I kicked off the Book of Judges study series discussing the dual themes of lack of centralized control and lack of internal constraints. While the former was much of the impetus behind actually putting some of my own studies down on paper, there also is a Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread theme contained within the second part of that theme.
In fact, one could argue that the second is a major theme of the entire Bible. I caution you to not consider it the theme of the entire Bible, as that is obviously God-centered. The major theme is the plan of God, including what He has done, what He is doing and what He will do. However, it is this secondary theme that runs throughout the Bible. It could be called lots of things. On a positive note, it could be called: personal accountability, personal responsibility or submitting to God. On a negative note, it could be called: human nature, carnality, sin and wickedness. It boils down to the choices that people and groups of people make, for good or for bad.
I had a conversation with a friend some weeks ago, and it struck me the parallels I’ve seen elsewhere recently. This friend had a conversation with a woman, whom I’ll call “Shirley”. Shirley believes that men controlled religion most of the time down through the ages. So, verses in the Bible about the role of women were put in there by men in order to control them. Not surprisingly, she also has some liberal views on sexuality. So, my friend wanted to know how the Scriptures could be used to prove to Shirley that certain sexual acts were wrong.
Well, in two words: You cannot. What Shirley has engaged in is what millions of people all over the world are doing and have done down throughout time. Once you question the authenticity of the source, it becomes open season to pick and choose what you want and label the rest as “corrupt”. That’s essentially what Mohammed did when he founded Islam. His argument was that the Jewish and Christian writings were “corrupted”, and therefore, Allah had sent another prophet to set the record straight. Contemporary atheists use the same argument as evidence that the Bible is completely uninspired. Essentially, when you get to pick and choose what you like, then it all becomes rather meaningless in the end.
As I’ve said, it’s been done down through the ages. It’s nothing new. It actually goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden. “Ye shall not surely die,” said the serpent to the woman. The authenticity of God’s spoken word was questioned. The reliability of His command was brought under scrutiny.
So, what did Eve do? “And when the woman saw that the tree was good…” In other words, she began to think in terms of doing what was right in her own eyes.
Is it any wonder that some of the largest denominations want to throw away about 2/3rds of the Bible? Why? Because that part of the Bible doesn’t fit what is right in their own eyes.
It is an interesting effect that nature abhors a vacuum. It plays out on so many levels. Once you push out God’s way of life, something has to come in to take its place. Out with unleavened bread, Sabbath and holy days, and in with Christmas trees, pagan holidays dressed up in “Christianity” and hot cross buns. Something fills the gap, and it is not of God.
I think we in the Church of God can understand this, or at least I hope so, but have we really given it the thought it deserves? How much of this affects us personally? God works with people on two levels: corporately and individually. When the nations of Israel and Judah fell into idolatry, God punished them. When they repented, He relieved them of their oppression. We see this in the Book of Judges and on into the reign of the kings.
God also works with individuals, though. If we are pushing out one of God’s commands, will not something come in to take its place in our own lives? Will we then not be guilty of doing what is right in our own eyes?
To put it another way, God may have punished Israel and Judah, but they were made up of individuals who had on their own level consistently made the wrong choices. They had reasoned that God isn’t paying attention to their own sins. Perhaps, they even said to themselves that men wrote those words down and God doesn’t mean that.
Those examples were put into the Bible to teach us lessons we can learn from, rather than having to learn them ourselves firsthand. We need to look at our lives, examine ourselves and realize we are kidding no one.
Passover will soon be upon us. It is about Christ, Who came to be the Lamb, to submit to the Father’s plan, to die for the forgiveness of our sins and was resurrected to give us life eternal. The Days of Unleavened Bread follow on the heels of that. It outlines our responsibility: Put sin out of our lives and take the righteousness of Jesus Christ into ourselves. It is a free gift, but that gift will be lost if we don’t grab onto it. That involves doing things God’s way instead of doing what is right in our own eyes.