Everything had gone wrong; from perfection to chaos in a moment. On the surface it still seemed idyllic, but doubt and disobedience had changed the relationship.
Satan had made them doubt God’s word. ‘Has God said?’ he taunted them. Don’t you think that what God said might have meant something just a little bit different? Don’t you think God meant you to enjoy all of his creation, even though he told you not to eat from one particular tree?
No longer could the Lord God walk and talk in the garden each day with Adam and Eve, he even had to drive them out of their paradise. So God begins the long road to win his people back, to make them understand the reality of his love which is now hidden. How could he make them see?
God chose a small insignificant nation, Israel, to broadcast his fame to all the surrounding nations, and in the process made Israel famous as well. As they were about to enter the land he said: ‘The Lord has declared this day that you are his people, his treasured possession as he promised, and that you are to keep all his commands. He has declared that he will set you in praise, fame and honour high above all the nations he has made and that you be a people holy to the Lord your God, as he promised.’
Their fame caused them problems when the Gibeonites came and set a trap for them. Visitors came when King David’s fame spread through all the land and later the Queen of Sheba came to test Solomon with hard questions when she heard of his fame. She found that Solomon was even wiser than she anticipated and her reaction was to give praise to the Lord God of Heaven.
In spite of this, again and again the nation went against God, and God’s fame was not proclaimed as it should have been. God spoke through his prophets and Isaiah could say: ‘I am about to come and gather all nations and tongues, and they will come and see my glory. I will set a sign among them, and I will send … to the distant islands that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory. They will proclaim my glory among the nations. And they will bring all your brothers, from all the nations, to my holy mountain in Jerusalem … to the temple of the Lord.’
Hosea’s life showed God’s unconditional love for the nation, and the prophet Habbakuk could pray ‘Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.’
However the nation would not listen to the voice of the prophets, and God sent his son, Jesus. He too was rejected and still God waited. He waits for us to turn to him, to establish his kingdom on earth. Creation groans waiting for redemption. God waits, not willing that anyone should perish. As God’s people on earth do we shout out the fame of his name? Do we make him known while we wait for his return? Do we join Israel, once more a sign to the nations of God’s faithfulness and patience?
The day is coming when the Lord will come and his fame and glory will be spread across the heavens.
The day is coming when every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
The day is coming when we will be part of that great multitude that no-one can count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb, crying ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’ Heaven will be filled with the cry of ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come. You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.’
God’s fame will be complete; the long wait will be over.
Deut. 26: 18.19 Joshua 9:9 1 Chron. 14:17 2 Chron. 9:1-8 abbrev. Isaiah 66:18-21
Habbukuk 3:2 Romans 14:11 Revelation 7:9,10 4:8,11 (all quotes NIV)
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