I love coming across little comments in the bible that are mentioned seemingly in passing, but have huge implications. Like in Exodus 34:
“Three times in the year shall all your males appear before the LORD God, the God of Israel. For I will cast out nations before you and enlarge your borders; no one shall covet your land, when you go up to appear before the LORD your God three times in the year.” (Exodus 34:21–24)
God promised to cast out nations and enlarge borders, so Israel would be spread out in the land. And to worship together, God demanded that every man appear before him three times per year, in one place. I wonder what Moses’ hearers were thinking: “What about my wife and kids? Home alone for weeks? No, I’d surely take them with me to appear before the LORD! But then our homes would be empty and our enemies will see it and invade!”
But God anticipated it: “No one shall covet your land when you leave to appear before me.” Just like that? For the sake of his worship, God would change the hearts of the surrounding people to not want to invade. They’d surely catch on quickly to Israel’s custom of leaving the land practically empty three times a year to go worship. “What better time to take some free land!” Will think nobody. Because God promised to protect his people.
What was only mentioned in passing has since been expanded. Jesus taught:
“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:4–7)
And Paul writes to the Christians in Rome:
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
These promises are far greater than the one in Exodus! We are not guaranteed safety at all times, but it is clear that we need not fear other people and their schemes, only God. And no matter what happens, always, it will be for our good.
Photo by Dan Senior on Unsplash. Regent Street in London is usually not empty. Maybe if London were Israel, and everyone left to worship God, it would look like this. Okay fine, I just liked the photo.