17 Samuel summoned the people to the Lord at Mizpah. 18 Then he told the Israelites: “This is what the Lord God of Israel says: I brought Israel up out of Egypt, and I delivered you from the Egyptians’ power and from the power of all the kingdoms that oppressed you. 19 But today you’ve rejected your God who saved you from all your troubles and difficulties by saying, ‘No! Appoint a king over us!’ So now assemble yourselves before the Lord by your tribes and clans.” 1 Samuel 10:17-19, CEB
Starting on Day 11, we’re discussing why the way we talk about salvation matters for people in recovery.
Basically, it shows us two very common OT themes. 1. Both God and the people define who God is based on what God has done. 2. God’s faithful followers consistently struggle to trust in God’s provision and try to find workarounds so that they can feel like they have a safe and secure place in the world (this is, essentially, why they wanted a king).
As for number 2, despite how God’s people describe him (as a God of action), people have always struggled to believe that God would really provide. As weird as the Old Testament is, and as incomparable as our problems seem by way of comparison, isn’t the root of the struggle the same? Don’t we struggle to believe that God is going to provide for us and deliver us? How often do we live with total confidence that God is going to save us? How often do we, too, try to find workarounds so that life makes sense to us?
This is the essential struggle between God and humankind in the Bible. We believe in a God who acts on our behalf…but we’re really not sure if he’s going to keep doing it. In that way, it seems crazy to me to think that certain versions of Christianity stress so hard the importance of knowing, with certainty, that God is going to save us. The Bible doesn’t seem to have that kind of confidence! Isn’t it a comfort to us, people in recovery, people who struggle deeply, to know that we’re not alone when life leaves us utterly shaken in our faith? It isn’t some strange thing that indicates a faith problem…it’s the same problem faithful people have had since the beginning of time!
We’re all in this thing together…and it’s always been that way!