Day 5 (aka January 14, 2014)
Today is an interesting day to process. We did a lot today, and saw some very impressive sites. Some of what we saw had more to do with modern Israeli politics, and some of what we saw was about as ancient as you can find in Israel. We saw a military post overlooking Syria, we saw Qatzrin, hiked up the Jordan, saw Caesarea Philippi, and soaked up Dan. And Dan has it all!
Yet nothing about these sites in particular struck me as deeply as realizing the responsibility I have to learn from what I soaked up. I have this privilege of connecting myself deeply with the history of Christianity.
I am currently touring Israel, and seeing the Jewish roots of our faith. In a past summer I spent it in Europe, where I saw Zurich, Geneva, Wittenberg, and Rome. During that time I saw historically rich sites that were epicenters of theological study and religious reform. They were also places of political upheaval and scandal.
But today, I saw the city of Dan.
When I saw the cities in Europe I was with professors who had their PhDs in systematic and historical theology. It was amazing.
But nothing compares to being at the city of YHWH worship for the northern tribes of Israel during the Divided Kingdom. This city is one of the 3 most important cities in Israel’s religious history and I was able to be guided though it by an Old Testament expert whose field of specialty/ PhD work was on Tel Dan! He has been an archaeologist on this site more times than some people have read their Bibles! It was amazing.
Dr. Greer’s discussion of a handful of texts relating to that site reminded me of how exegesis has to be carefully informed by research and study. Pastor’s cannot be lazy in their reading of the text, nor can they be slack in their research of historical, social, and religious contexts of texts.
They have a responsibility to their congregation to preach God’s Word with accuracy and clarity. Guesswork and handing down of pat “traditional” interpretations is not the role of the exegete. They must know God’s Word, and be students of God’s Word.
But this again takes me back to the responsibility I have to teach God’s Word well as a student of the Bible and of Church history. Every time I get walk a site and hear my seminary professors speak is amazing. But it furthers that conviction of the responsibility I have to humbly submit to God’s Word and God’s people.
Good thing God is faithful, and I can be a faithful steward of these experiences and times of study because He promises the power of the Holy Spirit.
I cannot wait to share more with those who ask me in person. As for now, I am signing off
P.S. this is my fiancé getting recognized for being amazing J http://www.whac.net/article/2679.php