When the lights around us dim we can get direction, certainty, and life, all in one place. That is what Moses predicted: a dire situation in which Israelites recognize Yahweh. The later prophets saw a day coming when circumstances will help Israel acknowledge the Lord.
God in a box?2 Kings 5:15
When he returned to the man of God with all his company, and came and stood before him, he said, “Behold now, I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel; so please take a present from your servant now.”
It must be rare that coming face to face with Jerusalem’s unique dignity among places of note does not diminish national pride and raise confidence in God’s personal embrace of people from everywhere (every family, to be precise), and bring relief that God does not live in a box or country.
You probably recall the Elijah showdown with the prophets of Baal and the prophet’s concern that faith in Israel’s God was on the brink of extinction. How can a prophet be wrong? When they say before they hear.
Well, Elijah’s successor had an awakening to the facts attending Elijah’s concern.
God in ancient Israel? Exactly where?
Where is Yahweh, and why do Israelites keep running into the arms of Baal and the ashtaroth?
Of course there is one nation whose God offers access to himself only in designated spaces. The sacred tent was not home for God. It was more of a guest room. God actually expressed his preference for keeping the people alive by not being in their midst. At no time before New Testament times can it be said that God lived in human bodies.
Having eyes for the neighbours’ gods and having one place where sacrifice for sin could only mean one thing: God was there, but really wasn’t. His presence depended on what the people wanted. There were no lepers cleansed, and both Israel and Judah were evicted from the only place where God promised to be – to put his name. Shouldn’t the songbook reflect what is happening in people’s lives?
You judge. You decide. You delay. You strike. You grow. You wither.