Prior to the 1700’s, the concept of the supernatural was taken for granted. You worshiped something, somewhere, society even becoming largely defined as a “B.Y.O.G.” (Bring Your Own God). The thought that we are not alone in this universe was simply self-evident.
Then came the so-called Enlightenment, and that mode of thinking crept in as a polar opposite ideology throughout all strata of society disguised as rational, scientific, and evolved. The supernatural was quite passé, and the human intellect took center stage. There was clearly no room for any deity among the test tubes and Bunsen burners.
So I continue to think it most interesting that we currently find ourselves surrounded by a panoply superheroes, demi-gods, and semi-immortals in our stories, movies, and all things media. Our creative consciousness seems to cry out for a strength beyond ourselves, including the intrinsic (albeit emotionally well-hidden) need to have someone watching over us, a to-the-rescue standby.
Of course, in our adult minds, we “know” better. Caped crusaders are only found at Comic-cons. Sadly, although again well-hidden, we still try to satisfy our need for protection, because we also know that the world is not a safe place. In more ways than one.
Thus we find ourselves almost back to B.Y.O.G. thinking again, only in modernistic forms: investments, relationships, education, acquisition of stuff. We diversify our deities quite well, so that if one falls off the pedestal, we at least have a few more to rescue our sense of self-worth.
It appears that God isn’t too keen on this idea any more than He was back prior to our “enlightenment”. He tells His servant, Habakkuk—
“But they are deeply guilty, for their own strength is their god.”
Deeply guilty. Relying on their own strength (stuff, status, all of the above) for their worth as persons, for their rescue, for their personal identity, made them deeply guilty before the One who created them. It’s not that having financial security (an oxymoron, in my book), loving relationships, et. al., is bad. It’s just the place in our lives that we allow to them.
Here’s the old prophet’s go-to when the rubber meets the road:
“Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign LORD is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.”
In real time, my strength is defined by my focus, identity, ability, resources and motivation, and therefore it behooves me to check the source of that strength.
‘Cuz whether it’s just a rotting piece of wood, or a broken beaker, neither will sustain for the long haul.
Hab 1:11; Hab 3:17 Tyndale House Publishers Inc (2008-06-01). The One Year Bible NLT (One Year Bible: Nlt Book 2)