Standing in Beit She’an was breathtaking. There is 6000 years of history in layer upon layer right here. Canaanite Temples, Egyptians, Israelites, Philistines have all been here. The bodies of King Saul and his sons were hung here after they were killed and Israel’s army was defeated. Although there has been a great deal of excavation, the unseen layers still call to be discovered. The lives of men, women, and children that have gone before. Beit Shean is mentioned in the Bible several times – check out Judges and 1 Samuel. An earthquake in 749 AD caused a great deal of ruin and many of the huge pillars fell. Other walls were built right over them. However, this incredible place never completely recovered.
As our group walked around these amazing ruins, we saw a theatre, amphitheater, gym complex, bath house, swimming pool, shops, and even public toilets. This place took my breath away. I couldn’t seem to look closely enough. I wanted to take it all in. I touched the stones and thought of the history that had passed their way. As I walked, I kept asking God what He wanted me to see, what He wanted me to learn in this place. Tonight, I sit in the hotel room working through the experience in my thoughts, trying to put my experience into words, and it begins to come into focus.
Thousands of years of history are buried in this place. Layer upon layer of lives that have been lived, cultures, armies, children, kings, architectural styles, entertainment, leisure, and labor. All have played a part in history but they are now in ruins. The scope of time is now taking on a much broader picture. History here is measured in the thousands of years. To God they are as a breath. The magnitude of His picture of time and my understanding of it is growing as I feebly attempt to see and understand the history of this Holy Land and its people.
Every life lived has played its part in the scope of time that God speaks of as “from eternity to eternity”. My tiny little life will not be insignificant in God’s timeline. He has a plan for me. Jeremiah 29:11 But I have to ask myself, “Am I leaving the footprints God ordained for me? Will my life have made a difference for the Kingdom of God? What has my contribution been today in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ?
In 6000 years, if the Lord does not come before then, my history, the ruins of my life – and yours – will be a part of the layer upon layer of time left behind. I thank God that is will only be my flesh and bones that remain. I will be with my Savior as I take my last breath here on earth and step into heaven. But what am I leaving behind? My greatest desire is to leave a legacy that points to Christ. I want to leave behind people that are walking with Christ as their Savior because I showed them the way.
Of precious Savior, may the layer of ruins that I leave behind be filled to overflowing with a legacy of love and grace. This is my prayer.