[This appeared first at LifeChurchNC.com]
October 13, 2017
Have you given any thought that today is Friday the 13th? While some may think, What difference does that make?, there are many who associate it as a day of bad luck, where if anything can go wrong, it’s somehow more likely to happen today verses any other day. This superstition is believed to date back to the Middle Ages, and some Christian traditions argue it goes as far back as The Last Supper, representing the 13th guest around the table as Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Jesus. (I personally think that’s a farce, but I’ll try to keep my opinions to myself for now.)
Whether you associate the number 13 as unlucky, casually hold to certain superstitions (i.e: don’t walk under a ladder; if a black cat crosses your path mark the x’s on your window to break the curse, etc.) or have become an expert in cultural superstitions, genuine faith in a Sovereign God and a proper understanding of the doctrine of sin and it’s implications on humanity and the world around us seems to bring all of these things into question.
In other words, superstition and faith don’t mix. Newsflash: The nature of the world we live in makes it just as likely for something bad to happen on Saturday the 14th as Friday the 13th. And yet, God is just as Sovereign over both. However, as human beings, we are prone to doing everything possible to predict and control outcomes around us – which is essentially what superstition is about.
Last week during our Sunday worship gatherings, we briefly looked at the account of the building of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11, where mankind set out to build a great city with a tower that reached to the heavens so that they could make a name for themselves. (v.4) While such an undertaking doesn’t initially sound like a bad idea, the motive was to build an empire in defiance to God. And in doing so, man, not God, could be in control. Of course, as we see, God frustrates these plans and causes confusion by giving the people different language, which subsequently scatters people around the world.
Human sin began in the garden, but it quickly became global. Where sin separates us from God individually, it perpetuates and collaborates to build empires and systems of control that desire to remove God from the equation.
This is where the story of Exodus begins, and where it so accurately describes the world we live in today. However, what we see unfolding in Exodus are the beginnings of the raising-up of a nation and people who are part of God’s plan to redeem and bring things that were once separated and scattered back together. We see the beginnings of a new humanity who will proclaim the goodness, mercy and grace of a God who is for us, not against us; who takes the tragedy this world brings and transforms it into something beautiful for the good of His creation and the glory of His name. We as the church are a continuation and fulfillment of this story in Exodus.
While superstition and faith do not mix, that is no reason to condemn and point fingers who struggle with this today. Instead, as part of the priesthood of God (Exodus 19:5-6:, 1 Peter 2:4-5), use the opportunity to show the people around you who God is and what God is like. When people experience the God of the Scriptures, his perfect love begins to cast out ALL fear (1 John 4:18) – including fears associated with superstition.