Joshua 24:15 NIV “ But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
I could have selected another of many many verses within the Bible that point towards us making a decision. In fact, the whole Bible is filled with many individuals that faced the same situation that we all face, whether we acknowledge it or not.
Some might say “Why follow any god at all?” and in essence, that is what the Bible is all about. God’s revelation where He puts before us His logic of why we should trust in Him versus our own wisdom.
When we were really young, the vast majority of us trusted our parents. If Mom and/or Dad said something, well that was it, they/he/she said it so that was the way it was. The though never crossed our minds to doubt them. We trusted them because that was our world, they loved us, protected us, took care of us and trusting them seemed natural (think Adam and Eve prior to the Tree of Knowledge incident).
Matthew 19:13-14 NIV “Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
I’m pretty sure that Jesus was showing us that the child like faith or trust that children have, is in essence, the kind of faith or trust that we need to have in Him to actually enter into His Kingdom. It’s not a difficult concept to grasp but it can be a difficult concept to put into practice.
But….. as we got older, (and for some of us this started at a relatively early age) we began to understand that what Mom and/or Dad said wasn’t the only option on the table. We had the option to question their judgement, question their requests, question their values. In short, we begin to stand on our own two feet and we begin making decisions independent of Mom and/or Dad, that addresses our own wants and perceived needs. Key word here is “begin”.
And we know, from life experience, that as we begin to mature and branch out into making choices in a wide variety of areas, that ultimately we are the Captain at the helm of our ship. But what do young people, the immature, from a humanistic perspective, often forget to take into consideration?
If we make the decision, we own the consequences, not someone else. And usually, in a relatively short time frame, we come face to face with reality. If we value and obey our parent’s requests, then if things go wrong, which sometimes they do, because parents are also human and also subject to making errors in judgement, then they own it, not us, if we have honestly followed their lead.
Conversely, if we make our own decision, which runs contrary to the advice of our parent’s, then we own it. That is reality. We make the decision, we own the consequences.
Enter adolescence and adulthood, where we learn very quickly, there are lots of decisions to make and there are lots of consequences. Decisions that provide immediate consequences like putting your hand on a hot burner on the stove are learned quickly. Normally, most only make that mistake once, if ever. But …. not all decisions have immediate consequences, not all decisions produce immediate physical pain. Some decisions take time to unfold with their consequences and take time to be visibly seen.
Adam and Eve received a warning from their loving God about eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge (good and evil). Here is the warning that God gave them:
Genesis 2:16-17 NASB “The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”
But did they die that day? Nope, they didn’t physically die that day, but …. the very day that they chose to make their own decisions, rather than have faith in or trust God explicitly, they did die spiritually. One decision kept them under God’s ownership and responsibility and the other brought them under their own ownership and responsibility.
Did you know that one of the trees within the Garden of Eden that they had access to and could eat of freely of was called the Tree of Life? The Tree of Life stood in the center of the Garden of Eden which elsewhere is called ‘The Garden of the LORD’. It was a real tree, to be sure, but let me suggest that it was also symbolic of the fact that God was, and is, the source of eternal life and blessing. Adam and Eve were to have their life centered in Him, even as the Tree was in the center of His Garden.
Once Adam and Eve made their decision to basically be their own god, plot their own course so to speak, God removed Adam and Eve from the Garden of the Lord and they no longer had access to the Tree of Life.
God is a Spirit (John 4:24 NIV) and the consequences of their decision broke the oneness they had with their Creator in spirit. God created us in His image. We have a physical body and we have a spirit. Our spirit was meant to be with God, under His authority, for eternity.
What follows in Genesis throughout to the end of Revelation is God’s answer to returning humanity to our former state, in oneness with Him, through the work of the coming Redeemer, Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Big decision, big consequence.
I know, I know, there are many who question the validity of Genesis, Adam and Eve and the whole shooting match. Understood. Questions and responses to these legitimate inquiries can be found on my “Christian Resources” web page. But it’s noteworthy to observe that Jesus didn’t have any doubts about the Genesis record (Matthew 19:4-6; 24:37-39; Mark 10:4-9;Luke 11:49-51, 17:26-32 and John 7:21-23; 8:44).
For some of us, at some point in our mature life, we come to the realization that being the Captain of our own ship isn’t all that it’s cut out to be. We’re subject to making decisions that are not fully thought out, we’re impulsive, selfish, vengeful, and prone to greed and pursuing power. Decision making based on sound knowledge and honest and fair consideration is not usually our humanistic strong suit. We have a tendency to see the twig in someone else’s eye while overlooking the branch in our own eye, just like Jesus said. In short, we sin or do things that go against the Holy God who created us to be in union with Him.
Someone once said that the longest journey is from your head to your heart. Knowing something is one thing, experiencing it is entirely another.
Jesus Christ, the Messiah, walked on this earth, that is a fact.
Jesus Christ, the Messiah, died on a cross, that is a fact.
Jesus Christ , the Messiah, rose from the dead, that is a fact.
Revelation 3:20 NIV says “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”
I and countless millions have taken the God of the Bible at His Word and experienced His forgiveness, His love, His wisdom and His presence. My only regret is that I would have asked Him to be the Captain of my ship a lot sooner than I did.
If you’re reading this and you haven’t given God a chance to straighten our your life, and experience the wonder that He is, it’s not too late.
C.S. Lewis once said “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.”
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!