Bread – Crowd

April 6, 2016


Psalm 14

“They [children of man] have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.  Have they no knowledge….”  Ps. 14:3-4

When I read the phrase “They have all,” it reminded me of two concepts.

The first goes back to my college days.  A group of friends and I were waiting to get into the cheap movie at the student center, and we had gotten there late and we were at the end of the line.  One of my friends said, “watch this,” and then proceeded to stand out from the line, walk brusquely to the front, and then started yelling at everyone that the line started where we were in the back.  Before even five minutes had gone by, the entire line of over a hundred people had shifted to behind us and, all of a sudden, we were now in the front of the line and got the primo seats.  This was my first real lesson in crowd-think, where someone with a strong enough voice and the air of authority could order people to change their entire lives and be happy about it.  And once the front of the line started moving, in response to my friend’s directions, the entire line moved out of the way.  The blind leading the blind from their position of prominence to their position of subservience.

How like Satan.  He and his minions come at us from all directions, shouting at us, and when the society begins to move, we do too.  When our friends start to run off the rails, most of the time we are not far behind.

When our leaders and friends and bosses and neighbors begin to reject God and His teachings, do we follow?  Much of the time, if we are honest with ourselves, the answer is “yes.”

The second concept which came to mind is actually quite new and it is called “crowd funding.”  If I have an idea which I want to promote and have people invest their money in, I can put it on a website and solicit contributions and, if lots of people send in $10 or $100, I am funded by the “crowd.”  Now, normally, if I want to raise money, I have to sell the idea to people who already have money and are quite capable of carefully analyzing my idea and deciding whether it is worthy.  However, the principle behind crowd funding is the crowd.  If you want to know what the latest and best ideas are, see who is attracting crowd funding.  After all, if 100 people agree that it is a good idea, it must be a good idea, right?  Whether the invention is sound, whether the financial plan is carefully thought out, whether the market is clearly defined – all that becomes irrelevant once the crowd likes you.

When I read the statement “They have all turned aside…[from the truth, from good behavior, from morality, from honesty, from hope … you name it],” how did that happen?  One simple answer could be that we all sin and fall short of the glory of God and, therefore, we all turn aside.  However, many of us claim to be saved and to be engaged in the transformation of our minds.  If that is the case, then how is it that we fall into the “they have all turned aside” category?

I think in each of my examples the answer to this question lays.  We go astray when we (a) do not take the time to understand what is going on, (b) we follow a strong leader who may or may not have our best interest at heart because he or she “sounds good,” and (c) we are afraid of the crowd and afraid to stand our ground when the crowd is going somewhere else.

Lack of understanding, following the wrong person, and fear of the crowd.  A trifecta leading to us turning aside, leading us to corruption and misery, leading us to no good.

If we fail as Christians in any of these three areas, it must be because we are not well-grounded in God’s Word.  The reason is that there is understanding aplenty in the Word, when illuminated by the Holy Spirit and built deep into our psyche and our lives by consuming it as the living water it is.  The reason is that God’s Word points to the right person, Jesus Christ, to follow, and gives us lots of examples of the wrong kind of people not to follow.  And, finally, the Word leads us to understand that, when we are saved, we need not fear death and, as a result, need not fear the opinion of others (the crowd).

You want an antidote to corruption, to falling away?  It is in the Word.

And what is interesting about the Word is that it is not a crowd thing.  Yes, it can be read at church in the congregation and it is.  And, yes, it can be read in small study groups and prayer groups, and it is.  But at the end of the day, it can only be grasped by a single person taking the time and the energy to be with God, to study God, and to learn from God.

“Have they no knowledge, the evildoers…?” Ps. 14:4.

No, they don’t.

Don’t you fall in the same trap.

_________

© 2016 GBF   All Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version (2001), unless otherwise indicated

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