Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Homily 44: On Faith and Common Sense (as preached by an orthodox rebel)

"Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help, and depend upon horses and trust in chariots because they are many, and in horsemen because they are strong, but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the Lord! [...] Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses are flesh, and not spirit. When the Lord shall stretch out His hand, both he that helped and he that is helped shall fall down, and they all shall fail together." Is. 31:1, 3

As I said before, the Israelites find themselves threatened by Assyria; but rather than look to God for help, they look to a foreign power, i.e., Egypt. It is the common story of doubt, to which God commonly responds by knocking the bottom board out from under us and revealing the futility of our actions. Such a revelation is always needed because the futility is so hard to see. Our good intentions and best-laid plans just make so much sense. That is the insidiousness of it: "Yes, yes. Faith is good and right and all that, but we must be sensible here. Just look at those Egyptians! Look at all those chariots, and how strong the horsemen are! They are something concrete and quantifiable. It's not unbelief. It's just common sense." Yet it is unbelief, because it is just common sense.

God gave us common sense. It is a gift that often serves us well, but it was never meant as the end of the matter. God is always calling us beyond the safe, simple, and sensical to something more, viz., Himself. All the gifts of God, when taken for their own sake, can become rivals to God, and common sense is no exception. The Egyptians were apparently a fine choice for an ally, but by taking the place of God they became the worst choice, and that is the key. All things fail when God is left out of the equation. The paradox is incredible yet true, and we must not miss it. That God ultimately trumps our mere common sense is not a call to reckless idiocy but belief. Idiocy lies in unbelief, in the foolish trusting in men and horses of flesh over the God who made and holds together all flesh, including the flesh of your enemy. Seen in that way, the right way, there is actually nothing more common sensical than having faith in God.

-Jon Vowell (c) 2012

No comments:

Post a Comment