Tuesday, March 26, 2024


There are some who say that there's evidence in the Bible that our faith is a bit superstitious - that what happens to us is directly related to how well we're keeping the faith or not. As evidence of this, they usually point to Old Testament passages where God pronounces curses on His people, Israel. 

And it's true - there are verses in there that seem almost superstitious. "If you don't keep the law the way I commanded you, then your enemies will chase you, your crops will fail, you will be taken into exile, and your lives will be ruined." Certainly, that sounds like enough to make any person of faith double-check their every step, making sure they aren't walking under any ladders or crossing paths with any black cats. It certainly makes it seem like we must take careful measure with the way that we are living and the things that we are doing, lest we make one little mistake and ruin everything. 

But that's not really what those verses mean. It's not even really what they say. 

When God says those things will happen to His people, He's right. They will. But not because God will inflict those things upon Israel. Rather, those are the natural consequences of living out of fellowship with Him. 

To understand the difference here, think of a very common human example. There comes an age when young children get very curious about everything, and they require a little more careful supervision. So it is common for parents of young children to warn them, "Do not touch the hot stove or your hand will get burned." 

Now, this makes obvious sense to us - touching a hot stove will cause a burn. We understand that the parent is not planning on burning the child's hand as a punishment for touching the stove; the stove is going to burn them because it is hot. 

So why, then, do we read God's statements to this effect any differently than we hear them from earthly parents? If you live out of fellowship with God, you no longer dwell behind His hedge of protection, so no wonder your enemies will find you. No wonder they will chase you. If you break fellowship and are not on God's side, then He's not on your side and the consequences are that your life appears to be cursed. 

Not because God is going to curse you, not because He's going to burn your hand, but because the thing He's warned you about will burn you...you just didn't listen. 

See the difference? 

So the impact of changing our understanding is that we stop tiptoeing around life, afraid to trip things off. Afraid to encounter the ladders and the black cats and the broken mirrors because it feels like they have some kind of power over us. Rather, we live our lives understanding the natural consequences of breaking fellowship with God, which means that we can use the events of our life as sort of a guidepost to let us know how our faith is going. Are we living within God's hedge of protection? Or are we exposed somewhere? What is a weak area that we need to shore up? Where is our faith not as strong as it needs to be? 

Where do we need to know more/learn more/love more about God? 

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