Anaheim SDA Church
Mid-week Pastor’s Update
February 2nd, 2022
“These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” Hebrews 11:39-40
In my devotional times recently, I’ve been reading the latter part of Genesis, and early Psalms. I have, as a result, gotten to thinking about the lives of two of the significant characters there: Joseph and David. Though of course they didn’t know each-other personally, they were both striking examples of fidelity during hugely trying times: the one being sold into slavery and falsely accused and imprisoned, and the other being a fugitive on the lam from an irate king, despite having done nothing wrong.
I was thinking of how commendable and steadfast their faith was, and then realized how relatively little scriptural substance they had to work with, compared to us. At the time of Joseph, none of the scriptures were written down, stories were just told orally from one generation to the next. Joseph would’ve grown-up hearing stories of “Great grand-father Abraham”, “Grandfather Isaac”, and the first part of “Father Jacob’s” life. These stories were no doubt remarkable, and were surely told in greater detail than we have accounted in our book of Genesis, but the material is so relatively little compared to the “feast” we have with the whole Bible! Yet it was enough substance to fortify Joseph through being carried to a strange land with strange language, customs, and gods, and more than a dozen years of alienation from all that he was familiar with.
King David would’ve had more substance: by the time he lived there would’ve been written accounts of the plagues of Egypt, the Red Sea crossing, the giving of the 10 commandments, the building of the desert sanctuary & development of the priestly services in the sanctuary system, and the full Law of Moses, etc. But even that which he had is less than a third of our Biblical content today, and far less than that if you count other church history, testimonies, and Spirit of Prophecy input we now have.
Though he likely saw some things in vision,* David didn’t see Jesus’ life, didn’t know the particularities of his death & resurrection, the apostles & the early church, and the later spreading of Christianity across the globe. He didn’t even know about the splitting of Israel into two kingdoms, the downward moral slide, the Babylonian captivity, Daniel’s faithfulness & prophesying, nor any of the minor prophets.
Yet both these men lived lives of inspirational fidelity, and now each compose significant portions of the scriptures we possess. Though we often look to them for inspiration, let’s think how truly remarkable and impressive it is that they were so faithful and steadfast, with so much less ‘input’ than we have today.
In fact, given that David died before any of those above-listed things happened (and hasn’t ascended into heaven – Acts 2:34), this means that he’s going to learn about them from the other side of eternity! Maybe we’ll even get to observe him as he learns the history of the kingdom of Israel, either from reading the Biblical accounts, or hearing the stories live from faithful people who experienced them! Wouldn’t you love to observe Biblical heroes learning more of the history that followed them? Not to mention the huge advances in the plan of salvation and the culminating and closing of the Great Controversy?!
Jesus said in Matthew 8:11 “I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven”. Don’t you want to be in that scenario? In addition to what will no-doubt be fabulous feasting, can you imagine the conversations that will take place around that table?! We will get to hear added details to the patriarchs’ stories! We will get to hear the significance they feel to see the great promises realized! And most importantly, we will get to see them thank their God and savior for having led them, and them being commended by Jesus & the Father for their faithfulness & inspiration that they provided for future generations. It is truly the most beautiful & climactic meal I can conceive of being at!
Friends, I often come to the conclusion that there is nothing in this world; no vice, no amount of money, power, fame, etc. that is worth trading in for “the glory that shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has mind conceived the things God has in store for those who love him” 1st Corinthians 2:9. To live to see that glory is our highest calling, purpose, and fulfillment.
I pray that we will be faithful for our generation, not only because of the great inspirational accounts we have of those who have gone before, but because of the great vision & destiny God has put ahead of us. May that hope, that eventual reality ever live in our hearts, and motivate all we do.
Pr. Mark Tatum
* I don’t think David ever claimed to have seen a vision, but he wrote some Messianic prophecies so specifically, I don’t think it a stretch to consider he may have been shown some stuff. At the very least, he was writing under strong inspiration of the Holy Spirit to prophesy particularities of Jesus’ life, ministry, and death.