And He Called Her ‘Beloved’
By Kay Arthur
Why is taking people to Israel and teaching them God’s Word where it happened, my favorite thing to do? Let me tell you how it all began.
By the time I was 27 years old, I was married, divorced and the mother of two sons. Disillusioned. Hurt. Dreams shattered, and with unbiblical counsel, I left my husband, Tom. None of us knew then that Tom was bipolar.
As I stood in the living room of my rented apartment I shook my fist in the face of God and cried out, “To Hell with You, God, I’m going to find someone to love me.” Like Israel, I played the harlot (Ezekiel 16:30-31), looking for love in all the wrong places.
On July 16, 1963, when I was 29, and unable to stop being immoral, I fell on my knees and cried out to God, ‘I don’t care what You do to me… I don’t care if I never see another man as long as I live. I don’t care if you paralyze me from the neck down or take my sons (those were the three worst things I thought could happen to me)… if You’ll only give me peace.’
And there, on my knees, God gave me the Prince of Peace, the Lord Jesus Christ as promised in Isaiah 9:6. God brought me a friend who gave me a Phillips Translation of the New Testament. And in His sovereignty, I read from Romans 9:25-26, “And He called her beloved when there was nothing lovely about her.”
I thought, ‘God, you put that in the Bible just to describe me.’ Little did I know the significance that quote (from Hosea) in Romans would come to hold for my life!
The Journey Begins
Although I was raised in the church, I knew hardly anything about the Bible. I found it boring and hard to understand. I loved church but not the Bible! Israel was nowhere on my radar until I moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee, to enroll as a student at Tennessee Temple.
One evening, in the sovereignty of God, I was invited to a meeting where they showed a film about Israel. And as I watched, God gripped my heart. Tears didn’t flow, they gushed. And, much to my embarrassment, I sobbed aloud. It was as if God opened my heart and poured into it His love for His chosen people. From that moment, I simply had to know what God said about Israel. I dedicated myself to careful study, and over the years, gained more and more insight about God’s people, Israel. This turned into a key element of the teaching ministry God called me to steward, and a topic I’ve shared God’s heart for with millions of Believers.
Inviting Others on the Journey
Oh, how I love the Old Testament, for there I get to know God. And how I love teaching it in Israel, marrying it with the New Testament—watching people’s eyes light up with the
knowledge of the whole counsel of God’s Word. Nothing strikes my heart with holy fear more than the thought that my son David and I would fail to make the very best of our annual teaching tour to Israel. We realize that some save a lifetime for this trip, or go at great personal cost. For this reason, we do everything we can to make sure the experience is an exceptional one in every way. Nothing brings me greater joy than introducing people to the land of Israel on these unforgettable, life-defining trips!
I will never forget when the opportunity to lead a small group to Israel presented itself one December 40 years ago. In those days, when the plane arrived in Israel, it was parked far from the terminal for security reasons. As I exited the plane and descended those steps, I found myself standing on holy ground—a land promised to Israel, a land set apart by God. Tears flowed freely down my face. I strangely felt I was home! The next four decades brought me so many unforgettable moments: the friendships, the sense of family, the people who would be saved, the lives of children, teens and adults forever changed.
Individuals are so precious to God and I want to meet each of them face-to-face. This is why we limit the size of our trips to maintain a close-knit feel.
Falling in love with the Land
Little did I realize that our son, David, who was a rambunctious 9 year-old on that first trip, would one day be teaching with me, opening God’s Book in the place where so many biblical events happened. Nor did I realize David would someday be supervising all the action as I visually teach the book of Revelation at Megiddo where the nations will be gathered to make war against Israel!
My 2001 novel, Israel, My Beloved, was also one of the personally surprising results from these teaching experiences in Israel. It depicts the major events in Israel’s history, from the time of the Babylonian captivity to the coming day of God. I wrote much of it from our ministry headquarters in Israel.
Every single visit to Israel creates more favorite memories for me, as I see the light go on for each sojourner. Opening their Bibles and reading the precious words of Scripture, they realize they are sitting in the very places it unfolded. We study Matthew 24 and Luke 21 from the grounds of the “Teardrop” church on the Mount of Olives overlooking the Temple Mount. In the early morning, we rent the house of Caiaphas and teach the whole arrest, trial and crucifixion of our Lord Jesus. Later that day we go to the Garden Tomb for Communion.
Now do you see why David and I love Israel so much?
Falling in love with the Word
Our ultimate purpose for taking people to Israel is to help individuals engage in a deeper relationship with God through His Word. This is why we love working with Steve Dick who owns Inspiration Cruises & Tours. He and his team do everything they can to help us make that happen!
Like us, Steve believes the Bible is the bread by which we live and that it gives us the true knowledge of Jesus, which grants us everything that pertains to life and godliness (Matthew 4:4, 2 Peter 1:2-4). It’s in the land of the Book that we show Bible students how to start feasting on His Word. If you travel with us, and have eyes to see and ears to hear and wills to obey, we know you will experience His Word as never before and, hopefully, you will never be the same.