When we forget what God has done, we will not look forward to what God can do. Forgetfulness is not only detrimental to the blessings from God, but also an affront to God.
I want you to pretend that you are Moses. You see the cloud on the mountain top of Sinai, a tall, jagged mountain in the wilderness of the Middle East. You make the summit while being surrounded by thunder and lightning the entire time; and without even noticing it, your time with God will last forty days. (Exodus 19:24-29)
In this meeting, God provides you with important details of how living is to be done among His chosen people, and you are to be the one to deliver it!
I wonder if you would have a mixture of zeal and fear as you make your way down? Then, the closer you get to the foot hills, you notice the sounds of worship, dancing, and what closely resembles that of Egyptian worship and partying.
Then, it becomes clear.
There they are, the people you’ve courageously led through the Red Sea on dry land; the people you’ve spurred to faith half a dozen times already up to this point. The people you reminded not to fear as you headed up that mountain surrounded by clouds, fire, thunder and lightning, now worshiping a golden cow. (Exodus 32:19-20)
Imagine being Paul the apostle, who once hated Christianity, but then was incredibly transformed by the Lord Jesus Christ revealing Himself to you. You’ve devoted your entire life to the work of spreading the good news of Christ to the lost in unreached places.
You go to a region called Galatia, a place of great affluence and success. You have a great response, and people devote themselves to the cause of Christ. But no longer than you’ve turned around have people from your former religion come and undermined all the work that God has done through you.
Now, with a broken heart and a frustrated mind, you have to write a letter to these Galatians pleading with them to remain in the same teaching that they heard from you before; of course, without sounding like your enemies have slanderously named you to be: a charlatan, a “seed-picker”, a religious maverick.
The Galatians had forgotten the original, simple, powerful, Gospel. They had let Jews come in and dominate their thinking and persuade their minds to falsehood. Now, you will have to undo everything that the Jewish hypocrites have done. They caused confusion by leveraging the innate forgetfulness of humanity.
Widespread in nature, and wholesale in number; chaos abounds when idolatry and confusion sets in. This is where intentionality, values, and mission all begin to dissipate and everyone begins to run around doing what is “right in their own eyes.” (Judged 17:6)
This is precisely why the book of Judges exists in our Bibles. It’s the space of time between where Joshua led the people of Israel to settle in Canaan and where Israel would actually desire a King instead of being satisfied with Jehovah being their King.
Israel is living in complete chaos, without a leader, direction, or even an ounce of righteousness.
They were people of God by name but sons of the devil by position.
That’s the fruit of all idolatry. That’s why Paul would tell us in Romans 15:4 “For everything that was written in the past was written for our instruction, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures, we might have hope.”