One of the things we tend to forget in this life is that much of what we do ends in apparent failure. As far as the world is concerned, we are fools. We worry too much.
Atheism and agnosticism (or lazy atheism) have a certain comfort. The idea that we are living in an uncaring universe and it does not matter what we do can lead to despair or, as the existentialists said, energize you because you can truly seek your life, liberty and happiness without any regard to those around you, without regard to the Good. the Truth, and the Beautiful.
Unfortunately, this is a false counsel. For if that is true, then the Bible is false, and the actions and words that were preached, at the cost of the lives of those who said them, were for naught. Our faith relies on an interventionist God. Who keeps his own accounts, who sees Moses as the greatest prophet, and considers the resurrection of Jesus his greatest triumph.
But first, Moses had to be rejected, and Jesus had to die.
30“Now when forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in the flame of a burning bush. 31When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight; and as he approached to look, there came the voice of the Lord: 32‘I am the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.’ Moses began to tremble and did not dare to look. 33Then the Lord said to him, ‘Take off the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34I have surely seen the mistreatment of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to rescue them. Come now, I will send you to Egypt.’
35“It was this Moses whom they rejected when they said, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’ and whom God now sent as both ruler and liberator through the angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36He led them out, having performed wonders and signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea, and in the wilderness for forty years. 37This is the Moses who said to the Israelites, ‘God will raise up a prophet for you from your own people as he raised me up.’ 38He is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai, and with our ancestors; and he received living oracles to give to us. 39Our ancestors were unwilling to obey him; instead, they pushed him aside, and in their hearts they turned back to Egypt, 40saying to Aaron, ‘Make gods for us who will lead the way for us; as for this Moses who led us out from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has happened to him.’ 41At that time they made a calf, offered a sacrifice to the idol, and reveled in the works of their hands. 42But God turned away from them and handed them over to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the prophets:
‘Did you offer to me slain victims and sacrifices
forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel?
43 No; you took along the tent of Moloch,
and the star of your god Rephan,
the images that you made to worship;
so I will remove you beyond Babylon.’”
39He came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples followed him. 40When he reached the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not come into the time of trial.” 41Then he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed, 42“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.” (43Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and gave him strength. 44In his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground.) 45When he got up from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping because of grief, 46and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not come into the time of trial.”
47While he was still speaking, suddenly a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him; 48but Jesus said to him, “Judas, is it with a kiss that you are betraying the Son of Man?” 49When those who were around him saw what was coming, they asked, “Lord, should we strike with the sword?” 50Then one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. 51But Jesus said, “No more of this!” And he touched his ear and healed him.
Yesterday, one of the audits that I am involved in — as part of my work — made the press. This morning I get a phone call from the boy’s mother saying (with a certain spin on it) that I’m famous. I’m not. I’m an obscure academic raising children on a rock somewhere in the South Pacific. Well away from the places of power, even in New Zealand.
But I do my duty, and hope that it will please the Almighty. I distrust the assessments of this world. for they are fickle, arbitrary, and fleeting. Seeking this world’s praise leaves you in a state of fear, of being controlled, because one action, one word, and it can all turn to dust.
I’d rather deal with God. His goodness is Terrible, but his mercy is greater.