So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness, where your ancestors tested and tried me, though for forty years they saw what I did. Hebrews 3, verses 7-9.
Jesus is over you and me and everything we know. Simple, right? Why do we resist that truth?
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” Those are some of the most eloquent, meaningful words ever written. They’re from the Declaration of Independence, and while they specifically talked about the most cherished beliefs of Americans, in reality they speak for all humanity. All your rights are yours because God gave them to you. Government doesn’t give you rights. Presidents and Congresses don’t give you rights. Most of the media doesn’t know what it’s talking about. Your rights are yours because God created you and gave them to you and no government can take them away from you as long as you live in peace with your fellow man. Yet the trend in the last 100 years has been to cede rights to authority, to have the government control more and more, giving we people less and less room to exercise our true rights from God.
Through it all, Jesus is over you and me and the government and our rights and He personally guarantees us that He is the ultimate freedom in the world. So why do we turn away from this so often?
Last night, I was watching a Seth Rogen movie; “This is the End.” I was channel hopping between the Dallas Cowboys game, Food Network, Game 5 of the World Series, and this Seth Rogen flick. The movie was a drug-induced parody of the end times, where Seth Rogen and his Hollywood pot crowd survive the Rapture and await their ultimate end. It was mostly tasteless and, to be honest, not very funny (like most of Seth Rogen’s movies), but it was actually interesting from the point of view of writing this blog entry. It was all about the consequences of rebelling against God. These self-indulgent movie stars poke fun at their self-indulgent ways and then try to “earn” their way into eternal salvation (which happens to include the Backstreet Boys in one final eternal boy-band boogie). The characters in the movie hold up in a house while post-apocalyptic Los Angeles is gradually transformed into hell on earth. In the end, they are either consigned to hell or jet-ported into the light of heaven (where they smoke marijuana forever dancing to Nick Lachey).
What’s the point?
We turn away from God in so many ways. Like the people of Moses’ day did. Like the folks watching the Cowboys win at AT&T Stadium did. Like the men who wrote the Declaration of Independence did. Like the first readers of Hebrews did (even before it was called “the book of Hebrews”). You and I, we jealously guard our rights to things we cherish as Americans or simply as people, yet in doing so we sometimes rebel against God.
For forty years, the Israelites wandered in the Arabian desert of Sinai, rebelling against God. He gave them His laws and they immediately started to lawyer Him. They tested Him. They flaunted His laws. They thought themselves better judges of their hearts than Him. And so they paid the penalty for doing this in that those who mocked God died there in the deserts and are lost to time and history. Their children and grandchildren became the ones who inherited Canaan.
And still we turn away. We have examples from the past and still we refuse to learn from them.
I don’t know how many people were murdered in Chicago this weekend but, if trends continued, World Series or not, there were probably a dozen or more. Murder is outside of God’s design. And I don’t know how many children starved to death in Africa yesterday; I’m sure it was hundreds, maybe thousands, and starvation is outside of God’s design. I would bet that, just since last Sunday, worldwide there were a million or more thefts or stealing incidents. And at the end of every sin, Jesus is still there, over all of us and imploring us to not harden our hearts yet again. To turn back to Him and let Him soften what we, in choosing our sins, have turned to stone.
For more reading: Acts 7:36, Acts 28:25, Hebrews 9:8, Numbers 14:33, Deuteronomy 1:3, Psalm 95:7-11
Lord, soften the heart for You that I’ve hardened. Please forgive me of my sins, and teach me Your better way.