Thursday, June 19, 2008

On Following God

Every time I read through the Bible I get stuck with a question: What’s the deal with sin? Why do we do it? Where is the payoff? I mean it’s pretty clear that when you do things God’s way life is certainly better and when we rebel from God’s ways, it costs us dearly. So why do it? Why rebel and go off on our own?
I operate with the assumption of “payoff”; every action is pursued because of an expected “payoff” or dividend. I do something because it will “benefit” me in some way. I do not stand out in the cold rain and shiver..there is no payoff. I do not place my hand in a fire…there is no payoff. I do not engage in behavior that will bring me pain or harm. That’s dumb (or deeply disturbed).
So, when God tells us to do (or not do) something, why do we rebel? The last couple of days I have been highlighting verbs, verbs that distinguish obedience and disobedience. The verbs of obedience are ones like: seek God, order our ways before God, make covenant, worship, keep festivals, return to the Lord, serve the Lord, pray, know that the Lord is God, follow the Lord, confess to the Lord, set our heart on the Lord, keep the Lord’s commandments, decrees and statutes. (There are many, many more)
The verbs of disobedience are also telling: abandon the Lord, forsake God, turn our faces and backs away from the house of the Lord, stiff-necked, rebellious, pride, strength, not listen to the Lord, mock Lord’s messengers, steal from the Lord’s house, rob God, despise his words, scoff at prophets, worship other gods, give no offerings, make no sacrifices. (And again, there are many, many more)
The payoff is, I believe, belief in a lie: that my life is better of on my own than with God. It’s belief in the lie that following God is a waste of time, foolish and useless, that God is no God, but just a cultural myth. It’s a belief that real strength and power comes from human sources (other kings and rules). It’s the belief that the tangible is more real than the spiritual.
The trouble with all this is that I am more disobedient in my life than obedient. I have all the benefits and reasons for full-fledged, whole-hearted obedience (a full-time, paid pastor) and yet I get drawn to these same Old Testament verbs of disobedience.
In the stillness of this morning, I think it comes down to my need for daily reminding of who God is, of what is real and true and a recommitment of my life to God’s ways. Beyond the personal act, I desperately need corporate worship and other believers around me to encourage, support, rekindle and guide me.


At 8:32 PM , Anonymous Rahab said...

Gracious me!!! This is beautifully written, and soooo true. Sometimes we ponder too ourselves why the disobedience towards God...is this a reflection from a troubled past or just our own personal selfish dance with God-tempting Him for His true existence? This is interesting for me-understanding of why we do the things that we do out of rebellion and hurt really. It is at these times the most we are oh, so thankful for lovely theologian friends with Pure Hearts made of Gold...in an awareness of the other person first-God's Style, with a humble approach. Needy people are good people in the end; it seems they can bring forth an "Art" of a distinct true meaning;God's purpose unfolds. I love being needy...and needing good friends like "one t" and Melvin Lawrenz--smart they are-stubborn too; but what the heck....one hand does wash the other....hummmm....this is good.


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