While I rested in God’s presence, I saw a picture (in my mind) of myself lying on my back in the bottom of a small, wooden rowboat, floating on peaceful water. The sky was clear and there was a nice breeze. I could feel the warmth of the sun on my face. Occasionally, a slight wave would jostle the boat. I moved (on the floor) as if physically affected by the rocking boat.
It was such a beautiful scene. I could see the setting from a birds-eye view as well as from my perspective in the boat. At times it looked like a painting, especially the inner, wooden structure of the boat.
Kim Walker’s song, He Loves Us, was playing over the speakers. I knew that the water surrounding the boat was God’s love. I was so relaxed and at peace. I could feel His love. Even though no land was in sight, I felt completely safe.
As I continued to lie there, I “saw” myself sitting up and looking at my hands. They were covered with flecks of gold. Soon after that one of the pastors felt the Lord say fortunes would be restored into our hands. The word came from Zephaniah 2:7 “It will belong to the remnant of the house of Judah; there they will find pasture. In the evening they will lie down in the houses of Ashkelon. The LORD their God will care for them; he will restore their fortunes.” NIV
The city was originally built on a sandstone outcropping and has a good underground water supply. It was relatively large as an ancient city with as many as 15,000 people living inside walls a mile and a half (2.4 km) long, 50 feet (15 m) high and 150 feet (50 m) thick. Ashkelon was a thriving Middle Bronze Age (2000-1550 BCE) city of more than 150 acres (607,000 m²), with commanding ramparts including the oldest arched city gate in the world, eight feet wide, and even as a ruin still standing two stories high. The thickness of the walls was so great that the mudbrick Bronze Age gate had a stone-lined tunnel-like barrel vault, coated with white plaster, to support the superstructure: it is the oldest such vault ever found.
The Bronze Age ramparts were so capacious that later Roman and Islamic fortifications, faced with stone, followed the same footprint, a vast semi-circle protecting Ashkelon on the landward side. On the sea it was defended by a high natural bluff.
So Ashkelon was well-located, had a good water supply, was a monument to city planning, and was one of the safest places to live.
I receive that word of peace, safety, and provision. Thank You, most of all, for Your amazing love!