There’s a saying quoted and reworded that basically says if we don’t learn from the past we will repeat what happened there. Hence phrases like ‘Never Again’ appear to remind us to remember so we can avoid recurrences. I agree with the idea that we repeat the same things over and over and agree completely that we have to find ways to avoid doing so. The problem is they’re never exactly the same on the surface.
I’ve been reading the history books in the Bible – Samuel, Kings, Chronicles. If there was ever an example of not learning from history it’s in these books. I know I’ve said this before but every time it hits hard, mainly because I see my own repetitions in there. Israel, the chosen people of the One True God, recipients of miracles and deliverances repeatedly turned away from God in three ways. They began to worship other ‘gods’ alongside the Lord. They turned away from the Lord completely and worshipped other ‘gods’. They stopped trusting in any god and trusted in the strength of man.
As I pondered this I realised something: today we do exactly the same. People are atheist – denying all existence of any god preferring to put their trust in the strength of man. They are polytheist in that they assume all gods, all spiritualities are equal so you can pick and choose which bits suit you. They are idolaters choosing false religions and denying the One True God. Now before I shake my head and start praying for these people (which I must) let me look closer at this.
I might not completely turn away from God and put my trust in the strength of man but what about the times I worry, I talked about this the other week. God has told me not to worry so when I stress about anything from paying bills to finding a place to park (and yes God is interested in every thing minor or major) and then decide I need to take out a loan or simply shop somewhere else without consulting Him I am relying on my own strength. He’s right there, within me, beside me, around me. All I have to do is ask. Maybe he has a plan to bless me with an unexpected gift, maybe He is teaching me about being more careful with money. Maybe there’s a reason I am at this store, someone for me to meet or maybe there’s a reason to go to another store. He knows and I don’t unless I ask.
False idols hmmm again I don’t think I turn away and put my trust in a false religion, convert to a foreign faith but what about some of my values? God has called me to love (as I say over and over) so when I feel like I have to ‘perform’ to meet standards and impress people, or make them think I am ‘good’ what God am I worshipping? More obviously when I would rather read or watch TV than pray, spend money on luxury items that have no ultimate value and I don’t really need while people starve and die what god has first place in my life?
Blending bits of religion to suit myself (syncretism) I think the paragraph above already reveals this is true for me.
As always I have a choice I can feel guilty and defeated walking under a cloud of judgement. Or I can thank God for His merciful grace and forgiveness. I can repent and ask God to open my eyes, to keep them open and on Him in every situation. I can ask Him to change my heart. Again.
Wonderful God that He is, it’s His delight to do that.