From Jim O'Brien
August 04, 2017

Hi Friend,

Losing Eden

The list of people deserving a high level of trust isn't as numerous as it once was. Growing up I could trust parents, relatives, neighbors, the members of our local church, teachers-in fact nearly everyone in the immediate community. It resembled Eden-a protected environment. We trusted our neighbors.

College, however, brought a rude awakening. Part of maturation is learning that the world has dangers. Satan was in the Garden with Adam and Eve.

The decline of trust has spiraled out of control in our culture. Citizens don't trust members of Congress. Church members often don't trust the leaders, especially the titular head who lives in another part of the country or the world. Ministers teach congregations things that are counter to the moral fabric of the community and contrary to the Bible.

The diminishing trust reflects a deeply troubling symptom of a serious illness in America.

Maybe it started with Elvis. He was known as Elvis the Pelvis because of his sexually suggestive gyrating style. No normal family would allow such a perverted individual in their home especially around the kids. But millions of parents trusted Ed Sullivan, so they invited him into their living room and he introduced Elvis to the children. My parents sent me to bed early but allowed my older brothers to stay up and watch because their friends were watching.

That brings us to the Bible. The theme running from Adam to Revelation is trust. Call it faith, or belief, but each is a synonym for trust. The Old Testament is a commentary on men who believed God-they trusted Him to deliver them in times of trial, to guide them during times of peace, and most of all to provide a framework of order for their lives.

The term Promised Land is a statement of trust. God promised the land to the Israelites-but they had to go to battle with well-armed giants. It's hard to imagine what hand-to-hand combat would be like in the days of Joshua. The Anakim were brutal giants that ruled the military landscape.

God had told them, "you will dispossess nations larger and stronger than you." (Deut. 11:23) The Anakim were stronger-much stronger-and there were more of them than the relatively smaller number of Israelites.

God also told them, "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." (Deut. 31:6)

What would it take for an average size Israelite to face an 8-foot barbarian in a one-on-one confrontation? Or to go to battle against an armed chariot with man-eating blades on the sides?

It takes trust in the God who promised to go with you! You have to believe His word!

It is the story of mankind. Who do you trust? Your spouse? Your doctor-when you're going under the knife? The drug company? I had a friend who took medication for diabetes that caused a brain tumor that took his life. Do you trust your congressman? Who can a person trust?

In all of mankind's history there is only one person that has demonstrated such solid evidence that His word can be trusted. It is the God who created you. The next time you face a giant, remember the words that supported Joshua, "He will never leave you nor forsake you."

Until next time,

Jim O'Brien