“God struck down some of the men of Beth Shemesh, putting seventy of them to death because they had looked into the ark of the Lord. The people mourned because of the heavy blow the Lord had dealt them.”
—1 Samuel 6:19 (NIV).
A person clearly in the wrong strives for some sense of satisfaction from a bureaucracy, and through bitter, prolonged complaint they eventually get their way. Officialdom bows in the spirit of public relations with the threat of negative media coverage looming. Then, when all is supposed to be settled, the aggrieved party changes their mind and wants the decision overturned so they can fight it to make a little money out of the deal.
This sort of thing happens every day. It might be an extreme example, but it illustrates something we all get involved in, to greater or lesser extent. We all expect a special ‘me-only’ measure of justice (even if only rarely).
With us, God can’t win most of the time. Our satisfaction wavers to the wandering of our mood—such fickle creatures we can be.
The main reason we need God is our addictive default propensity to enter zones of living we’re told not to touch, be it a breaking of the road rules when we’re in a hurry, or a sneaky perve when we’re on the train. The 1 Samuel example above illustrates the point perfectly. We’re told not to risk yet we continue to do it—we can hardly help ourselves. (Praise God for Jesus’ obedience and the concept of New Covenant grace!)
Life, seen solely from this viewpoint, would be a blatantly depressing reality but for our belief in a delivering God who forgives us in an instant for our simple recognition of the truth. The only rider to this is the world’s default to ignore totally the forlorn human nature in favour of an attachment to things, people and situations in the world i.e. devoid of God.
We must saliently aim to be satisfied in simply being honourable about this reality; to be honourable men or women—not “good”—must be our aim. “Honourable” has about it a more tangible and accountable meaning than “good” does. Who really is good? If God is good, how do we possibly compare?
To be satisfied in life—more or less—with our own efforts as far as our own dignity and honour is concerned, in light of our relationships with God, others and self, seems to be the halcyon of existence. It’s about a genuine care (and a duty to that end) that has a tangible, real quality about it.
Yet, we wrangle with God pointlessly at times. He’s at pains when we do this as we bring his judgment—his irrevocable judgment ordained in universal law—down upon ourselves.
And when we boil it all down—all of the above—we perhaps have reason enough to strive for, attain and maintain a high-order philosophical view to life and how it deals with us.
We must endeavour to see what is plainly visible. The high-order world of living as honourably as possible is a huge part of that dimension. And for the obedience of living as God always ordained us to, we’re blessed in a very many ways. And we do so in faith.
© S. J. Wickham, 2009.