The story beneath the story is that the purposeful, history directing God is fulfilling his purpose, today, tomorrow and till history is no more. The purpose of God is to glorify himself by refining a people of his own, who are godly, and who love and serve his Son.
No matter the story, there is usually a story beneath the story. Every news item is seldom as straightforward as it seems, whether it be domestic violence, fraudulent practice or family break up. There is always a story beneath the story.
The study of history is fascinating especially in the hands of an esteemed teacher; the story beneath the story is eye opening. Hegel is quoted as saying: “History teaches us that man learns nothing from history”; even more curt is Henry Ford’s, “History is bunk.”
But 40% of the Bible is made up of historical narrative, and since the Bible is God’s self-revelation, history is a brilliant place for us to learn about the character of God, his purpose and dealings with humankind.
Let’s look at a few events of history and then look for the story beneath the story. About the year 1320 BC an alliance of Canaanite Kings built up around Eglon, King of Moab. This alliance became so strong that the alliance defeated the tribes of Israel which had invaded Canaan from the Sinai wilderness, and Eglon extracted tribute from them. This domination continued for 18 years until Eglon was assassinated and his army of 10000 men routed. Following this victory, Israel had peace in the land for 80 years, until about 1222 BC.
Those are the bare historical facts, but there is usually a story beneath the story and the author of the book of Judges tells us that story. He tells us that Yahweh, the God of Israel gave strength to Eglon, because Yahweh’s people Israel had done evil in his sight. After being oppressed for 18 years, Israel cried out to the Lord and he raised up a deliverer, a low profile man of the tribe of Benjamin who happened to be left-handed. In those days this was seen as a real disability and it is ironic that a man from the tribe of Benjamin (which means son of my right hand) should have this disability.
Yet it was this left handedness which obtained Ehud a private audience with Eglon. He assassinated the king in Eglon’s favourite room, upstairs on the roof of his summer palace, and then made good his escape. Ehud then called Israel to war, a war which he knows is won even before a weapon is raised, because as Ehud put it: ‘the Lord has given your enemies into your hand’.