Saturday, May 28, 2011

Mount Carmel

Every morning while we were in Tiberius, we had breakfast between 6:30-8:00 and were on the bus ready to leave at 8:00. By the way, to ensure that this was the case, we had automated wake-up calls. This usually wasn’t a problem because with the change in time zones and the sweet singing of the birds, we were always up bright and early. I have never heard birds like those that were in Israel.

Our destination for Friday morning was Mount Carmel. Mount Carmel is actually part of a series of summits about 8 miles long. The range is adjacent to the Mediterranean Sea (our next stop). There are two passes through the range and whoever controlled the passes had significant control over the region as it affected all trade and travel.

The word, Carmel, means “vineyard of the Lord.” It is the site of Israel’s largest national park.It was a chilly and rainy morning. We had rain for two days, which is highly unusual for this time of the year in Israel.  David Lawson provided our Bible study this morning. His text, of course, was 1 Kings 18:1-46 which tells the story of the confrontation of Elijah and the prophets of Baal.

When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is this you, you troubler of Israel?” He said, “I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house have, because you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and you have followed the Baals. Now then send and gather to me all Israel at Mount Carmel together with 450 prophet of Baal and 400 prophets of the Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.” So Ahab sent a message among all the sons of Israel and brought the prophets together at Mount Carmel. Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him, but if Baal, follow him.” But the people did not answer him.

Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord which had been torn down. Elijah took twelve stones according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, “Israel shall be your name.” So with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord, and he made a trench around the altar, large enough to hold two measures of seed. The he arranged the wood and cut the ox in pieces and laid it on the wood. And he said “Fill four pitchers with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood.” And he said, “Do it a second time,” and they did it a second time. And he said, “Do it a third time,” and they did it a third time. The water flowed around the altar and he also filled the trench with water. At the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, today let it be known that You are God in Israel and that I am Your servant and I have done all these things at Your word…The the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The Lord, He is God; the Lord, He is God.”

Carla, the lady in the white, and her husband, Larry, the man sitting on the rock in front of her live in our area.


This is another picture of our group. Our bus hostess, Diane Vereen, was leading the singing. Judy is sitting on the ground in front of Diane. I had too much trouble getting up off the ground (ha!), so took my cushion to a rock which worked out fine.


Mount Carmel is covered with eucalyptus, pine, and cypress trees.


As the teaching was ending, it started raining. Some of us (me) didn’t bring umbrellas with us on the trip, so we rushed to the bus to get out of the weather. The shower passed and we were able to explore the monastery gift shop and view from the roof.




When the 450 prophets of Baal were bested they were taken to Brook Kidron at the foot of the mountain and slain. These pictures are of the Jezreel Valley which was at one time a swamp and malaria was rampant. When the Jews came back to the land, they purchased this and similar land that was perceived by the Arabs to be worthless. Just look at it now-the land of milk and honey!







The wilderness and the desert will be glad, and the Arabah will rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it will blossom profusely and rejoice with rejoicing and shout of joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They will see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God. Isaiah 35: 1-2


Kay joined us as we traveled to our next stop, the Mediterranean Sea and Caesarea by the Sea.


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