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Thursday, February 02, 2006

Bible Study: The Exodus

Last night our twice-monthly Women's Bible Study met, and once again it was time well spent. Due to winter illnesses and unavoidable appointments, my attendance hasn't been stellar; but this Bible Study continues to enlighten, inspire, amuse, and educate. Once we finish the course, I plan to keep the notebook to share with my kids in family Bible study.

Last night we did part two of Exodus, the time spent at the foot of Mt. Sinai. This is where Moses received the Ten Commandments, and a large number of the Israelites who, just a short time before, had sworn allegiance to God Almighty, made and worshipped a golden calf.

The thought that kept occurring to me throughout the reading and listening was that the Israelites, who really could represent all people of faith, are like toddlers. They love their Daddy, and want to win His approval... until they think He isn't watching. "Oh, He's busy with Moses up on the mountain. I bet we could get away with..."

I've never actually heard my almost two year old say it, but I know darn well he's thinking it.

As a parent, I've learned to fear going to the bathroom. Those of you who read Joel's blog know the Saga of the Habanero. That day, I made the mistake of going to the bathroom twice. Twice. Bad pregnosaur! A couple days later, it was malt powder. A few days more, hot cocoa mix. You get the idea.

As this thought was starting to formulate, the study instructed us to turn to Luke 12:16-31. I flipped pages to where Jesus tells His disciples not to worry about what they should eat, that God provides. A picture flashed through my head of Hypertot sneaking into the kitchen the second the bathroom door closes, opening the fridge, whipping out a cube of butter, and biting into it. Much as the Israelites at the foot of Sinai took their desires into their own hands the moment their leader wasn't watching, a toddler will take his desires into this own hands when Mommy looks away. Neither one is trusting his needs to be met. And neither one shows particular wisdom in discerning what those needs are or how to meet them. Butter? A golden idol? Yeah, that'll keep 'em healthy!

One thing that raising small children really does for my faith: it offers me the chance to see a toddler the way I imagine God must see us a lot of the time. Stubborn, lovable, foolish, and sometimes due for a huge lesson. But after the lesson, I always want to hug my son. It's a good reminder that when I fail to trust God, and as a result smear my self-helpings all over my messy life, His chastisement doesn't mean He has stopped loving. He isn't going to say "Ok, you blew it, I'm outta here" any more than I'd say it to my foolish child. It's a good thing to know.