“Now these (Bereans) 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
Three weeks before the 75thanniversary of the Normandy invasion, I found myself on Omaha Beach in France. The flat expanse overwhelms; there’s no cover from the Nazi gunfire that slaughtered our troops. Even a poor marksman with eyes closed couldn’t miss killing gobs of men in that open terrain. It was beyond humbling.
Normandy, a chilling place even without bullets and explosions
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 were both killed on June 6thwhere we had literally just stood). Another American soldier found his Bible on the beach and thoughtfully mailed it to the family.
“They were the first to go in and they really didn’t have a chance, the Germans were mowing them down as they hit the beach,” said Lucille Hoback Boggess, their younger sister. “My mother always treasured that Bible.”
The brothers Hoback
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. Then he added that no one goes to church in France! I was stunned and asked if he ever read the Bible. He’d never opened one, but there were so many interpretations, why bother?
Florent, our amazing guide, explaining the D-Day landings
This was a dangerous myth, perhaps even more deadly than the German guns that had killed over 20,000 Americans by August 21, 1944. Why? 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 soul-saving truth about sin, death, and how to get to Heaven…would He make His truth complicated or easy to understand? And furthermore, would He supernaturally preserve that communication from all error and misunderstanding to ensure that you grasped His redemption message?
Bloody Omaha (the Germans cleared away all buildings in 1944)
If I were God, and gave up my life to DIE in your place to save you, I’d use all of my power to keep my message simple, secure, and so easy to understand that even if you weren’t very smart you’d still get it. Speaking of getting smart…Don Adams made this comical phrase in our title famous as Maxwell Smart’s explanation for escaping death in the TV show “Get Smart.” Missing out on death is precisely the point here.
Thessalonica as it appears today (Acts 17)
Unfortunately, most people have never read the Bible and will “myth out” on Heaven by “that much”… just two feet, the distance from their head to their heart. 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, just pick it up, and be a Berean to see if these things are so? The Hoback family treasured it for a very good reason, and now it’s yours to discover why.
Not even a matchstick to hide behind
If you are you too young for getting “Get Smart,” here’s Agent 86 in spy-tacular form with his famous refrain: