I hold back my feet from every evil way, in order to keep your word. Psalm 119:101
The stories in the Bible span chapters. When reading, I’ll go from one to the next and never realize that there might be a lengthy ‘in-between’ before one ends and the next begins. When I read the story of the Hebrew slaves in Egypt for instance, the time frame is 400 years yet only a few chapters cover it. Between Malachi and Matthew is another 400 years. I often wonder what the spiritual life of God’s people was really like during His vocal absence. What percentage kept the faith?
Because I fail to realize that two decades or more transpired in the middle of a biblical narrative, the main characters appeared to be much more unstable than they really were. It seems that one minute they worshipped God and in the next scene, they built a golden calf. What gives? Between the two events were a myriad of small decisions. They strayed in small steps that spanned a significant chunk of time until they found themselves far from home.
It’s the in-between I also have to consider. Like my spiritual ancestors, I make daily choices. A year can seem like an eternity and much can change in so short a time. I have warm times with the Lord and also dry seasons. I take some detours along way – sometimes out of anger or disappointment. I also sin and can be lazy with my confessions. I’m reminded that when unrighteous choices accumulate over time, I can easily build my own version of the golden calf.
How can our life’s narrative not turn tragic? By staying astute during my ‘in-betweens’. Sin starts with a thought. It begins to blossom if I lack self-awareness. If I continue to feed the soul, it takes me somewhere I don’t want to go. But feed my spirit and my ‘in-betweens’ are fueled to stay on the paths of the righteous.
I don’t always recognize evil. I don’t see as many traps as You do. How I need Your Spirit to guard me on my journey. Amen