Sing about Your Failure
I literally was raised in a church before I was born. My mother and father were Christians and I attended church faithfully for the nine months I was in the womb. I have no memory of my childhood that did not include the church. My father was an elder at a small Plymouth Brethren chapel and I was baptized by him in an YMCA pool. On Saturdays I would go down with my family (which was a big one) and set up the folding chairs and wipe them down. My father taught his Sunday School class in the women’s shower room. My teacher was Mrs. Roth. I loved her. I used to day dream that I would marry her one day. The fact that she was 30+ years old and already married to another elder had little to do with my plans. She would be my wife one day.
All of this to say, I grew up singing songs. Heavenly Sunshine (which is also knows as Heavenly Sunlight by the less than holy) was my favorite, though many others were sung by me and the other kids in Sunday School. On Sunday evening during the service kids always had the first choice in what song the congregation would sing, and if I got picked it would be good ol’ Heavenly Sunshine.
Tonight I taught my final class on the Pentateuch before their exam. I showed them where the Lord commands Moses to teach the people of Israel a song until they learn it perfectly. Here is the passage:
And it came about, when Moses finished writing the words of this law in a book until they were complete, that Moses commanded the Levites who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD, saying, “Take this book of the law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may remain there as a witness against you. “For I know your rebellion and your stubbornness; behold, while I am still alive with you today, you have been rebellious against the LORD; how much more, then, after my death? “Assemble to me all the elders of your tribes and your officers, that I may speak these words in their hearing and call the heavens and the earth to witness against them. “For I know that after my death you will act corruptly and turn from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days, for you will do that which is evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking Him to anger with the work of your hands.” Then Moses spoke in the hearing of all the assembly of Israel the words of this song, until they were complete:
What follows in chapter 32 is a song that recounts the reality that Israel will fail in their covenant responsibilities before Yahweh. This song is not like the songs I sang in Sunday School. This one was painful. It spoke of a nation who would reject the love and covenant of the one, true God. It would wander and play the harlot. And in all of this it would not be a shock nor a surprise to the Lord.
Even though the nation knew this was going to happen they could not prevent it. They were like so many others, who will say today, that tomorrow they shall repent, tomorrow they shall reject their sin, tomorrow they shall follow the Lord with a whole heart. But then, when it is too late, they discover that their heart was never given to God in the first place. They are flung down into the fulness of their sin and they are trapped by their own snares.
Not pleasant words, but then, eternity is pretty serious stuff. So, what of you, my reader? Are you flirting with that which is not consistent with one who calls themselves a follower of Jesus? Do you love the world and yet call yourself a lover of Jesus?
I give thanks that we have a Savior who has gone before us. One who is the true, complete sin-bearer. The one who shall bring us faithfully to the Father without a stain or a blemish. But I also know that it is folly for us to say, “Lord, Lord, have we not . . . .” (cf. ) and never bothered to consider the call of following Jesus.
All of this to say, let us carefully consider our High Priest and let us also hold fast to the confession of our faith. May we walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which we have been called. And may we be found faithful in the end through the empowering grace of God.