We live in a different world now.
Have you ever said that?
I certainly have. “Our parents would have [or did, or didn’t do…insert phrase] but it’s a totally different world now!”
And it’s true. We have developed so much new technology in this generation–new tools, new weapons, new medical discoveries–and it truly is completely different now. When I was a child, there were no video games, no cell phones, no GPS, and computers were still new, only used by a few nerds and some big businesses, where they took up huge rooms. It IS a different world.
I thought of that this morning as I read Judges 2.
10 When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel. 11 Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals; 12 and they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; and they followed other gods from among the gods of the people who were all around them, and they bowed down to them; and they provoked the Lord to anger.
Always before, I have felt a little impatient with these Israelites. I mean, really…after God brought your ancestors out of slavery, preserved them miraculously through forty years in a desert, and gave you a brand new land full of nice vineyards and wells that were already dug, why in the world would you change your allegiance and start worshiping a new god?
But today I realized…they were in a whole new world. The land they had taken over was completely unlike the one their fathers had lived in. It truly was a different world! At that time, most people seemed to see gods as territorial, and maybe it seemed impossible to them that the God they had followed as a pillar of cloud and flame through the desert, the One who had overseen their battles and assured them victory, could possibly inhabit this peaceable place. After all, He didn’t really seem like an agricultural god. Their lives had become easy, and the land was good. It probably seemed only sensible to continue as the Canaanites had and sacrifice to those gods who had watched over these lands for centuries. It was a grievous error, but I think I can understand how they might fall into it.
The question that haunts my mind now is this: are we believing similar lies today? When we make the statement that “We live in a different world,” are we sometimes making excuses? Yes, some things that have changed aren’t a moral issue (communications, for instance–what a blessing to be able to talk to relatives on the other side of the world via Skype!) but some things undoubtedly are. Our upstanding great-grandparents would have been appalled at some of the movies that many Christians today thoughtlessly watch. They would have pronounced them evil. So is it just a different world, or are they indeed evil? Some people’s clothing–or lack of clothing–would have caused our forefathers to avert their eyes and blush in shame. Should we be ashamed, or is it okay to dismiss it with “Oh, no one even notices that anymore–it’s just a different world.”
What do you think? Can you think of examples where we may be deceiving ourselves by the “it’s a different world” refrain?