Day#11-Every Valley Will Be Exalted!
This morning our group left Jerusalem after four days of amazing sights and teaching.
We got a new driver, new bus, and a new tour guide for the remainder of the trip.
Meet our new tour guide, Hilik
We began our day stopping by Beth Shemesh. This city is at the eastern end of the Sorek Valley. We saw the remains of the ancient city.
This is one of the 48 cities assigned to the Levites (Joshua 21:16).
When the Philistines returned the ark of the covenant to the Israelites, it went by cart to Beth Shemesh. (I Samuel 6:7-21) You may remember that some Israelites were killed when they looked inside the ark, so the people of Beth Shemesh refused to allow the ark to remain there.
During the divided kingdom, King Amaziah of Judah was defeated and captured by King Jehoash of Israel at Beth Shemesh. Also, in II Chronicles 28:16-18 the Philistines captured Beth Shemesh during the reign of King Ahaz. Ahaz asked the Assyrians for help in recapturing Beth Shemesh.
Samson was a Danite who lived in the Sorek Valley near Beth Shemesh. (Judges 13-17)
From the peak of Beth Shemesh, while we were at the end of the Shorek Valley, you can see the Valley of Aijalon to the North and the Elah Valley to the South.
The Valley of Aijalon
God determined to use Israel as the instrument of the death penalty for the wicked nations of Canaan. (Deuteronomy 9:5; Joshua 10:8)
Joshua and the army of the Israelites went to battle with the "five kings of the Amorites" and their armies at Gibeon. (Joshua 10:5,10) In the midst of that valley in the battle, which spilt over into other areas of Palestine, Joshua spoke to the Lord:
 At that time Joshua spoke to the LORD in the day when the LORD gave the Amorites over to the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel,
“Sun, stand still at Gibeon,
and moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.”
 And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped,
until the nation took vengeance on their enemies.
Is this not written in the Book of Jashar? The sun stopped in the midst of heaven and did not hurry to set for about a whole day.  There has been no day like it before or since, when the LORD heeded the voice of a man, for the LORD fought for Israel.
How are we to understand that the "Sun stood still?" Did the sun stop? Did the earth stop its 1000-mph rotation to give Joshua more time? And, what about the moon? Did it stop too? We don't actually know how God did it. However the same God who gave light to the planet for the first three days before He created the Sun and Moon (Gen. 1-3-19) can elongate a day as He sees fit. The same Lord who can feed 5000 with a few loaves and fishes, can refract light, slow down the earth's rotation, or however He sovereignly chooses.
From Beth Shemesh, to the south, we were able to see the Ellah Valley. The valley gets its name from the terebinth tree (Hebrew-elah), which can still be found there. The Elah Valley begins just to the east of Gath and ends at a ridge that leads to Bethlehem. This valley is pretty famous. It is where David defeated Goliath after a forty-day standoff between the armies of Israel and Philistines. (I Samuel 17:2, 19;21:9)
Our next stop was Beersheba. As I mentioned when we were in Dan, a familiar expression to describe all of the land of Israel is used repeatedly in the Scriptures: "from Dan to Beersheba." (Judges 20:1; I Samuel 3:20) The city of Beersheba is mentioned about 34 times in the Old Testament.
When Hagar and Ishmael were sent away out of Abraham's camp, they went to the wilderness of Beersheba. (Gen. 21:14)
Most famously, Beersheba was the location where Abraham made an agreement, paid seven lambs, and took an oath with Abimelech to establish ownership over a well Abraham had dug. The name Beersheba means "well of oath" or "well of seven." (Genesis 26:26-33)
We were able to see the traditional spot thought to be Abraham's Well at Beersheba.
Joe and Debbie Finkelstine
On our way south we had the extra-special privilege of meeting a Chester County couple, Joe and Debbie Fi kelstine, who lead a Messianic-Jewish congregation, with a paricular mercy ministry focus to Bedouin women. It was a real wncouragement for all of us!
Deut 1:2 it says, it takes 11 days to go from Horeb to Kadesh Barnea by the Mount Seir Road. Why, then, did it take 40 years? Their unbelief. We saw some of those deserts today where the children of Israel kept going in circles for 40 years. It reminds us that sin and unbelief always cause us to go in circles and to make no progress.
Lunch at Mcdonalds in the Desert!
Who would have thought we would see the golden arches in the desert of Israel! Of course, it isn't kosher to mix the cheese with the beef! 😩
The Eilat Stone Factory
We ended the day at the Eilat Stone factory. We got to see how they cut the stones that are native here in Eilat, Israel. They tried to sell us some of them too!
Tonight before and after dinner we were able to stroll along a boardwalk in southern Israel, on the banks of the Red Sea. Tomorrow, we begin at the life-size tabernacle. Then, we have a boat ride in a glass bottom boat on the Red Sea.
It will be great!
P. S. Israel's version of "Love Park"