The Challenge of Self-Awareness
The Word of God holds many truths. This is fact. Truthfully, there is really no other truth other than the Word of God. That being said, these truths, being concentrated into a single entity, or set of entities, can be a bit overwhelming to some, especially those of us who, despite our best efforts, simply can’t understand everything at once. That is why it’s absolutely imperative that we as 21st century human beings, seeking to know The One True God, approach this single, piercing beam of light with an attitude grounded in self-awareness. Paradoxically, the only way we can become self-aware is through the lens of Gods Word. So how do we proceed?
In Numbers 32, there is found an interesting statement. Two tribes, Reuben and Gad, come to Moses and make a puzzling request, namely, that they have a heritage of land apportioned to them that is specifically not within the boundaries of Israel proper. This is interesting for a number of reasons, but it seems Moses is less interested (though aware) in those reasons, posing a rebuttal that would be chilling for anyone to endure from one of the holiest men. . . ever. But, as the conversation
moves on, an agreement is made that the two tribes will, in fact, enter Israel, fight alongside their brothers, then be permitted to return across the Jordan to their hefty plot of inheritance. But trailing the conversation between them, Moses gives this warning, “But if you do not do so [i.e. help conquer the canaanite nations before returning to Gilead], behold, you will have sinned against The LORD, and be aware of your sin which will find you (Numbers 32:23).”
Sin is a living, breathing organism. A parasite, but an organism non the less. It has the ability to latch on to any host, regardless of spiritual stature, and, if left unchecked, leave any person gasping for air. But deeper than the mere fact of an adversary, Moses wants to convey to the tribes of Gad and Reuben that our actions are all connected on a loftier plane than we can see with our eyes. Truly, had Reuben and Gad forfeited their responsibility to fight with the rest of Israel, the entirety of Jewish history would be drastically different. Yet, this is more than a spiritual ripple effect, this is a concept that everything we do has an effect on the rest of the world, much like the sages of Judaism say that if the entire world were to repent wholeheartedly and cry out with one heart for the Messiah, he would immediately come.
We, as individuals, are connected in a spiritual network, which is a thought that is both amazing and sobering at the same time. Sobering because part of being connected is sharing each others baggage. So what’s the very best advice? “be aware of your sin which will find you.” A great teacher by the name of Avraham Sutton once said, “it’s not God vs. Evil or the devil, but man vs. evil, with God above everything.” We are constantly struggling with our own inclinations towards ungodliness, but there is a sovereign power above all else, and that power calls us Its children, and recognition of this power is the beginning of self-awareness.
©M.S. O’nealThis article was written my M.S. O’neal. He is a college student at Sam Houston State University and regular contributor for Netiv / The Path on issues of teens and faith, etc.