Frequently, we read the Bible and agree with it. We read familiar verses like John 3:16, and believe them to be true, but we often forget that they apply to you and me, in 2015, in our county today. It is an interesting and profitable experiment to adjust some of the words in certain verses to bring home the fact that God’s Word speaks not just to the ancient Israelites, or to the first-century church, but to us!
In the beginning, God created Bibb county.” (Gen. 1:1)
God created “the heavens and the earth,” as the original verse says, and Bibb county is part of the “the earth.” He created the geographic section of the world that we know right now as Bibb county. The land that the courthouse in Centreville is built on was created by God nearly 6,000 years ago. Brierfield estates is built on land created long ago, as well. The deep valleys in Antioch have been there for many years; likely thousands, since Noah’s flood. These places were all created by God Almighty, and He is the Ruler and King of them.
For God so loved Centreville, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into Bibb county to condemn the county; but that the county through him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17)
This is amazing! We can know that God means Centreville, because He says “the world” throughout those verses, and Centreville is part of the world. If God sent Jesus to redeem the world, then He sent Jesus to redeem Centreville, Lawley, Brierfield, West Blocton, Woodstock, Antioch, and all places else. Whoseover believeth in Him—from the men and women in the probate judge’s office, to the hurting single mother in an old mobile home, to the suspect who stole a weedeater from a friend of mine—may be saved. This is truly the good news.
Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. Keep therefore, and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the counties, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great county is a wise and understanding people. For what city is there so great as Centreville, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what town is there so great as West Blocton, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?” (Deut. 4:6-8)
Now, God did not say Centreville and West Blocton in the original text. Immediately, this passage was given by Moses to the Israelites, but we know that it applies to us today because it pertains to God’s Word. God’s directions for life are the best—so much so, that if we are faithful and obedient to the Lord and His commandments, applying them to our lives, our families, our police, and government offices, those around us will look at our county as being a just county. They will wonder at our policies, and when they see that the freedom we have is due to God’s blessing on our obedience, they will praise Him. (And lest we seem too confident, we must remember that God Himself is saying this, not me.)
“And it shall come to pass, if thou in Bibb county shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all counties of the state: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God…. But it shall come to pass, if thou in Bibb county wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee”. (Deut. 28:1-2, 15)
Moses here is speaking to the people of Israel, but because this is the Word of the Lord, and because God’s faithfulness is to all generations, it is not limited to Israel. God’s faithfulness in blessing and cursing extends to all the universe! God is just as faithful in Brierfield as He is in Israel; as faithful in Brent as He was for the first-century Christians. Our Lord will bless us for obedience to Him, and curse us for disobedience to Him, just as He judged the nations in Bible times.
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all cities, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching Randolph, Antioch, Six Mile, and the others, all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matt. 18:18-20)
Now, we know of course that our Lord did not explicitly refer to our towns; He says, nations. However, since we are commanded to go to all nations, this includes our cities. Our Lord charges us to go to Centreville and teach submission to Jesus Christ! He commands us to go forth, teaching Brent, Brierfield, Woodstock—all cities—all things our Lord has commanded us. All power in heaven and in earth has been given Him, and He is with us always, even unto the end of the world. Our mission cannot fail. What good news this is for us, that we are on the side of the Great King Who will not lose, Who empowers us to obey Him in our little county!