I’m reading through the Old Testament right now.
As I read I keep running into stories of people who knew God, saw Him do extraordinary things and then turned their back on Him.
I see stories of people who had an amazing faith legacy. All over their land there were monuments to the great works God had done. Scattered throughout their calendar were holidays to remind them of the historical acts of God. There were prophets speaking God’s word and doing miracles, plenty of headlines about the curse of God for disobedience (read through the books of Judges – 2 Kings), and numerous instances of God’s gracious intervention on both a national and individual scale.
And yet the story of the Old Testament is consistently one of a people turning away from and forgetting the God who had chosen them, delivered them from slavery, given them His law, brought them into the promised land, aided them in extraordinary military conquests, and promised blessing for obedience.
As I read these stories I find myself indicted. I find my generation indicted. I find that in spite of the fact that I have SO MUCH MORE than they did (e.g. I don’t have to sacrifice goats… Jesus is the ultimate sacrifice; I don’t have to look to the prophets to know what God is saying, I have His Word to read and His Spirit living inside of me to help me understand and guide my journey, I have friends in the church to do life with, etc.) I still find it easy to get consumed/distracted and wander from the God I love.
The more I read the Scriptures, evaluate my own life, talk with peers, and pray, the more I am coming to believe that we wander, disregard, forget, and miss God in the details of our life because we do not fear Him. We are not afraid of Him. There is an absence of respect that borders on fear for God.
He has become a fluffy, nice guy.
St. Paul says that we should “consider the kindness and sternness of God” (Romans 11:22).
While I am deeply grateful for and regularly a recipient of the kindness of God, perhaps it is time to reflect on His sternness. Perhaps it is time to study, reflect on, and revive a healthy sense of fear regarding the sovereign God of whom Scripture says, “It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).