Wisdom-Trek / Creating a Legacy
Welcome to Day 1136 of our Wisdom-Trek, and thank you for joining me.
I am Guthrie Chamberlain, Your Guide to Wisdom
Downward Spiral and Final Betrayal – Worldview Wednesday
Wisdom – the final frontier to true knowledge. Welcome to Wisdom-Trek where our mission is to create a legacy of wisdom, to seek out discernment and insights, and to boldly grow where few have chosen to grow before.
Hello, my friend, I am Guthrie Chamberlain, your captain on our journey to increase wisdom and create a living legacy. Thank you for joining us today as we explore wisdom on our 2nd millennium of podcasts. This is Day 1136 of our trek, and it is Worldview Wednesday. Creating a Biblical worldview is important to have a proper perspective on today’s current events.
To establish a Biblical worldview, you must also have a proper understanding of God and His word. On our Worldview Wednesday episodes we are in a series in which we are covering another detailed review of a book from one of today’s most prominent Hebrew scholars Dr. Micheal S. Heiser. We are taking a deep dive and will share Dr. Heiser’s insights into the question, which is also the title of his book “What Does God Want?”
Downward Spiral and Final Betrayal
· Downward Spiral
In last week’s recap, we see that God rescued his family by allowing them to escape the bondage of Egypt. After that, they wander in the wilderness for 40 years because of their betrayal of God. You’d think that after God brought Israel into the land, the Israelites would have felt an overwhelming love for God—that their believing loyalty would be at an all-time high. Not so much. Instead, they decided coexistence with evil could work. They refused to drive idolaters (people who worshipped other gods with idols) out of the land. It’s like the Israelites knew nothing of the past, how rebellion brings disaster. Their disloyalty and lack of love for God led to this demoralizing scene.
Judges 2:1-3 tells us, “The angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said to the Israelites, ‘I brought you out of Egypt into this land that I swore to give your ancestors, and I said I would never break my covenant with you. For your part, you were not to make any covenants with the people living in this land; instead, you were to destroy their altars. But you disobeyed my command. Why did you do this? So now I declare that I will no longer drive out the people living in your land. They will be thorns in your sides, and their gods will be a constant temptation to you.’”
God had to judge his people…again. He basically said, “I’m out of here. Let’s see how you do on your own since you don’t want me.” We’ve seen that before. And, as we’ve also seen before, God’s people did very badly without their God being present with them. And since we’re rehashing history, God’s response also looks familiar—he kept coming back to Israel to lift them out of trouble. We all know people like that. Maybe you’re one of them. You stick to helping someone because of love, even to the point that it seems irrational. And if you think about what God was doing, it does seem insane. But God wants a human family even when he’s unwanted. His love defies logic.
The whole biblical book of Judges, from which the scene above was cited, is about a seemingly never-ending cycle of spiritual rebellion, the suffering it brings, crying out to God for help, and God coming back in love. That cycle persisted for a few centuries. It reached a climax of sorts when the people within the nation of Israel demanded that Samuel, a priest, and prophet, anoint a king to rule them.
Not surprisingly, the people’s choice for a king (Saul) was an unmitigated disaster. You know things aren’t going to go well (or ought to know) when your choice for a king has to be dragged out of hiding to take the job (l Samuel [10:22]). Eventually, God chose David to replace Saul. David was a moral mess, but he was better than Saul. He never showed disloyalty or lack of love for God. He broke a number of God’s moral laws, but he repented and never worshipped another god. For that reason, God made a covenant promise with David that said only his sons could be legitimate rulers of Israel.
This covenant was about creating a dynasty for David. God would only consider one of his descendants the legitimate king. Sadly, the rest of Israel’s history in the Bible’s story included a lot of men who had the right lineage that were otherwise unfit to be king. God had to remove a lot of David’s descendants because they were disloyal to him, choosing to follow other gods. A descendant of David inheriting the throne was supposed to love God as well as have the right family history. This is why every king was supposed to keep a copy of God’s laws with him (Deuteronomy [17:18]; 2 Kings [11:12]). He was to be the most excellent example of a loyal believer.
David’s son, Solomon, was the greatest king in Israel’s history (if land holdings and wealth are the litmus tests). Sadly, his believing loyalty in the true God wavered. He sacrificed to other gods and had a series of political marriages that brought the worship of other gods into Israel (l Kings 11:1- 8). In other words, Solomon began a cycle of spiritual compromise and rebellion that led to national ruin.
· The Final Betrayal
After Solomon’s death, ten of the twelve tribes revolted against his successor (l Kings [11:41]–[12:24]). The kingdom of Israel was divided into two parts by tribes and geography. God’s family was now a broken home, so to speak. It’s pretty sad that many kings during the period that ensued had never even seen a copy of God’s laws (2 Kings 22:8-13).
The northern part of the divided nation (the ten tribes that rebelled politically) immediately plunged themselves into spiritual rebellion (1 Kings [12:25]-33). Instead of showing believing loyalty to the God who had given them the land and supernaturally brought them into existence, most of Israel betrayed God. This is why the prophets who roamed about the countryside preaching during this time compared the spiritual rebellion to “playing the whore” and spiritual adultery. It was a vivid analogy. The southern part of the country (two tribes) went into spiritual rebellion more slowly. But gradual sin is still sin.
Abandoning God never goes well. As the Bible says in one place, “and you may be sure that your sin will find you out” (Numbers [32:23]). As he had done at other times, God let his people exercise their free will and pay the consequences. In 722 B.C. the northern part of the nation was eventually overrun by a people I like to call the Klingons of the Old Testament—the Assyrians. If the Lord of the Rings is more familiar to you than Star Trek, think of the Assyrians as the hordes of Mordor.
I like the analogies because the Assyrians had a well-deserved reputation for cruelty. They scattered the ten tribes all over the ancient world, breaking up families and robbing them of everything they owned. The two remaining tribes in the southern part of the nation were conquered by the Babylonians a little more than a hundred years later (586 B.C.). Thousands of Israelites were forcibly exiled to Babylon.
Let’s be honest. If God had abandoned and forgotten about his people at this point, we’d understand. They had rebelled time and time again for well over a thousand years since the time of Abraham. It’s hard to avoid the conclusion they got what they deserved. But that isn’t how God works.
Rather than just calling it quits, God decided that he still wanted a human family. But getting his people—and the rest of humanity—back into his family required a change of tactics. God had made a series of covenants with his people. But people are, obviously, mere humans. They fail…a lot and with predictable regularity. The rest of humanity had been assigned to supernatural beings (the“sons of God” Deuteronomy 32:8) that had by now become enemies of their creator, the God of Israel. Things were complicated.
God had a two-part solution to all this. When the last children in God’s family were on the verge of exile, God prompted two prophets (Jeremiah and Ezekiel) to tell people that they were not completely forgotten. God would make a “new covenant” with his children, one marked by the coming of his Spirit (Jeremiah [31:31]-34; Ezekiel [36:22]-28). There was a new day coming.
But the “new day coming” didn’t address the question of how God could honor the older covenants without scrapping or changing them. A lot of Israelites rejected God and worshipped other gods. They showed their contempt for him by breaking his laws. This grieved God. He wanted to honor his promises, but so many of his children were seduced into worshipping the gods of other nations.
That was the path of death. Remember, because of what had happened in Eden, every human being was destined to die and not have eternal life unless they turned to the true God and believed in his love and promises. Far too many Israelites forgot all that. They couldn’t just pick and choose gods whenever they felt like it from a spiritual buffet. They had to believe in the true God and keep believing.
The situation was especially problematic when it came to Israel’s kings. God had promised David that his heirs would inherit his throne, but many of them turned away from him. God couldn’t ignore this lack of believing loyalty. He also couldn’t just scrap his promise. That would be like admitting the whole thing was a bad idea—and a God who knows everything can’t have a bad idea.
So how could God honor his promises to a people who had rejected him and who were estranged from him? They needed new hearts. They needed his presence to guide them. What was needed was a descendant of Abraham, and of David who could be the ultimate king and perfect imager of God. That descendant also needed to overturn the curse of death on the human race. But how could a mere human conquer death? He’d have to be God as well. How was all that supposed to work?
That will conclude our lesson for this week from Dr. Heiser’s book “What Does God Want?” Next Worldview Wednesday, we will learn for God’s solution to the betrayal of His human family when God joined that family as a human. I believe you will find each Worldview Wednesday an interesting topic to consider as we build our Biblical worldview.
Tomorrow we will continue with our 3-minute humor nugget that will provide you with a bit of cheer and help you to lighten up and live a rich and satisfying life. So encourage your friends and family to join us and then come along with us tomorrow for another day of our Wisdom-Trek, Creating a Legacy.
If you would like to listen to any of our past 1135 treks or read the Wisdom Journal, they are available at Wisdom-Trek.com. I encourage you to subscribe to Wisdom-Trek on your favorite podcast player so that each day’s trek will be downloaded automatically.
Thank you so much for allowing me to be your guide, mentor, and most of all, your friend as I serve you through the Wisdom-Trek podcast and journal.
As we take this trek together, let us always:
- Live Abundantly (Fully)
- Love Unconditionally
- Listen Intentionally
- Learn Continuously
- Lend to others Generously
- Lead with Integrity
- Leave a Living Legacy Each Day
I am Guthrie Chamberlain reminding you to Keep Moving Forward, Enjoy Your Journey, and Create a Great Day Everyday! See you tomorrow!