On the subject of forgetting, or taking for granted, 1 Samuel 7 contains a prime example.
Just the previous chapter we saw how the hand of God was mightily against the Philistines when the Ark was with them. Even when it was returned back to the Israelites, disregard for its holiness resulted in death. Two things stand out for me:
- The Philistines (and many people of that day) had the mentality of a universe of multiple gods with each people group claiming ownership of their own personal god. When Jehovah was shown to be powerful, they believed that he was more powerful than their god (1 Samuel 5:7). It did not cross their mind that Jehovah might be the only one true God.
- On the flip side of the story, when the Ark was returned to Israel, they took it to the house of Abinadab for safe-keeping and essentially forgot about it for twenty years, worshiping foreign gods in the meantime (1 Samuel 7:2).
If it was so easy for a people who had witnessed the miraculous hand of God multiple times to stray from the faith, how much more easier would it be for us in this day and age?
We have our own unique set of “foreign gods” these days. Science is one example. I’m all for science and the pursuit of knowledge. In fact, some Christians definitely do need more science pumped into their brains. But “Scientism” is a different thing altogether. When science is made into a religion to become the answer to everything, an empirical worldview becomes the only acceptable worldview. The road from Christianity to Scientism is paved with things like theistic evolution and liberal theology.
Career is, of course, another example. So is ministry, sometimes. Some ministers find that manipulating gullible crowds can become quite a lucrative business, and substitute the Glory of God for gimmicks. It would probably not be an overstatement to say that the whole of the Prosperity Gospel movement is made up of these kind of ministers. So are many of the by-products of the Charismatic movement, including the New Apostolic Reformation.
This is probably why the psalmist constantly talks about meditating on the Word of God. We need to bring it front and center every so often during our day, or risk it getting buried under a pile of things that can then be elevated to false god status.