“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven…a time to tear down and a time to build,… a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 3, 5).
My Bible study group is studying the book of Genesis this year. We just finished the account of the tower of Babel recorded in Chapter 11. The people had again turned away from their God, just a few short chapters following the judgment of the Flood. Again, we see the Sovereign God intervene in history with powerful action to correct their course. He “came down” and “scattered them from there over all the earth”.
I attended the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit at the Cincinnati Museum last week. The exhibit begins with God’s call to Abram in Genesis 12:1, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you”. This is the same place we are now in my Bible study group. It was a surreal experience walking into the exhibit. A voice spoke the passage in Hebrew, followed by English. Then, we were ushered into a room with floor-to-ceiling screens projecting images of the Sea, and the sound of waters lapping against its shores. The speaker said the Scrolls are the “most important archaeological discovery ever made”, and that the “Hebrew Bible” is the foundation of the three major world religions: Jewish, Christian, Islam. The timing of the discovery affected me the most. The scrolls were first discovered in 1947 – shortly after World War II and the horror of the Holocaust. God’s faithfulness to His people overwhelmed me. I could almost hear Him say, “Believe and be saved”. Incredibly, God continues to shine His light into the darkness of this world – a world that He made and came to in the flesh, but His own did not receive Him.
It was amazing to see the Scrolls and how God has preserved His Eternal Word. I felt sadness though at the careful wording of the exhibit, so as not to offend the religious freedoms of the three separate groups. Jesus continues to be obscured in person and significance. Everything was written in a spirit of impartiality. Even references to time as BC and AD were generalized to avoid the admission that Jesus is the pivot point on which everything turns.
Today, as we gather for Thanksgiving, I am thankful to be counted among God’s people; that God has revealed Himself to me in the face of Jesus Christ. “Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away…And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:12-18).
From the fullness of His grace we, who are in Christ, have all received one blessing after another. Today, let us give thanks from sincere hearts for the knowledge of God we have in the face of Christ. Praise God, the veil has been removed! Let us pray in remembrance of the many still veiled; scattered. Share in the fellowship of longing for His people, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings” (Matthew 23:37). We praise the God who scatters and gathers. Our God forgets not His own.
“We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing; He chastens and hastens His will to make known; The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing, Sing praises to His name: He forgets not His own.”