Romancing Evil

By: Jim O'Brien 

Hi Friend,

One of the several colleges I attended provided the privilege of a senior trip to Mexico City. A highlight of the trip was visiting the Aztec Teotihuacán pyramid about 40 miles northeast of the city.

An impressive sight, the pyramid inspired several ambitious students to climb the 98 or so precipitous steps to the top, a feat not attempted by the faint of heart and completed only by the athletically hearty. Only the Mayan pyramid with 120 steps is higher.

Some historians heap lavish praise on the Aztec "civilization" for this significant archeological achievement in what was probably the sixth largest city in the world.

The thought of the pyramid came to mind recently while diving down Newtown Pike in Lexington, Kentucky where some of the world's wealthiest horse farms exist. There among the stately barns and rolling green pastures are magnificent champion thoroughbred horses fenced in by stone walls built by slaves in the early 19th Century.

The walls are still standing over 150 years after construction. You can almost see the bent backs of slaves working under the hot sun to construct the miles of rock structure. It's a testimony to their work, that they still stand today.

The sight took me back to the Aztec pyramids, monuments to the sun and moon gods upon which literally millions of humans, young and old, male and female were sacrificed to their pagan gods.

A strange similarity exists that crosses continents as well as millennia. From Egypt to Mexico structures exist that command the reverence of modern man to the barbarism of previous generations. These Towers of Babel stand as a mute testimony of man's desire to enslave other men and offer fellow human beings as sacrifices to a pagan god.

All this came together while reading the twentieth chapter of Exodus as God introduces Himself to the children of Israel. As Dennis Prager eloquently points out, God doesn't say, "I am the Creator of the Universe." His first words are, "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery" (Exodus 20:2).

It may have less impact on those of us reading the words 3,500 years after the event but God spoke in the context of the time people were living. "You were 'slaves' and I don't want MY children to be slaves."

The irony of this is that the Israelites wanted to return to Egypt. They had a romance with evil. They wanted to return to slavery using the vacuous argument that they missed the leeks and onions-imagine, returning to slavery to eat an onion!

It sounds strangely familiar! Send a child off to college and he listens to a professor who may never have expended a drop of sweat in his life working at a productive job. But the child returns home saddled with debt larger than a home mortgage and mesmerized by a political philosophy that is destined to return the country to slavery.

They are so young when they leave home-and they don't have enough life experience to recognize delusion.

Did the Israelites realize that accepting Egyptian culture would eventually end in slavery to a tyrant? Did free Egyptian citizens recognize that selling their farms and cattle to Pharaoh would eventually send their children to a life of toil, building a pyramid for the king?

It may be good to appreciate structures that have existed for a thousand years or even three thousand. But there ought to be a monument at the bottom that warns against glamorizing the accomplishments of tyrants of the past.

Romance with evil always leads to slavery.

One doesn't need to be a Prophet to see the inevitability of the day when children born to be free will succumb to the siren song of slavery. But take heart, at the end of all this they too will hear those familiar words coming from the top of the mountain, "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery."

Until next time,

Jim O'Brien

Pastor, Church of God Cincinnati

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