I believe that the essence of holiness is “Christ-centredness,” while the essence of sin is “self-centredness.” As Christians, we have heard that there’s a golden thread running through the Bible — the story of God’s love and salvation. We must also admit that there is another thread — the story of what happens when one chooses to disobey God and become one’s own god (think Lucifier, Adam, Cain, etc.).
Today’s scriptures don’t appear to have much in common. However, there are three crowds and one common theme — what happens when God is left out.
In Judges 9:1-57, we have the account of one man (and his crowd ) who didn’t follow the example of his God-centred father, Gideon. Abimelech decided he should be king of his clan and his city (Shechem). After his father’s death he killed all his brothers, except the youngest who escaped. Jotham’s fable of the trees ended up being a prediction of what happens to those who turn away from God. Verse 57 tells us, “God punished both Abimelech and the men of Shechem for their sin of murdering Gideon’s seventy sons.” (LB)
Psalm 58:1-11 introduces another crowd. David identified them as a group of “high and mighty politicians” (v.1, LB) — men void of justice and given to lies and bribery. David predicted that one day, “Everyone will know that good is rewarded, and that there is a God who judges justly here on earth.” (v.11,LB)
Finally, in John 6:1-24, we encounter a large crowd. Many of them were eager to get to Jerusalem for Passover but more eager to see Jesus heal the sick. The crowd did not see any sick healed, but they did witness the miraculous feeding of over 5,000 people. The next day, the crowd discovered that Jesus was gone. When they did find him in Capernaum, they were not prepared for his message to them. He said, “The truth of the matter is that you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you believe in me.” (v. 26, LB)
History has shown that human nature is fickle. The Bible teaches that apart from God, the human heart is deceitful and corrupt (Jeremiah 17:9, RSV). “Lord, help me to discern the crowds around me. I commit to keeping You at the centre of my life.”
Foothills Alliance Seniors Pastor, husband to Linda and a Gentle Soul