“Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the Word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so (Acts 17:11).”
Agent 86, Max Smart
On May 17th, three weeks before the 75thanniversary of the Normandy invasion, I found myself standing on Omaha Beach in France. The flat expanse is overwhelming; there is no cover from the Nazi gunfire that poured into our troops. Even a poor marksman couldn’t miss in that open terrain. It was beyond humbling.
Florent, our amazing guide, explaining the D-Day landings
When we got back in the car, our French tour guide recounted the story of Raymond Hoback’s Bible (he and his brother Bedford of A Company, 116thInfantry Regiment were both killed where we had literally just stood). Another soldier found his Bible on the beach and thoughtfully mailed it to the family.
“They were the first to go in and they just really didn’t have a chance, the Germans were just mowing them down as they hit the beach,” said their younger sister, Lucille Hoback Boggess. “My mother always treasured that Bible.”
The brothers Hoback
With the spiritual topic breached, I asked our guide where he went to church. Sadly, he said he never did, and had been raised with no real comprehension of Jesus Christ. Then he added that almost no one in France ever goes to church! I was stunned and asked if he ever read the Bible. He’d never read it, but there were so many interpretations, why bother?
Normandy, a chilling place even without bullets and explosions
This was a dangerous myth, even more dangerous than the German guns that had killed over 20,000 American soldiers by August 21, 1944, because his eternal destiny hung in the balance, and so I asked him the question I now pose to you.
If God wanted to communicate eternal, soul-saving truth about sin, death, and escape from His righteous judgment to be reunited with you, because He loved you more than His own Son’s life…would He make His truth complicated or easy to understand?
Bloody Omaha (the Germans cleared away all buildings in 1944)
And furthermore, would He supernaturally preserve that communication from all error and misunderstanding to ensure that you grasped His redemption message? If I were God, and came to DIE for you to have a second chance at that restoration, I would use all my power to keep it simple and easy to get even if you weren’t smart. Speaking of getting smart….
Thessalonica as it appears today (Acts 17)
Don Adams made this comical phrase (and our title) famous as Maxwell Smart’s explanation for escaping death in the TV show “Get Smart.” Most people believe this myth about the Bible and will “myth out” on Heaven by “that much”… just two feet, the distance from their head to their heart.
Be a Berean and escape death. Read the Bible for yourself and ask Him to make it clear. Just like the soldier who found Hoback’s Bible said, “I was walking along the beach D-Day plus one. I came upon the Bible and as most any person would do I picked it up.” So, why not get smart and just pick it up?
If you are you too young for getting “Get Smart,” here’s Agent 86 in spy-tacular form with his famous refrain: