Surviving In Political Culture Change

Times change. People come and go. Nations rise and fall. And then we do it all over again. The sons of Israel walked into a “power vacuum” in Canaan when Joshua led the people into the Promised Land. Every city was pretty much on their own. It was a perfect situation for an invading people. But then…

The people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth, the gods of Syria, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the Ammonites, and the gods of the Philistines. And they forsook the Lord and did not serve him.  So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of the Philistines and into the hand of the Ammonites, and they crushed and oppressed the people of Israel that year. For eighteen years they oppressed all the people of Israel who were beyond the Jordan in the land of the Amorites, which is in Gilead.  And the Ammonites crossed the Jordan to fight also against Judah and against Benjamin and against the house of Ephraim, so that Israel was severely distressed. (Judges 10:6 — 9 ESV)

Egypt was on marginally interested in what went on in Canaan because they had a lot of local problems to distract them.  But they would sweep through soon enough. Mesopotamia was between empires following their own invasion of mountain peoples. Soon enough, Assyria would rise up and conquer the “known world”. 
In the meantime, nations began to reform in Canaan along their normal native cultural lines. Soon Ammon was a power, Moab, Phonecia (Tyre and Sidon), and now Philistines were another new-comer to the scene. These groups formed kingdoms, while the people of Israel remained a collection of confederated tribes.

So, how does a group of loosely knit tribes survive in a world of centralized kingdoms?  You make friends!  You try to fit in, do business, “play ball”, swap stories…maybe share stories, or, as in the case of this tribal confederacy, adopt stories.  “Yeah, my story is kind of like that, only…” eventually became, “Yeah, we worship that god too, only…” which led to, “What a coincidence, we worship the same god! Who would have thought?”  All to survive in this changing political cultural landscape.

We do it too. We adapt creation as a belief to macro-evolution. We subscribe to the Big Bang Theory as a “world origin” story.  Sure the science is more metaphysics than actual physics, but it’s popular, and no one respects our beliefs any more. Dark matter and string theory makes so much more sense than a supreme Creator Deity to everyone else, so we need to subscribe too. 

Eventually, belief in God will become lost within the cultural adaptation through which we have filtered it. Or, we can honestly look at the universe from the perspective of a Creator Who has a purpose within His design. In such a model, we look for His handiwork and craftsmanship, not some way to explain Him away. We marvel and wonder at Him, rather than become enamoured with what He has made. 

We have a choice of approach. The easy and popular approach is to go along with popular science. The less fun, less respected approach is to go along with the Creator, and believe what He reveals.

I choose to walk with my Master in the cool of the day, and believe what He tells me. How about you? What’s your view through the knothole this morning?

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