“1 Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the LORD promised on oath to your forefathers. 2 Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.”
God made an oath, then he humbled and tested, then he humbled and taught. Christ made an oath, then he humbled and tested, then he humbled and taught. Weird how that works.
Christ made an oath that he is the living water, that no one shall get to heaven except through him. He taught the world a radically different value of love all, service, giving, equity and justice (all voluntary, not imposed) and humbled the world for its shameful ways. He tested the religious leaders of the day and humbled them when they had to resort to lying to end his ministry.
That was all part of the plan, and so is this: Christ’s oath, teaching and testing are still alive and active today. What we could do if we had an urgency to live like we believed the oath was true. What we could do if we all served in love, equity and justice for part of our day and with part of our resources? What we could do if we were to get more people, and more religious leaders to pass the test?
As Christians, we are held to a higher standard because we have been taught a higher standard, we proclaim a higher standard, we have a God who is a higher standard. Are we living it? Are we living it with every fiber of our heart, mind and soul?
I had a breakfast meeting yesterday morning and at the end the other person took a swipe at Christians because the husband, a teacher at a higher level Christian school, had a double life that included prostitutes and men. My heart went out to the family, who I don’t know, but I do know through the pain of sin. My heart went out to my friend who was turned off to Christ by the very behavior that’s defined as wrong by Christ (but is OK by the world standards), who sets the higher expectations for sin, but thinks God and Christ deserve condemnation because one of Their purported followers is a sinner, that all Christians are hypocrites. Duh, of course we are, and the goal is to strive every minute to move away from that towards the life Christ calls us to live. It saddens me still when we fall victim to the world.
So, if this ain’t the desert, and it’s not manna, where are we? We really are in the land of milk and honey, but we’re squandering it. From a production infrastructure, communication, riches standpoint, we really are, all over the world. The resources are there, we’re just not doing enough to end the injustice, the hunger, the abuse.
It’s time (really past time) to change that. It’s time to rise up and live the life Christ calls us to live boldly, fearlessly, unashamedly, and actionably. He has given us His oath. He has taught us. We have to live the test.