Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Rob Bell: The gods aren't angry

Last night was amazing. Rob Bell hit us with some amazing thoughts about our relationship with God. The night started with mankind discovering the forces around them and crediting it to a god or gods. They felt that as they offered or sacrificed something to the gods they would be pleased. If the crops are large should the offering to the crop god be large? If it isn’t raining should be the offering to the rain god be increased? How do we please these gods? Are the gods angry?

Today, are we trying to please our gods? I am excited to go even deeper and look into sacrificial systems. Imagine a gathering of men dancing around an altar in a religious, drunken or drug induced frenzy willingly castrate themselves to please their god. OUCH!

We would think that we have gotten beyond trying to please these false gods. But have we really? Rob talks about the ways that people are hurting and the pain that they inflict upon themselves. Consider the cutter and compare them to the Baal worshipers on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18:27-28). Consider that many of us are carrying guilt from past offenses and as hard as we try we can never get rid of the guilt. For some this becomes their identity.

The sacrificial system was set up to clear our conscience. The system was not set up to please God. Does God need our slaughtered bulls and goats? Psalm 50: 9-10 I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.

Are we working so hard to please others (in-laws) that we are good enough? Have we been told by people, who should love us, that they hate us?

So what is the bottom line of the night? “Do we have the same old gods and we’ve just given them different names?” We do not have to keep approaching an altar of sacrifice to please God. We do not need to live in guilt and shame.

Jesus came and changed the system. We can freely approach God. Rob used a Brennan Manning story explaining that Jesus doesn’t remember your sins. You don’t have to live like this!

So much more to process!

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