish seemed to pop up everywhere. After we exited the water, we chilled out on the Israeli beach. Here’s a pic of PC and Lester with the Red Sea behind them and the country of Jordan behind that.

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We left the beach, crossed the street on the bus, and then started up hike up Mount Zephahot. From the top of this mountain, we could see Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. Here’s a picture of my Travel/Study group looking out at the sunset and our destination–Egypt.

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Day 2 was the only day of the trip that really included “night-life.” The city of Eilat is a pretty big tourist town. Large, luxurious hotels line the coast–we stayed at a pretty sweet one ourselves–and a boardwalk with shops and restaurants stretches out for a couple miles along the beach. This was the view from my hotel room.

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I cruised the boardwalk with a couple of friends, and we ended up sitting on the the edge of a jetty watching fireworks going off across the Gulf in Jordan. Day 2 was definitely a contender for “Best Day of the Negev Trip.” It started off with a sunrise over a grand canyon and ended with watching fireworks from another country. In between that, we enjoyed snorkeling, the sunset over Egypt, and time to reflect on God’s faithfulness in the wildnerness.

But the Negev trip was only half-way done.

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2 Responses to “Wilderness Wanderings–Day 2”

  1. Yo Bro,

    The 1st picture on this blog is completely legit!

  2. you keep making me want to go. i love it and i love your toughts about it. very insightful. say “hi” to all the hotchkiss guys for me!

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