Life Anchoring Experiences
I ran across a posting this past week that referenced a 2010 Cornell University study published by Thomas Gilovich and Travis J. Carter. The study showed that over the long term experiences are more important and provide more lasting satisfaction than material things. The study compared things such as buying a TV or a flashy car as opposed to investing the money in a vacation or training lessons. It showed that the initial thrill of the possession faded rapidly, but the value of the experience started strong and continued growing over time. It attributed part of this impact to the fact that our experiences are unique to us and personal whereas we tend to compare possessions to others.
I thought this was very fitting in the instructions and the relationship that God wanted to have with the people of Israel as they entered the promised land. He is leading them into a physical place, through physical battles and difficulties, with physical rewards of food and shelter. But, He wants their first thing in the new land to be an unique and memorable experience of obedience. He calls on them to truly experience this event. They would gather the stones, form the plaster, allow it to dry, write all the words of the law, build the altar, offer the burnt offering and shout the blessings and curses from the mountaintops. Nothing like this had been done before or since.
This was in stark contrast to the gods of the people currently in the land whom they were to defeat and remove. These people saw their gods as something to possess. They formed them out of wood and clay and they carried them around with them. They were gods of things, the god of the river, the god of the insects, the god of fertility.
Our God is a God of relationships. He invites His people, then and now, to experience Him. He doesn’t give us the law and commands as a rod to punish us with. He gives them to us as loving directions so we know the right path that leads to a fully and deeper relationship with Him instead of getting lost in detours and wrong paths.
How are you experiencing God? Are you investing your time and money in possessions that don’t last and don’t satisfy, or are you investing in experiences that change and redirect your life? How are you creating experiences to share with others: such as family meals, spending time with missionaries, praying together, working in your church? What intentional experiences do you want to plan for yourself and your loved ones in the next 90 days? The experiences may just last forever!
large stones coated in plaster and write on them all the words of this law, also build there an altar with fieldstones
To demonstrate their obedience, to create a lasting remind – to put the law first and foremost in their mind and to associate the Word with the burn offerings
Blessings from Mount Gerizim, Curses from Mount Ebal – shouted out by the tribes, 6 on each side
Surgery reset the priorities of my life