A Life in Balance #5 (A History)

Last week we looked at what an unbalanced life looks like for us today.  It has less to do with how we organize our lives and more to do with what or who is god in our lives.

We are not the first and we certainly will not be the last who struggle to keep God as God in our lives instead of the things we have or the things we do. 

The 1st commandment “You shall have no other gods before me” has been one humans have struggled with since Adam and Eve. 

The Israelites were stellar at creating gods.

This week we are going to look at some of these places where people have struggled with the 1st commandment, broken the 1st commandment and God’s response to their inability to keep the 1st commandment.  (Hint:  God is For us and accomplished everything FOR US)

While we are going through this biblical history remember that these are the reasons Jesus showed up FOR US.  Good or perfect people don’t need Jesus but we do and they did. 

Also, we don’t look to the stellarly bad decisions people made in the past in a misery loves company way.  Nor do we look at this sordid history to justify what we do.  It may play out like a Dr. Phil or Ricky Lake episode but we don’t want to fall into the trap of saying well…at least I’m not that bad.

“Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.  Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.  No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.  God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.  Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.”  1 Corinthians 10:11-14

All of these ways that people put their lives out of balance.  All of these ways that they put something other than god in the place of God.  All of these ways that these people committed the sin of idolatry is the same as you and me.  All of these idols are ‘common to man’.  The verse reminds us that there is no way we will be able to escape these temptations.  God provided our escape through Jesus.  Jesus is the reason we can endure the life filled with idols.

We can look to the failures of these people and see where Jesus showed up for them.  We can be empowered knowing that he showed up for their failure and he does us for us too.

The first people to break the 1st commandment were the very first people on the planet.  They did not reach out and eat the fruit because they wanted another option for food.  They reached out and ate the fruit because they wanted to be their own god.  They believed the lies the serpent told them about eating the fruit and the ability to be like God.

When do we believe the same lie?  When do we take the fruit or reach or strive for the fruit because we believe if we could just have that one thing everything would be okay?  When do we put our own ability to accomplish something over and above what Christ has already accomplished?  When do we want to do something to prove we are really someone instead of pointing those around us to Christ and all he has done for us?  Whatever your answer was to those questions those are the times we are just as guilty as Adam and Eve. Those are the times when we can see ourselves in the bad decisions of Adam and Eve.

Adam and Eve instantly realized their idea was not a good one and were filled with shame but God did not leave them high and dry.  Instead God pursued them while they hid form him.  He made the first sacrifice and covered their naked bodies and their shame with the animal skin.  In the same moment he promised to make the ultimate sacrifice of his own life.

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

All throughout biblical history God is fighting to be the God of his people instead of the things he has created for us.  And all throughout history God declares to his people that he will be their God. 

When we are filled with shame he calls to us.  He calls to us just as he called to Adam and Eve.  He clothes us with His righteousness just as he did with Adam and Eve.

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