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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

24 October 2012: Simon Kendall, St Mary Magdalen, Sheet

Without vision people cast off restraint and run wild

Wherever leaderships ignore visionary teaching, then idleness, aimless rebellion and dissolution result; anarchy and chaos reign, people become ungovernable. Remember Tottenham?

Two phenomenal historical events shaped and changed the world - we ignore them at our peril.

Around 1446BC; the Israelites arrived in the desert before Sinai, having just escaped from Egypt, after 400 years in slavery. God gave them his laws and commandments - for their benefit: I am the Lord your God, who brought you out. If you obey me fully and keep my covenants you will be my treasured posession. Moses, their leader, went up the mountain seven times - twice for 40 days and nights - to receive the Law, written by God himself and to mediate between God and his people, who had experienced the awesome presence of their Creator upon that mountain.

But the people would not wait for Moses; despite God's specific warnings, and their repeated promises, they made and worshipped a golden calf. Moses was so angry he threw down the tablets of the Law - they shattered - reflecting broken covenants. Israel had cast off restraint and run wild. God punishes disobedience. About 3000 were killed that day.

By contrast, at Pentecost, in about 33AD, when God poured out his Spirit in Jerusalem and Peter explained the significance, about 3000 became disciples that day. They shared everything, finding favour amongst all the people. Thereafter, the life-giving Gospel continues to spread around the world. Where followed, people prosper.

The Law condemns; God's Holy Spirit gives us Life!

This article was submitted for publication in the Petersfield Post on 24 October; it is possible that it was published earlier or may be published later.

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