Friday, February 11, 2011

Why would prosperity lead us to seek other gods?

Last night in my Institute class, we read the following passage from Deuteronomy Chapter 8, that talks about the danger that once God has blessed us many good things and met our temporal needs of then forgetting about God and thinking that we got all those good things by our own power and might: 
10 When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the Lord thy God for the good land which he hath given thee.
 11 Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day:
 12 Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein;
 13 And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied;
 14 Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the Lord thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage;
 15 Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint;
 16 Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end;
 17 And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth.
 18 But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.
 19 And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the Lord thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish.
 20 As the nations which the Lord destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the Lord your God.
Certainly this is a common pattern that we see in the scriptures. But what really stuck out to me was in verse 19, where it says that having forgotten God and feeling like we did it all on our own, that the people would "walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them".  And I started wondering, why when God has given us so much and our needs are met, why would we then worship other gods?  You'd think that if God has given us everything we need, if we aren't going to worship him, wouldn't we just not feel like we need gods at all?  But clearly, as I've been reading the Old Testament over the last couple years (I'm still only about halfway through), the children of Israel love to have them some other gods before Him.  Pretty much every other generation there are idols ("groves") and Baal worshipping and offering sacrifices in places that God didn't authorize ("high places").  So it's not like their prosperity led them to atheism. It actually led them to seek out more gods to worship.  

So I was thinking, maybe it's because even when God gives us everything we need, out of His great wisdom, He doesn't give us everything we want, at least not on the timetable that we think is best, or at the level of effort that we are willing to put forth to receive it. And sometimes rather than accept that He knows better than we do what is best for us, we turn to other sources that we think can give us everything we want and right now, and with less effort than is required for real spiritual growth.  And of course, these spiritual get-rich-quick schemes, these junk food joys, can bring us momentary pleasures, but in the end they are like cotton candy, leaving us empty or worse, if we eat too much, with a spiritual stomach ache.

Anyway, that's what I was thinking about last night in my class. Thoughts?


Julie said...

My thoughts are that I miss going to that class. What a good topic. Life is about self control. And when we over-stimulate ourselves with everything that there is to offer in the world, we don't learn how to wait and seek to find the Lord in our life.

Sakievich said...

People always seek out something to worship whether it's an idol of gold or basketball, or a political leader. All things being equal they'd much rather prefer a god who did not place restrictions on their carnal pursuits. A god who involves himself in your daily decisions and cares about the direction of your life is a very inconvenient one. Especially when you have options for ones that justify your comfortable existence.

jennvan said...

I believe its our natural man that has us want to get "more" out of anything. If God will give me this, maybe another god will give me more. The other reason I think people seek other gods is because we know that God has commandments for us to follow in order to receive the blessings of such. Most other gods do not do that, you just ask and they give. Which really has us want to have them because we don't have to "do" anything or we can live our life however we want and still get "blessings."