03_The “Where” of the Old Testament – The Holy Land

God revealed Himself in a particular time, to a particular race of people, at a particular geographical location. Just like He did in the times and people of the scriptures, God wants to speak to us through our own time, work, relationships, and geographical location. But to understand His ways with us, we must understand His ways with them. For that, we must know something of the when and where and through whom it all happened. We must be able to visualize the places, because the people and time and land constitute the arena in which God chose to uniquely speak, act, and intervene.

Welcome Joanna, Elizabeth, and Mark, Bible Study Evangelista’s newest friends of the show! Thank you for loving and lifting me :)

LOVE the Word™ is a Bible study method based on Mary’s own practice: lectio without the Latin.

L – Listen (Receive the Word.)

O – Observe (Choose one or more of the following personality approaches to connect the passage to your life and recent events.)

F | Franciscan – Make a virtual pilgrimage to a holy site in Palestine. Why do you think it’s important for people to make such pilgrimages?

I | IgnatianTake a look at the view of the Promised Land that Moses and the people would have seen. Imagine what you smell and hear. If you have been to the Holy Land (I am there right now!) take a few moments to remember all you experienced.

A | Augustinian – What is the Promised Land in your life that God wants to lead you to? How far have you come? How far is there left to go?

T | Thomistic – Memorize the four geographical regions of the Holy Land.

V – Verbalize (Pray about your thoughts and emotions.)

Remembering that He loves you and that you are in His presence, talk to God about the particulars of your O – Observe step.

E – Entrust (May it be done to me according to your word!)

Holy Spirit, Thank you for the reminder that places are important. Help me make my home and heart a sacred space where you feel welcome. + Amen.


*LOVE the Word™ exercises are offered according to FIAT: the four personalities, or “prayer forms,” explored in Prayer and Temperament, by Chester Michael and Marie Norrisey: Franciscan, Ignatian, Augustinian, and Thomistic: FIAT! These prayer forms correspond to the Myers-Briggs personality types.

Notes and References

Ignite, Chapter 3, The Where of the Bible

Get a printable pdf of the maps, below, here.

mapsholyland0002   mapsholyland0001-1

“If the firstfruit [of Judaism] is holy, then the lump [of Christianity] is holy; and if the root is holy then so are the branches” (Rom 11:16). We Christians are “grafted in” to the olive tree of faith (vs 17).

“God created the world like an embryo. Just as the embryo begins at the navel and continues to grow from that point, so too the world. The Holy One, blessed be he, began the world from its navel. From there it was stretched hither and yon. Where is its navel? Jerusalem. And its (Jerusalem’s) navel itself? The altar.” (“Navel In Popular Culture”. 2016. Wikipedia. Accessed July 6 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Navel_in_popular_culture#cite_ref-136.)

The Philistines are first mentioned in the Bible as descendants of Noah (Gen 10:14).

The Promised Land was “a land flowing with milk and honey” (Ex 3:8) and “the most glorious of all lands” (Ez 20:6,15). A single cluster of grapes so heavy that it had to be carried by two men (Num 13:23-24).

A popular expression denoting the land from north to south was “from Dan to Beersheba” (Judg20:1, 1 Sam 3:20, 1 Kin 4:25).

The “rose of Sharon” (Is 35:2).

The temple was built, destroyed, and rebuilt on the temple mount in Jerusalem on the very site on Mt. Moriah where Abraham almost sacrificed his son Isaac (Gen 22:2 & 2 Chron 3:1).

Jewish tradition (Zech 14:4) that when the Messiah comes, the resurrection of the dead will begin there. And so it did: The Mount of Olives is where Jesus ascended into heaven (Acts 1:11-12).

It is thought that the stench, desolation, salt, and pitch fires that destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah were caused by a volcanic eruption and earthquake on the fault line in this area (Gen 19:24-29).

Israel’s kings kept a fleet of ships to trade with Africa and Asia by sea (1 Kin 9:26) in imports of “gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks” (1 Kin 10:22).

The caravan of Ishmaelites that bought young Joseph from his jealous brothers was traveling on “the King’s Highway” trade route from Gilead to Egypt on camels loaded with spices, balms, and myrrh (Gen 37:25).

Episode Resources

Come join the chatter on the Facebook community. I’m in the Holy Land as we speak. How does it feel to have a “land” in addition to a “book” of your faith? Tell me your #LOVEtheWordtakeaway for this week’s show.  

Read the Transcript

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Image Credit

Infographic Images: 1) https://unsplash.com/@wwwynand
2) https://unsplash.com/@langthangdaydo
3) https://unsplash.com/@elinjonsson
4) https://unsplash.com/@aleskrivec

2 thoughts on “03_The “Where” of the Old Testament – The Holy Land

  1. Hi Sonja, so enjoy my Monday mornings and the next installment of study, thank you. I do have one, for me, unsettling question, why do you reference Israel as Palestine? I can understand being politically respectful of biblical sites in present day Palestine and vice versa regarding Israel sites but can’t quite get my head around the apostles calling Israel,

    Many thanks for great teaching series, Lucille

  2. Sonja,

    Your bible study on the “where” of the Bible is amazing! I have actually been to Israel with a Catholic tour group, which is an experience not to be missed! But, your overview on “where” really helped me clarify and better understand the connection from Jesus’ travels to Old Testament sites. I saw you at our ladies retreat in Ft Meyers and h e been thoroughly enjoying your books and podcasts ever since.
    God bless you for your work.

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