Have you ever heard some really good news secondhand (or maybe even “third” or “fourth-hand”). Sometimes I hear news that way that doesn’t really matter to me. In those cases I am content to breeze on past the news and move on to the next thing that vies for my attention. Other bits of news are so important that I am willing to stop everything to find out the truth. That’s when Google becomes my “best friend.” She has a woman’s voice on my phone, and instead of saying “google it,” my kids always say “ask google” when we don’t know the answer to something.
Imagine the Israelites telling their children about the wonderful things God had done in order to bring them into the promised land. I can imagine the young children sitting on the edge of their seats wide eyed with wonder as they hear the story of the battle of Jericho. The older kids jump in trying to tell the best parts before their father can finish the story. The teenagers acting bored because they’ve already heard the story a hundred times, but secretly they are proud to know that their dad was one of the men who marched around the walls until they fell.
The next generation begins to tell these same stories to their children, who are just as captivated by the story as their parents. Then, because the Isreaelites have been making friends with the nations they were supposed to drive out, some of the older kids begin to question their parents, “Did the walls really fall down after the seventh time around? Balaam’s mom said it couldn’t have been that easy!” or “Delilah said her god made the rain fall last week.” and still another would say “Why can’t we get an Ashera pole for our yard? My friend’s parents got one!”
Joshua 24:31 says:
Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua and had known all the work that the Lord did for Israel
Some translations say “experienced” instead of “known.” Telling our stories of how God has moved in our lives is important, but it is no comparison to actually experiencing a move of God. Of course, we cannot make this happen, it is God who chooses when to show Himself to us, but we can pray for Him to make Himself known to us and to our children. It is so important for us to be looking for Him to move in our lives. We get so distracted by other things, wanting to have what those around us have and “fit in.” God hasn’t called us to be like others, He has called us to love Him! Matthew 22:37 says:
And He said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
Just believing stories we’ve read in the Bible or heard from our parents and grandparents isn’t enough. We need to have faith that leads us to love God and follow Him no matter what the cost. How different things could have been for the Israelites had they set their hearts and minds on loving God instead of comparing themselves to the nations around them. It may seem like God is asking a lot of us in following Him, but I agree with Jim Elliot who said “Heis no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
I pray that God will help us to experience Him in such a way that we believe Him and love Him. I don’t want hearsay! Passion for God comes from knowing Him!