Look Both Ways
I mentioned last time that those who know the condition of their flocks and pay attention to their herds generally speaking will find that they survive the fall of civilization. This is just the way life is. Rather than be overcome by despair, we need to maintain a level of optimism because optimism helps us see things we need to build a better future.
If we believe the grass is turning brown then can we believe new growth will appear? According to this proverb, we should, but do we? I hope we do. We should hold on to this observation about life like we would hold onto a log as we float down a river not knowing exactly what lies ahead.
One of the purposes of this “Saving Us” series of posts is to keep us afloat. New growth will eventually appear; it will eventually become clear how we can rebuild our society. Our job at the beginning is to “pay attention.” Pay attention to what is going on around you. Pay attention to what your people (your flocks, your herds) are saying and doing. This will lead to the next steps.
When crossing the road it is wise to look to your right and then to your left before proceeding. Once you see both ways are clear then all inhibition is lost and you freely cross the street. Likewise in life when you see to the right (the future) clearly and to the left (the past) clearly all inhibition is lost and you freely proceed and carry on with your life. By crossing this street you enter back into society and contribute to civilization building once again.
Look to Your Right
In my last post I mentioned how God attaches us to the future through our children to make us care about what we do today. When we see the fall of civilization and how it will crush them, we sober up with a desire to come to their aid.
I hope you have been thinking about the children that are in your life. I have. I have 3 children and one grandchild. I have 2 sisters and 3 brothers and I have a number of nieces and nephews. When I think about them, I am stirred to pull myself together and stand up on the battlefield of life to fight for their future. Looking at them, seeing their faces clearly, causes me to pay attention to what is going on in the world today. They motivate me to write and think about how I can help them. I believe this simple look to the right can work wonders upon a people that have become nothing more than a “hut in a cucumber field”. (Is 1:5-8)
What about you? Do you have family? One thing that I am in the process of doing is simply getting a good picture of each child in my family and pasting it on a sheet of paper and put it where I see it often so I am reminded constantly about what is at stake. Don’t try to figure out what difference you will ever make in their lives or if you are significant or not. The point at the beginning is simply to look to the right and then feel compassion for these young people. They are going into the future further than you will be going. Once you see them and feel for them, then you will begin to notice things you can give them that they can put into their backpacks as they go into that future. Whatever your significance you may hold it will begin to increase. The point at the beginning though is to start, not to have everything figured out, not to be overwhelmed by the things you don’t know. A look to the right is a start; it is a very good start that anyone can do and should do. It will lead to further things that are needed to rebuild society for us.
What about a look to the left? If looking to the right is a look at the future and our children then what is a look to the left? Looking to the left is a look at our past and our family tree.
Look to Your Left
Can a look to our past unlock additional inhibitions that prevent us from crossing the street to participate in building society? It can. And I will put this on the list of things to stuff in those backpacks our kids will carry into the future.
Last year while reading through the Bible I stumbled upon this need to look at our lineage. It was a command given to a people who had become like a hut in a cucumber patch. It came from a God who can give no ill advice. It came from a God who always knows exactly what everyone needs to hear to get out of the condition they are in. This is what I read.
That is advice given to a dying people. This is advice given to a people on the way to judgment. The problem at that time was how do you get a lost decrepit people to wake up and save themselves. Here is the answer: Look to the rock from which you were hewn.
God’s strategy, which is a perfect strategy, is to tell the righteous among the people to listen up. God is telling a group within a group of people to listen up and remember where they came from. He is telling them to look to the left. He is telling them to look back upon their heritage. The expectation is they will find courage and strength to live again and avert the imminent judgment. Isn’t that what we want?
We all have a heritage. Each of us has a father and a mother. We have grandparents; we have great-grandparents. The exhortation here is to look at them. That look, that exercise of looking at them, has energy in it.
How much do you know about the rock from which you were hewn?
When you investigate this your spirit will stir up. When I started asking my siblings and aunts and uncles about my parents and grandparents I was startled by what I heard. I heard perspectives on their lives that I was not aware of. I learned that my grandfather once served jail time on behalf of his friend who was married and had a family. Do you know what finding that gem in my rock quarry did for me?
What treasures lie in the stone quarry from which you were dug? Why not investigate? Even if you have a bad story it can still motivate you to make up for the past in a quest to redeem the family name. Not everything in my family I found was perfect. In reflecting upon some of the bad, or simply much indifference, it all motivated me to do better.
There is a lot of wisdom in God’s command to the righteous to look to the left, to look at their past, to see things that need to be seen for the sake of reviving our people.
What are the first things you think of when you think of your…