The disssatisfaction associated with Sinai and Calvary flows from our desire to please ourselves. In the Sinai situation the people faced the music unadvisedly and advisedly.
The people promised unadvisedly
They were not going to keep the law and they were not even going to get past the First Commandment (which outlawed other gods). Compliance was really not happening.
The people protested advisedly:
There was no heart available to contain what God’s will was. The only hearts that could receive God’s will are the ones that receive the Holy Spirit since Christ died.
The sons of Israel were right when they asked Moses to shuttle back and forth and tell them what Yahweh had to say.
As Christians, we take on a life of promising because we can guarantee nothing. We rely on God’s promises. Here too our expressions go off the rails and (back) into the box of death.
Every time they see “I will” they are in quicksand territory.
Some deadly examples:
- I will bless the Lord at all times, his praise shall be continually in my mouth. Psa. 34:1
- My heart is steadfast, O God! I will sing and make melody with all my being! Psalms 108:1
- Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God. Psalms 43:4
These I wills are not ordinary promises and predictions: they are a kind of intense and hyper-respectful way to plead or make a request. These should be translated “let me sing” and “let me play” and “Let me come”. This form of address seems to ask the Lord for the okay to sing and play (for example in declaring his righteousness) but notice what people do. They take these as promises and then tell themselves things like the following – and the end up the same mire as the Sinai crew.
- I will abc with my whole being
- I will xyz all the time
These exhausting activities – of doing anything incessantly or without fail – are small peanuts compared things like circumcision, unruly children, ethnic bigotry, church discipline and unpretentious love.
All of the turmoil and confusion in Christianity has to do with the fact that people are trying to escape from loving one another the way God loves us. They have made up all kinds of conventions and regulations but they will duck the pattern of us loving people the way God loves us. Few want to do it even when they say that it is the way of light.