Tuesday, 23 June 2009
Promised Land, or Scorched Earth?
“When the Lord your God has brought you into the land you are entering to possess, you are to proclaim on Mount Gerizim the blessings, and on Mount Ebal the curses.” (Deuteronomy 11.29)
Secularism is a bankrupt ideology. Our secular century has been brutal and bloody, and our secular British society is increasingly intolerant of all who don’t sign up to its creed. A culture which turns its back on God will soon wither and die, as ours is. That’s what we’re discovering in our country. But the sad truth is that we should not be surprised. Afterall, we were warned about the choice we face 3,500 years ago, in Deuteronomy.
In Deuteronomy Moses stands on the banks of the Jordan with the Israelites. They were looking at God’s new land and His new life for them. God was serious with them, as love always is, and called them to be serious with Him. Moses then promises them two massive visual illustrations of God’s covenant promises. The two mountains he names here are in contrasting territory, Gerizim was in rich, well-watered land, Ebal was in harsh, barren surroundings. Moses is telling them that they need to go to these mountains once they are in the land, and there to use their eyes and ears if they are going to live in God’s blessing. As they heard God’s promises of blessings they were to look at the Eden-like land of Gerizim, and count their blessings. As they came to Ebal they were forced to listen to God’s warnings against covenant disobedience look upon the barrenness of unbelieving rejection of God. Unbelief leads to a very real scorched earth.
Jesus spoke a lot about Heaven and Hell. He stood implacably against both greedy have-it-all now materialism and against hand-wringing and apologising religious waffle, which misleads souls. He called people – and calls them now - to take God’s love and His justice seriously. He calls us to taste and see God’s goodness as we turn from our selfishness and to embrace God’s saving grace through faith alone. That life lived in Christ is a world of blessings, here and, aboveall, in the promised world to come.