July 23, 2019

Today’s chaos and human ambition . . .

I’m noticing that one of the major causes of confusion in our world is outlined in one Old Testament story early in biblical history. The flood was over and . . .

Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” (Genesis 11:1–4)

This self-centered choice displeased God so He confused their language; they could not understand one another and Jesus scattered them over the earth.

Much later, the prophet Jeremiah speaks of judgment against Babylon, a word meaning confusion. Is this place a metaphor for what happened to those early people who wanted to reach heaven by their own efforts?

Knowing how the Bible uses history to describe the universal human condition, I wondered if this “I will make a name for myself” pride still produces confusion or the inability to understand people and a lot of other things. For instance, much of what happens these days reveals a failure of the average person (and politician) to connect the dots. Many cannot seem to see cause-effect or connect actions with consequences. They are confused. The entire world seems to be in that state.

My devotional reading takes me to the first major section of Romans that describes the sinful condition of humanity. It demonstrates the universal need for redemption. No matter what class or group is described, there is spiritual and moral degeneration. Romans 1:18 to 3:20 shows how rejecting God and His revelation of Himself leads to moral downfall. Not only that, those who say no to God seem to fall into confusion. My observations are that when I turn away even slightly, this happens to me, not just those around me.

Romans 1:21–23 describes how much of humanity turned away from God and fell into idolatry. When that happened, God gave them up. I could condemn them but do I have any right to do so?

Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? (Romans 2:1–3)

This chapter also says that the Gentiles who did not have written law of the Jews, still have a conscience within that tells them what is right in God’s sight but do not follow it perfectly. Even the Jews with all their privileges have not maintained the spiritual life that God demands. The name of God is blasphemed among by others because of their failure.

The bottom line? Just as it is written . . .

“None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” (Romans 3:10–12)

I can look at the world in confusion and am likely correct in connecting that chaos to the human attitude of “I will run my own life” leaving out God or any admission of needing Him — BUT I cannot point fingers without acknowledging that apart from Christ, I am no different.

Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. (Romans 3:19–20)

Jesus, Your life shows me the high standard of God. You lived in total reliance on the Holy Spirit, obeying the Father completely, never governed by pride or self-effort, sinless. This is so beyond me that ‘sinless’ is impossible to wrap my mind around. Still, because of Your great love You died for the world, for me, taking my sin to the cross. You graciously give me Yourself that God can look at me and see You, You in all Your perfection. You deal with my sin and destroy my Babylon-confusion. Sometimes I trip into its spell, but You always pull me out and plant me back into this abundant life of Yours. Sin, with its pride and resulting chaos are conquered through faith in You, a glorious gift of grace!

Today’s thankful list . . .
Clarity because of Jesus.
Often being able to see things through God’s eyes.
Warm days, cool nights.
Lemon chicken and the ability to find and read good recipes.
A long talk with my ‘little’ brother.

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