Saturday, April 9, 2016

Major Biblical Themes part 1 - Humans Are Weak

We Think We Are All That! In Fact We Can't Handle The Simplest Tasks

I am five pounds away from my goal weight. I know from past experience, including the last few weeks when I've shed 15 pounds, that I can lose this last five pounds in about three weeks if I just stay the course.

Today I did fine at breakfast, lunch and dinner, but I decided to consume an extra 180 calories on a bag of popcorn in the afternoon. That may not seem so bad except I never snack between meals, and I wasn't hungry. It just sounded good. Can we agree on that being the very definition of "Weak!"

God made us, and clearly he knows that we are weak. So much so that he repeatedly showcases our weakness throughout the Bible. Every major character in the Bible except Jesus showed huge weakness in the face of difficulties or just plain willfulness; David, Moses, Paul to name just the biggest and most obvious cases.

God comes at our weakness from another angle. He provided us with lists and lists of incentives and disincentives to help us overcome our weakness and our proclivity to sin due to weakness. Then he gave us clear direction a few dozen times in Deuteronomy alone: Deuteronomy 12:28  Be careful to obey all these regulations I am giving you, so that it may always go well with you and your children after you, because you will be doing what is good and right in the eyes of the LORD your God.

But the Jews, even with all those promises and incentives, proofs and miracles, couldn't keep even the easy rules. I mean how hard is it to not worship false gods, stay away from certain foods, and not sleep with your father's wife? 

We can look at the Old Testament Jews and be shocked at how dumb they were to keep going way off the plan of God, getting into serious difficulties, crying out to the Lord, receiving mercy, doing well for 40 years, then repeat and repeat the story. Seems perfectly silly and senseless. 

Modern humans, with the advantages of all of our wealth, our science, our psychology, our communication methods, our mega churches and 24/7 radio and TV preachers, not to mention having the New Testament, Jesus as an example, and the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, haven't progressed one half step further along the evolutionary plain when it comes to being weak. 

Now I'm going to get to meddling. I personally sometimes have difficulty thinking of sins I've committed that need to be dealt with through repentance. I have a hard time seeing myself as Charles Spurgeon said: As thoroughly wicked. Okay, sometimes my prayer requests for others might border on gossip. Does exaggeration count as lying? What about failure to say something that needs to be said? What about not praising God for the life we have been blessed with, the phenomenal gifts in nature that are all around us, or His blessings every day.

How hard is it to follow the disciplines and rules that God has asked us to do FOR OUR OWN GOOD! The short answer - impossible, because we are weak. What is the solution? Dying to self, trusting God, heeding the Holy Spirit, and staying away from unrighteousness in every form. Somehow all of those seem harder than just following some clear rules.

This is the first in a series on Major Biblical Themes. I was struck by the fact that a quick Google search for Biblical themes provided a list of over 20. One was not included anywhere; human weakness. I also discovered that almost no one listed love as a theme. Over the next few weeks the case will be made the love is the unifying theme of the Bible and that the most critical and closely related aspect of love that is also completely overlooked is Joy.

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