Today, many look across the landscape (i.e., scroll on their smartphones), and are easily intimidated by the giants in the land. How will the glory of God be revealed in all the world when so much of the world seems to be closing or closed to the gospel?
Counter those concerns with the often-confident expressions that accompany our conversations in many parts of the world that God has blessed us with so much. In North America alone Adventists are known as the longest living people; the most diverse group of people; and have access to a vast educational system as well as multiple large health-care systems. We need not say “if” but “in light of” God being for us, who can be against us? (Rom. 8:31).
Confidence in things or institutions is not new to those who claim to follow God and who believe they are called for a special purpose. Ancient Israel didn’t seem to grasp that their strength was in correlation with their adherence to the divine law contained inside the ark of the covenant, but instead put their trust in the ark itself—the golden box they carried to war seemed to make them feel invincible.
As we begin to clearly see the foundations of society eroding, what will we do to show others—friends and foes alike—where we as a people put our trust?
The Philistines thought this ark was the Israelites’ god. They didn’t have a clue that “the living God, who created the heavens and the earth, and gave His law upon Sinai, sent prosperity and adversity according to the obedience or transgression of His law contained in the sacred chest.”1
Some believe that the capture of the sacred chest—the golden box with its precious contents—was the greatest calamity that could come upon Israel. What do you think we would say today would be the greatest calamity that could come upon Adventism? Our schools shut down? Our hospitals closed? Our churches unable to be opened because of a pandemic? (There’s something that hits close to home.) How would we react?
We are told that “God permitted His ark to be taken by their enemies, to show Israel how vain it was to trust in the ark, the symbol of His presence, while they were profaning the commandments contained in the ark. God would humble them by removing from them that sacred ark, their boasted strength and confidence.”2
Today I wonder about some of those ominous statements in the “red but often not read” books about what and where we place our confidence. I fear sometimes I hear too many sentiments expressed that remind me of Nebuchadnezzar—”Is not this great Babylon, that I have built?” (Dan. 4:30).
As we begin to clearly see the foundations of society eroding, what will we do to show others—friends and foes alike—where we as a people put our trust? I wish it weren’t so, but I fear that God may need to remove the things from us that we have made for our own glory so that He can reveal His own glory to the world—through us.
Jared Thurmon coordinates marketing for Adventist Review Ministries.