On the Plains of Moab Blog
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July 24, 2012, 10:10 AM

Aurora, Penn State & Sin


Last Sunday, we began a new sermon series in the book of Numbers.  We kicked off with the beginning of the journey in the wilderness.  As Israel leaves Sinai, we are made powerfully aware that God will go with them.  He will be there.  He will guide them.  They will be prosperous if they are obedient.  IF!  If they turn aside from the path (the Yellow Brick Road) and do their own thing, there will be trouble.  We know that at least some of the people weren't faithful to the task -- as we will see in the upcoming sermons -- and as a result, ALL OF THEM were sentenced to a wilderness wandering until the last adult died off there in the barren-ness short of the Promised Land.

Surely there were more good, faithful Israelites besides Joshua and Caleb?!  Maybe there were some who, while not exactly strong like those two men, nevertheless, were ready to do what God wanted them to do.  Unfortunately, Scripture does not say anything about the masses -- but lumps them in with the few.  They ALL fell in the wilderness along with those who were indeed, rebellious.  Bottom line:  The sin of a few cost an entire generation a destination in the Promised Land!

Now, I've been thinking, in light of the two major stories dominating the headlines these days -- the Penn State scandal and the movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado:  For those who decided to go see a movie late last Thursday night, what did they do to deserve the horror that met them that night in one, messed up young man?

How about Penn Sate?  One messed up older man brings down an entire university football program, and in the process, cripples and tortures an entire Pennsylvania community.  What did the fans do to deserve this?  What did the players do, who had no piece whatsoever in this heinous crime?  What did the small business owners who make their living from the popularity of the football program do?

Now, on the Penn State question - I have never much liked JoPa or his football program - I believe the punishment is way too severe, for the reasos I just cited above.  And yet, it gets me to reflecting on the consequences of sin.  When we make bad decisions, the wrong choices.  When we allow sin for a season to over-power a desire to please God.  Our sin never merely affects us -- but is destructive and catastrophic, often taking many "innocent" people down with the guilty.  Sin is a death fertilizer.  Sin is chaos inducing.  Sin is painful.  Sin is like the breaking of an irreplaceable porcelain pot.  Sin is never content to dance alone.  It takes in many unwilling, unsuspecting partners.

All of this makes me long for the journey's end, when we find God "resetting the clock" to an earlier time of perfection and sinlessness, as it was at the beginning.  But, boy, this journey in the wilderness can really be painful at times! 

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