Tuesday, May 5, 2015

What gods don’t do

What was it like to live 4000 years ago? Of course no modern amenities, no large cities, and no busy lifestyles to consume our thoughts. There was no argument about whether the spiritual world existed – who in their right mind would be an atheist? There was awe and respect for a Creator who sustained all life, all of nature with it’s storms and famines, fertile lands and deserts, tides, seasons and guiding stars. Everyone understood that they were totally and completely dependent on unseen forces. Religions sprang up that worshipped the forces of nature, and the natural response was to sacrifice to them. Interesting how no organized religious tradition had to teach people that sacrifice was crucial. It was just self-evident.

Most religions concluded that their gods were demanding and vengeful. Archeologists discovered that human sacrifice was practiced from Africa through Mesopotamia, through Europe and Asia, the Pacific Islands and among Native Americans. It was everywhere. Newborn babies and virgin girls were burned alive, and many horrific acts were done as offerings to these gods. For the Greeks, gods were fickle, jealous, spiteful, and entertained themselves by toying with helpless human mortals. You can imagine the confusion, oppression and fear this created in all of these cultures. How much perversion was done to appease these gods?

But the true God was always there, yet only a few wanted to know Him. He took His stubborn and unfaithful people to Mt. Sinai to make a covenant of love and protection. He'd keep His promises and never change His mind. All His people had to do was obey and be faithful. But that covenant on Mt. Sinai was only useful for a time, because evil had already corrupted humanity. Simply obeying laws is too hard for our weak minds. God had to do something radical. There had to be a human sacrifice - a heavenly sacrifice, to break the back of the evil that had contaminated His creation.

Jesus’ death was unthinkable – how could God let Himself be killed by evil worthless people just to save those same evil worthless people? And instead of a list of rules, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to live in us to know His will, and have the supernatural power to obey Him instead of having to obey in our own strength. The arrogance of religions can never give what Jesus gave. We can be seated with Him on His throne – what god would be crazy enough to offer that?  

You may have heard Bible stories since you were a child, but you may never have been humbled by God’s immense love for you. You may not grasp how ridiculously unfair it was to humble Himself so low to be a punishment for us. The gods of this world don't do that. The pride of men can't conceive of that. If sacrifice and humility is the invincible weapon that God used to destroy Satan, who are we to refuse humbling ourselves in response?

There is no one holy like the Lord. There is no one besides You!  And there is no rock like our God. Do not boast so proudly, or let arrogant words come out of your mouth for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and actions are weighed by Him. (1 Samuel 2:2-3 HCSB)

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