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Make a Sound 1: From Babel to Bible

08/25/2011 1 comment

   The story of the Tower of Babel is known for two things, the people were building a tower and God confused their language. The first element speaks of the people’s pride; they were building the tower to make a name for themselves. They wanted to proclaim their own ability to build something great. They wanted to make a sound that would be heard around the world.

   The second element speaks of God messing up their plan. He confused their language so that they would no longer have a common sound. He was not responsible for their project, but he was in charge of its success or failure. I have often said, “God is not in control, but he is in charge.” If God were in control, the people would not have wanted to sound their own praise in the first place.
   There was something else happening that often goes unnoticed. To see this other element we will look at a few other stories before we make our point.
Pharaoh saw no way the Israelites could escape from his army when they were hemmed in at the brink of the Red Sea. He had been sounding off about his ability to control the Israelites. He proclaimed his own power and might. The Lord parted the water so the Israelites could walk across on dry land. I’m sure there was a sound when the water parted and as the people marched across the bed of the sea rejoicing.
   When Pharaoh’s army followed, the Lord released his hold on the water and the Egyptians were drowned in the Sea. There was the sound of the crashing of the water and the cries of the soldiers and horses. But something else was happening that’s easy to miss.
   Then there was the proud Goliath boasting of his size and experience in battle. He was making a sound that intimidated the Israelite army. Along came a young lad named David with five smooth stones. David was boasting of his God. There was the sound of the sling and the sound of the thud when the stone hit its mark. With one stone from his slingshot he brought down the giant. Then Israel gained a great victory over the Philistines as God fought their battle for them.
   Much later the Assyrian army surrounded the walled city of Jerusalem and the general taunted the Israelites, proclaiming his military might. That night a plague went through his camp and 180,000 died. He had to return to Assyria a defeated warrior. What else was happening?
We see the same pattern in the New Testament. The Pharisees were boasting and taunting Jesus on the cross, “If you are the Messiah, come down.” They were able to kill the Son of God. They thought they had proven their superiority. But on the third day the Father raised Jesus from the dead and brought him to sit at his right hand on the throne of heaven. Even death could not hold him.
   Or look at King Herod who had Peter put in prison. He intended to kill him as he had killed James, “…because it pleased the Jews.” But in the middle of the night an angel came, opened the prison doors and set Peter free. The Lord thwarted the plans of Herod.
Now, what was happening in all these stories? What has escaped our notice? The mighty deeds of God were becoming Scripture. Those mighty acts of God were written down. The Word from heaven became an event, then it became Scripture.
   The sound of a rushing, mighty wind issued in Pentecost. The power of that day is partly due to another sound; the sound of the disciples speaking in tongues and, “…proclaiming the mighty deeds of God.” That means they were rehearsing out-loud the stories of the Old Testament, and perhaps some of the miracles of Jesus as well.
   Our proposal, that we have a day of reading aloud the Scripture, issues from this insight. When we proclaim the mighty deeds of God, something happens in the heavenlies that changes everything. Proclaiming the mighty deeds of God breaks something that releases God’s people from bondage. It also opens the hearts of the unbelievers to hear the good news. We can be confident we are proclaiming his mighty deeds when we are reading aloud his Scripture.
   We will suggest certain texts for this event, but we will not insist that you follow our suggestion. Each small group will have the option to choose which text or texts they will read that day. You can even read the whole Bible if you want. (It takes about 21 hours to read it out-loud. (I know; I’ve done it.)
   The next blog will speak of the significance of sound, especially the sound of the Word of God sounding through the sound of a believer’s voice. If you would like to participate in this event, there will be no roster and no tickets of admission. If you want to do it, just do it. We would be encouraged if you choose to do it together with others around the world on the same day (the day in late October will be announced later), but you can do this any day, or every day.
   If you would like to help promote the event, simply send this link to your fiends so they will be aware of it. http://wp.me/p1qFyK-1J 

Looking Forward,
Fount Shults