The Secret Service has been embroiled with controversy. Due to the scandalous nature of the story, I will not go into details here, but a casual Google search will give you all the details you desire. Whenever the President takes a trip, the Secret Service sends an “advance team” to the destination to ensure the security and safety of the President. In this case, the destination was Columbia. While listening to the news earlier this week, one reporter suggested that the scandal could’ve easily put the President’s safety in jeopardy. These agents chose to allow many unsavory people into their hotel rooms where they could have had access to classified documents pertaining to the President’s itinerary.
We’ve watched enough spy movies to know how this turns out, right? The government agent falls in love with a beautiful woman who turns out to be a spy or a double agent, and suddenly the security of the nation has been compromised over a glass of Champaign and a dish of caviar. Yet some how, James Bond, Ethan Hunt, Maxwell Smart, or even Jack Bauer always manage to save the world from certain doom.
There is something about us that loves a good spy movie. Occasionally, the stuff of movies makes it into real life. In 2010, a Russian spy named Anna Chapman was arrested with 9 others and charged with “conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government.” Though Chapman was never in a real position to do any harm, the news was enough to excite our Hollywood-fueled imaginations.
Long before Ian Fleming had James Bond playing baccarat in Casino Royale in 1953, Joshua was perfecting the art of espionage. In preparation for the first major battle in the conquest of Canaan, two spies were sent on a top-secret mission to penetrate the defenses of Jericho and bring back pertinent information to General Joshua. And just like a good spy movie, a beautiful woman is involved who just so happens to be a “double agent.” (Ancient Jewish teachers believed her to be one of the four most beautiful women to ever live).
The informed reader immediately asks the question, “Joshua, why send spies?” If you recall, that whole “spying” thing didn’t work out so hot 40 years earlier. Besides, God has promised victory, that’s all you need, right?
We see in the story of Jericho that there is such a thing as “informed faith.” Informed faith means that you trust God and that you do your part to be informed about the plans God has. You wouldn’t want your preacher to stand up on Sunday morning and flip open the Bible to a random page and preach a sermon without preparation. You want him to be informed. In the same way, Joshua trusted God and wanted to gather all the information he could so he could better understand how God was going to work.
Informed faith means that you trust God by going to the doctor about your illness; you trust God by going to the unemployment office when you are out of work; you trust God by preparing for the sermon God has called you to preach; you trust God by going to seminary to prepare for the calling God has on your life. It does not mean that you doubt the Lord, but that you are willing to do whatever it takes to see God’s hand at work.
When I was ordained, someone asked me why I wanted to go to seminary. To be honest, I didn’t have a good answer. But then a wise man spoke up and said, “God can use a sharp sword better than a dull one.” Trust the Lord and use the mind God has given you to be better informed about His plans for you.
From Newnan with Love,