Daily Archives: January 27, 2010

A Darwin Award Even You Could Win

Every year since 1985, Wendy Northcutt has granted 10 unfortunate people the not-so-prestigious Darwin Award. The tagline to her website reads, “Honoring those who improve the species…by accidentally removing themselves from it!” Hearkening to Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection, Northcutt explains, “The Awards honor people who ensure the long-term survival of the human race by removing themselves from the gene pool in a sublimely idiotic fashion.”

The video above presents five worthy candidates. If you enjoy what you see, a quick search of “Darwin Awards” on YouTube will give you quite a (natural) selection to choose from.

How could they be so stupid? I ask myself.

Very simple. They’re just like me.

Learn more about it in today’s reading.

TODAY’S READING

Exodus 4:1-5:21
Matthew 18:1-20
Psalm 22:19-31
Proverbs 5:15-21

INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS

Exodus 4:1-9. God gave Moses three signs that he was with him:

  • The rod. Symbolic of God’s authority over Pharaoh.
  • The ability to afflict leprosy. This wasn’t Hanson’s disease where people’s ears and noses fall off, it was a variety of skin afflictions which nevertheless separated a person from the rest of the community. Throughout Scripture, God used this to deal with a person’s pride or rebellion.
  • Turning water to blood. This symbolized God’s control over Egypt’s economic prosperity, which was completely reliant on the Nile river.

Exodus 4:10-20. At the time of Moses’ encounter with God at the burning bush, he was one of the most qualified, educated people in the world. In the world! Yet he still begged God to use someone else. Although Moses’ conversation with God revealed his deep insecurity, I think it also revealed deep inner strength: he had the audacity to argue with God. Also, notice that Moses didn’t even tell his father-in-law why he was returning to Egypt, which tells me that he wasn’t convinced about God’s plans.

Exodus 4:21. Notice that God said he would harden Pharaoh’s heart. This phrase occurs 20 times over the next 10 chapters. In the Western world, we practically make idols of our freedom, but God is still greater than our hearts (1 John 3:20).

Matthew 18:2-4. Children were the most powerless people in ancient society.

Matthew 18:15-20. If someone offends us, the tendency among most of us is to wait for the offender to apologize. And while we wait, we simmer. But Jesus commands us to do the opposite. If someone offends us, he tells us to go to the offender to work through the offense. That’s proactive reconciliation. The onus is on the offended, not the offender.

Matthew 18:20. This was a pretty amazing claim. People who doubt that Jesus claimed to be God should take a closer look at this verse.

Psalm 22:24, 26. This psalm makes clear to me that God loves the poor and afflicted. Of course, God loves everyone, but he has a special fondness for the underdog. If we want to join God in what he is doing in the world, then comfort the afflicted and assist the poor in rising out of their poverty. If you fit into one of these four categories, take encouragement in the fact that God has a special fondness for you. You are not forgotten!

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THE WORD MADE FRESH

“Sin makes you stupid.”

Years ago while in seminary, John Wimber, the former leader of the Vineyard Churches, made this statement in one of my classes.

Wow, that’s profound, I mockingly thought to myself.

“Sin makes you stupid,” he repeated. “Why else would people sacrifice their lives, their families, even their ministries for a one-night fling or adulterous affair?”

The longer I thought about it, I realized he was right.

And ironically enough, Scripture agrees with John Wimber as well. Proverbs 5:22-23 tells us, “The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast. He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly.”

How easily do we burn ourselves by playing with fire?

Allowing myself to play with an illicit thought could easily lead to the destruction of my marriage and the devastation of my children. But in the middle of my denial, I can easily convince myself that I’ll never get caught or that my actions are justified. James 1:14-15 describes the progression that can affect any of us.

That’s why any one of us could win the Darwin Award.

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. How did today’s reading speak to your heart?
  2. Do you easily doubt God’s plans for your life? What does that say about God?
  3. Why do you think Jesus told us to reconcile with the person who offends us–rather than wait for the offender to reconcile with us? Which is harder?
  4. Do you agree with John Wimber’s statement that “Sin makes you stupid”? Why or why not?
  5. If you’re comfortable, share a time when sin made you stupid. Please share your own story and not someone else’s.

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Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, Colorado.

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