Post 94 / Director's Vision, The Next Language
June 14, 2022
Fountains of Water
Coming from a relatively unpopulated part of the globe I have always been fascinated by places with a density of population.
In my Alaskan home region of the Upper Cook Inlet (census of 1880) there was only one place that broke the 100-souls mark for population and that was Tyonik. Only two of those individuals were listed as non Athabascan. That was more than 20 years before Anchorage even became a village. A handful of villages on the Susitna River and Turnigan arm came close to having fifty souls. Those were entirely indigenous. Those numbers and racial proportions changed dramatically at the turn of the century with the discovery of gold. Then the scourge of smallpox, whooping cough, influenza, tuberculosis, and alcohol nearly wiped out those native communities. (I credit historian and local Coleen Mielke for publishing that data in 2022.)
In contrast Nathaniel and I travelled by overnight train last night through the western half of Java through some of the densest population anywhere. Java is easily the most populated island in the world. Indonesia is easily the most populated island group in the world with over 150,000,000 people in the 2020 census. (That is almost half the population of the entire USA whose density is 36 people per square kilometer.) Java is the most densely populated island with over 1,100 people per square kilometer. Only the Japanese island of Honshu comes close with a density of 451 persons per square kilometer and total population of 104,000,000.
The apocalyptic discourses of the Bible commonly associate multitudes of people with “the waters” and even more specifically seem to contrast the oceans or “seas” with the “fountains of water.” Here are enough passages to support that premise in my thinking.
Woe to the multitude of many people, [which] make a noise like the noise of the seas; and to the rushing of nations, [that] make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters! [Isa 17:12 KJV]
Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD [is] near in the valley of decision. [Joe 3:14 KJV]
And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. [Rev 17:15 KJV]
For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. [Rev 7:17 KJV]
Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.[Rev 14:7 KJV]
And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus. [Rev 16:5 KJV]
The Bible is also quite detailed in relating the genesis of various people groups and most particularly the story of the Jews. The progression from one man to a marriage to a family to a tribe to a nation to a kingdom is spelled out in great detail (complete with census records) and with enough specificity to be able to link chronology with populations. We are even told the name of their angel in Daniel.
But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. … But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and [there is] none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince. [Dan 10:13, 21 KJV]
And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation [even] to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. [Dan 12:1 KJV]
In Scripture narrative and in our travels we have observed fountains of all sizes. The stories of their origins and history reflect the same dynamics we find in the story of the Jews — evidence of a creative, sustaining God who calls and preserves and influences eternal values. Response to those influences shapes the entire direction of those fountains and even their extinction. In fact at one point He delayed the Jewish possession of the Promised Land because the evil of the residents had not yet fully matured. God was just as willing to judge the Jews for disobedience as He was the Canaanites.
As we physically enter these “fountains” we need to be aware of all these dynamics. Even as we pray we need to be aware that we are moving the hand of God and the “angel of the waters.” We need to be aware that the opposing forces of multiplication and division are often both at work. The forces of self preservation are going to look very differently in a people group that is “face to face” (5,000 or less) compared to groups like where we are now that number in the tens of millions.
How the gospel story is tailored is very different in these large languages that are often functioning simultaneously with two or three other languages and an overlaying “trade” language that may or may not be related.
God is neither impressed nor intimidated by numbers. Whether by few or by many He performs His works. He asks us only to pray that His will “be done on earth — as in Heaven.” Only God knows why He withholds our ability to see the heavenly perspective. I’m sure it would help our praying but perhaps handicap our faith.
We know, based on God’s promises to Abraham, that the ultimate scope of God’s Kingdom is measureless — at least from a human perspective. We are projected to become a magnitude that compares to all the stars in the sky or all the sands on the seashore. We must keep this in mind when we are struggling to get the very first contact or conversion with a people group. Only God can move the “waters” toward the final glory we most certainly will one day see. We are inching steadily toward an unstipulated number that Paul refers to as “the fullness of the Gentiles” . When that completion is realized I fully expect to hear the heavens rend with that final trumpet call. May we with patience and obedient faith continue to penetrate those “fountains” where the light has not yet penetrated.
Larry DeVilbiss | Executive Director
Global Recordings Network USA
If you are interested in learning how to share links on social media that will promote use of our recordings and the Gospel in general, please contact RolandHeck@GlobalRecordings.Net