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David Otten: How to avoid digging ourselves into a hole

 
By David Otten
Contributing writer
updated: 4/9/2019 4:35 PM

Greetings from Faith Lutheran Church in Eldorado.

The USMC Light Armored Vehicle is 14 tons of speed and power. A young Marine whose other vehicle is a used Honda Civic feels fairly invincible with this eight-wheeled "Big Boy Toy." More than once I have seen a Marine sink this puppy into over three feet of mud then hit the accelerator. Anything can get stuck.

In Exodus 32 the children of Israel grew impatient waiting for Moses to return. They went to Aaron and together they drove into a mud pit of idolatry and sexual immorality. Aaron made a false god and then hit the accelerator.

Question. How often do we exchange the real God for a fake god? Answer. Too often. What are the top fake gods in America? Money, sports, sex, jobs and ourselves.

The come-on. It starts when we get impatient. "How long?" We take a wrong turn. We get stuck. But then we hit the accelerator. How so? By disregarding the commandment. "You shall not commit adultery" (Ex 20:14).

Someone shows up on Facebook and just wants to talk. Someone offers a listening ear, a gentle touch, or more. Justifications and rationalizations pop up like weeds. "No one will know. I won't get caught. What's the big deal? I'm only human." We don't like the God who makes us wait. We want a god who can satisfy -- right now!

If you're stuck in an emotional, financial, or relational hole, don't make matters worse by doing something you'll regret for the rest of your life. Here's what I suggest. Make a list of all the people you would hurt by doing something immoral.

Moms and dads, would you intentionally break the arm of your child or make them sleep in the cold? Of course not. But if you engage in sexual activity outside of marriage, you will bring much more pain into your children's lives than a hundred broken arms and a hundred cold nights.

If you are unmarried, would you desecrate a Bible or make a mockery of the cross? Of course not! Yet when you are immoral, you break God's heart.

The covenant. God was prepared to turn from his people because of their rebelliousness, yet Moses prayed reminding God of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Israel. When you are in a hole, claim the covenant God's made with Abraham, Isaac, and Israel.

This was fulfilled in the death of Jesus. God's covenant promises are sealed forever in Jesus's blood, shed on the cross for you. The covenant blood of Jesus announces that God is always loving. God is always forgiving. God is always abounding in grace and mercy.

We have all built golden calves. We have all worshipped other gods. We have gotten stuck in the muck and mire of sin. But we are not stuck forever.

What can we do? We can do what Moses did. Claim the covenant. Claim Christ's new covenant -- promises delivered to us in his cleansing, powerful and renewing blood. Amen.

• David Otten is pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Eldorado.