When an angel rebelled and went trawling for a fall guy, mankind took the bait and we’ve been hell bent ever since. Our downward trajectory is the stuff of legends. Consider Lot’s wife, who could not resist the backward glance that turned her into a pillar of salt. Regard Samson, the strong man so weak with desire for the duplicitous Delilah (or so anxious to get her off his back) he ended up pulling pillars down on his tormentors’ heads and lost his own in the process.
When we are reduced to powder by our wandering attention, or pounded to the ground by the support system to which we’re tethered, it’s clear we’ve let the fox into the hen house. We’ve taken our eyes off the prize.
God showed up on a desert road, a pillar of cloud by day, a pillar of fire by night, to lead the Israelites to the Red Sea. He placed himself directly in front of them. He lured them forward so they would not be tempted to return to Egypt. But when God called Moses into a conference on Mt. Sinai, brother Aaron was quick to supply a counterfeit. To hold the people’s wandering attention, he thought fronting God with a well placed altar before a hand-fashioned golden calf would be a good idea. God took it as an affront.
Why do we so easily pillory ourselves between the devil’s own time and the deep blue sea changes that rock our world? Surely it was more difficult to conjure up faith in gold earrings recast as a cow, forgetting that God had just parted the sea to save us, than it would have been to cool our heels and wait for the minutes of a meeting that went into overtime.
When we are called to flight, what draws us back to the flame? When we hold a God-given secret that empowers us, what drives us into the arms of a lying lover who saps our strength? When we have experienced exhilarating release from bondage, why do we stick our foot in a trap? Foolish man!
We all have ideas about God. He can’t mean to wrest us from all we know. But when God lights a match and tells you to get going, try running forward to escape burning terrain and looking backward at the same time and see what happens.
Surely God would not deny us pleasant company. Hang around with people who mean you no good and see how that works for you.
Perhaps the idea we hold to most tenaciously is this: “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman.
“A wise man fears the Lord and shuns evil, but a fool is hotheaded and reckless.” Fools tread on thin ice when they rush to judgment, where those who seek the face of God need not fear the angel disguised as light.
It is wise to keep God central, not ideas about God.
Judges 13 -16
Exodus 13:21, 22
Exodus 32: 2 – 5
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