Ok, so last week, I went a little extreme. And from the overwhelming response evidenced by the ‘comments’ section, I can see that I really made an impact, and hit home hard. Well, just for fun, I thought I would stick to the same theme. After all, we are in December and tis the season!
I was reading the Bible in my usual systematic way, and could you believe it, I stumbled upon this passage from 2 Kings.
7:16-17 "Then the people of Samaria rushed out and plundered the Aramean camp. So it was true that five quarts of choice flour were sold that day for one piece of silver, and ten quarts of barley grain were sold for one piece of silver, just as the LORD had promised. The king appointed his officer to control the traffic at the gate, but he was knocked down and trampled to death as the people rushed out."
Wow! The Wal Mart incident happened in Bible times too! So there is precedent for mob madness during a sale!
I was about to take my entire rant and challenge of last week back, but thought I should look more closely. Now, I know it’s totally annoying when a preacher puts ‘context’ in the way of a good wholesome lesson like ‘prosperity’ or ‘holy consumerism’, but let’s have a little look at the chapter before, just for fun, and find out what was going on before the ‘big sale’ stampede.
6:26-30 "One day as the king of Israel was walking along the wall of the city, a woman called to him, “Please help me, my lord the king!” He answered, “If the LORD doesn’t help you, what can I do? I have neither food from the threshing floor nor wine from the press to give you.” But then the king asked, “What is the matter?” She replied, “This woman said to me: ‘Come on, let’s eat your son today, then we will eat my son tomorrow.’ So we cooked my son and ate him. Then the next day I said to her, ‘Kill your son so we can eat him,’ but she has hidden her son.” When the king heard this, he tore his clothes in despair."
It seems that the famine was so dire, mothers were prepared to eat their own children. Think about that for a few seconds.
When the people of Samaria rushed out and plundered the camp, they were desperate. They were more than desperate, they were insane with hunger. Completely irrational.
The people waiting to rush into Wal Mart however, were not desperate for food. They were desperate for blenders, coffee machines and foot spas. Think about that for a few seconds.
My point is simply this. There are people in our world so desperate they are willing to sell their children into slavery. And, there are people in another part of the world so desperate they are prepared to trample another to death in a shopping center.
We insist that we ‘need’ to shop. We ‘need’ to buy others presents for Christmas, we ‘need’ another t-shirt, we ‘need’ a new ipod, we need another digital camera. Well this ‘need’ has driven us insane. And all I am asking, is that you take a breath and make a decision. What do you ‘need’, and what are you prepared to pay for it?
Your first reaction is likely to be ‘yeah, I don’t really spend that much, so this isn’t me. I would never go shopping on a major sale day’. Well, great. Good for you. Maybe you should just halve your spending instead of cutting it altogether.
Surely there is someone out there who agrees, and is prepared to take a stand. Are you prepared to make a pact? No unnecessary spending. Are you prepared to purchase presents from ‘justgifts’ instead of from the stores? Are you prepared to start the chain-reaction to end the madness that has gripped our world? I am praying that you will be prepared, and that you will have the strength and honour to follow through. Or, you can continue to pretend that in some crazy way, you are justified. Pray it though, please.
Have a great week praising the prodiver and not the provision,