I have been giving considerable thought to the bird’s-eye-view of the series of events we are reading about in Exodus right now. I had some new observations I thought worth sharing with you. If you recall, the last few chapters have had a varied array of behavior by our friends (so like us) – the Children of Israel. The narrative jumps back and forth between two levels of description. The descriptions of actual events that occurred on fateful days in their lives are interspersed with the detailed descriptions of God’s commands for how to construct and operate their new system of worship on a national level. It is unlike the way human authors typically write a narrative. That’s clearly because it is not a human Author.
I once had a person who was a pedophile tell me that part of the explanation for this problem was a terrible childhood. While I truly sympathize with having been mistreated as a child (and there is nothing more horrendous!), it still does not make allowance for continued sin. I’m sorry, but a bad upbringing is no excuse. It seems that some people in the Israel of Ezekiel’s day were getting into the habit of also believing that people are incapable of breaking out of cycles of inherited sin. Or perhaps they were blaming their own sin and suffering on their forefathers’ behavior. This is a common worldview embraced in our time as well. Today we often call it a “Victim Mentality.”
The Book of Ecclesiastes reads like a medical journal entry listing the modern day afflictions of the American populace. Boredom, insomnia, anxiety, depression, angst, fear, anger and despair are all outlined. It describes the emptiness of even phenomenal success and wealth. It is the testimony of a thinking person who is self-analytical in looking back at their life accomplishments and deciding they were all pretty much futile. It uses a common Bible teaching technique of encouraging us to learn from the mistakes of others.