Misplaced Hope

“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

Matthew 7:22-23

We visited the Holy Land recently, and I was not sure what to expect. I did not do my pre work as I wanted to, but I was looking to expand my biblical worldview and broaden my western view of the Bible. I thought it would be cool to be where Jesus was and see the sea He walked on, but this was not the main attraction for me. My mind was open to whatever He would have me to learn, and I was excited to see biblical history from an entirely different perspective. There were some visiting Israel who were excited to claim that we were walking where Jesus walked or touching things He had touched. I was not into this mystical aspect of the journey, but there seemed to be a lot of religious groups who held onto this.

We saw many things on our ten-day trip, and we hit most of the highlights where tourists go. We went in the peak of tourism season and a lot of the places we went were packed with buses and people. It seemed there was a church built upon every sight where Jesus was or places where they thought Jesus’ mother was born. If there was rumored to be a miracle, a sermon or a spotting of where Jesus may have been, there was a church there. There were numerous people who worshipped a monument or idol built to depict Jesus or a biblical figure and a shrine to commemorate an historic event. There was a stone in one of the churches which grown men and women kissed, thinking they were drawing close to God.

The churches were packed with tourists and those seeking a spiritual experience. The nation of Israel is a special place, but God is not found in a stone or even in a church. He is not simply a spiritual experience, but He is One who desires a personal relationship with every person who occupies planet earth. He is not confined to a shrine or stuck on a cross, but He is a risen Savior who died for the sins of the world and sits on the right hand of the throne of God. He indwells every believer who has placed their faith in Him alone, and I did not have to travel several thousand miles to commune with Him. I am thankful for the hope He gives us, and I am grateful we don’t have to worship a specific place or a shrine, but we can worship Him anywhere.

People travelled from all over the world to go and visit the Holy Land for various reasons, and I believe some left feeling a closer presence to God. It is hard not to walk away from the Holy Land with a new perspective and outlook on biblical history and pointing to areas you read about and seeing them in real life. I definitely see a new outlook when reading the Bible and it enhanced my relationship with Jesus Christ, but the trip was not the source of that relationship. My relationship started with Him when I was five years old and I put my faith in Him to be my Lord and Savior. I placed my eternal hope in Him and trusted Him fully and solely. There will be many on judgement day who will proclaim they walked where He walked and saw what He saw, but He will say, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Salvation only comes from accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior and is not based on a religious experience or by visiting the Holy Land. Israel is a special place, but my hope is not in Israel but it is placed solely on the finished work of Jesus Christ.

Where are you today friend? Are you placing your hope on being “religious”, or do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? What is your hope based on? Is it based on the rituals of man and religiosity or are you trusting in Christ alone? Don’t waste another day misplacing your hope, but instead you can tonight rest your head on your pillow knowing that if you were to die, you would be forever with the Lord. The saddest words spoken to mankind will be, “I never knew you: depart from me.” The greatest words one can hear is, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.” What will He say to you?

Stay in the Fight!

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