Monday, June 26, 2023

God is Known

Something strange happens when Israel enters the Promised Land and comes to Jericho, but it's something that we often miss because in our culture, it doesn't seem like that big of a deal. 

When Israel sends spies to this land to which they have never been (or, at least, not in more than 400 years, since they have been slaves in Egypt for that long), they hear some interesting talking circulating among the locals. And Rahab confirms it for them: 

We've heard about your God and the things He has done, and everyone here is terrified because they know what's coming next.

Read that again - the people of Jericho, on the other side of the Jordan River, on the other side of the Red Sea, have heard about the God of the Israelites from Egypt. Not only have they heard about Him, but they've heard the things He's done - like part the Red Sea and drown the powerful Egyptian army in it. 

We read something like that, and we think...of course they've heard. Something like that doesn't happen every day, so it's big news when it does. Everyone had probably heard. 

But remember - this is before Google. This is before the Internet. It's before television and radio and even the telegraph. It's before there was a reliable mail service. The people of Jericho were not just one click away from hearing about this; they heard about it from messengers who traveled while Israel was wandering in the desert for forty years. 

Someone came into Jericho with this story. Then, I'm guessing, someone else came with the same story. I'm sure it probably took several individuals coming with the same story for Jericho to finally understand that this is actually what happened, but the point is - they got the point. Everyone in Jericho knew, but not only did they know, they believed it. 

They believed it so much that it terrified them for their own safety. 

Even the Jordan doesn't look like much protection when you hear that the Lord parted the Red Sea for these people. 

That's the thing I think we don't understand any more in a world of breaking news - where everything that happens goes global in an instant, and it all competes for our attention, and even the small things get blown up into the big things. I think we don't understand what it means when God acts and the whole world knows it

But that's exactly what happens. 

They can close their eyes. They can cover their ears. They can demand more witnesses. They can seek "scientific" explanations. They can attempt to demystify the mysterious. They can rationalize it away. But at the end of the day, they've heard what they've heard - God Himself has intervened on behalf of His people. 

It's why you can talk to almost anyone on this planet (save for the completely unreached tribal folks tucked away in their native lands), and they have at least heard about Jesus. God acted, and the whole world heard. 

That's our God.  

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