Life’s lessons come at a very high price at times. Seldom does anything make us a better person by osmosis but rather experience. I have found that giving serious regard to the lessons of history can steer me away from having to experience very bad things. Parents warn us about what may be if we do wrong, and we may comply. I can say I was not that type. If my parents told me it was bad, I may have believed them but found it necessary to check it out. Shoplifting and skipping school seemed to be the right wrong things to do, so I did. I was a real rebel. The price paid was painful, very painful.
Wising up didn’t appeal to me until I was out of my teens…er, twen…thirt..into my forties when I began to sense my mortality. To keep it short, I have found lessons in scripture, of Israel’s history to be the story of me…of us all. We have choices to make as Israel did. Life or death, blessing or cursing, freedom or captivity, and the directions that take us to the choices are laid out elaborately so we know how to choose right. In short, Israel chose to reject God, and captivity resulted. So did I.
Deep into my rebellion I became so self-indulgent that led to alcoholism and drug use. I was a captive. The joy of life, my hopes, ambitions or dreams were gone. There was no song in my heart, no reason to sing. I was a slave to self-service. Those close to me eventually wondered, what’s wrong with him? I had no song to sing about this strange land I was living in.
“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept when we remembered Zion. We hung our harps upon the willows in the midst of it. For there those who carried us away captive asked of us a song, and those who plundered us requested mirth, saying, ‘sing us one of the songs of Zion!’
How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?” Ps.137: 1-4
This passage and the entire message of do right and all will be well with you, or don’t do right and the consequences of wrong will follow, rings true to us all. Addictions and self-indulging behaviors we live out now have placed us into a captivity that has removed any understanding of a joy-filled existence. What seemed like fun, or felt good at the time was deceptive and led to a compulsion to revisit a feeling that never seems to return. The fun we knew left with our refusal to say, “this is wrong, I cannot do this.” But now we are captive to our desires, the music died.
In time, God had mercy on Israel once more. He returned them to the land He promised them. That story is powerful. That story is for us to see the truth in as well. God has provided a way for you and I to return to freedom in life. No more addiction to dope, no need for another stiff drink that turns you into a stiff. This lesson is the lesson you can agree is really the truth for all once experienced, and kept. It is the freedom that comes from dying to self, to the norm of what we think is acceptable today, choosing to believe in Christ’s redemptive blood for your sin. Just ask God for that gift. He will not refuse. Then stand strong, stay free, and sing.
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free and do not be entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Gal.5:1
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.