#BackToTheBook: “Forgive Me” & Adam’s Regret.

This is the first #BackToTheBook series.You can learn more about the reasoning behind this series here. “Forgive me” (you can listen to it here) was actually on the Islands EP. It struck me the first time I heard it, and every time it comes on, I have to stop to listen. I think it’s rare to find a piece that adequately captures the parallel between the “original sin”,  our lives today, and merciful God who is kind in the midst of our unfaithfulness.

When I listen to the first verse of the song, I can just imagine Adam, recently expelled from the Garden of Eden, replaying everything in his head. Genesis 3:9 “The Lord called to the man asking ‘Where are you?’ ” After eating the fruit, everything changed, and Adam knew it. He made a terrible mistake; so, he hid as God called out for Him. For a moment, eating the fruit was exactly what he wanted. When he was done, he was still unfulfilled, but he couldn’t take it back. He was made in the image of God, to be God’s own prized creation. He walked with God and talked to Him.He lived in the definition of Paradise, and now, he could never go back. Now, a lot of people would ask how God expelling them from the Garden is kind. In all honesty, God didn’t owe Adam anything. God could have easily destroyed Adam and Eve and just started over, but he didn’t. Even though Adam and Eve chose to disobey, God was still loving and kind and merciful. There are always consequences for our actions, and the Bible tells us that God disciplines those He loves(Proverbs 3:12, Hebrews 12:6). That doesn’t mean that discipline is pleasant. The first verse of Adam’s regret fades into the chorus of repentance.

Forgive me, Lord. Forgive me, Lord- for living like I’m not yours. I forget how kind you are.  You are light for my foolish heart.

The second verse reminds us that we, too, fall into the same trap as Adam. We may not live in a physical paradise, but the spirit of God dwells inside of us. Time and time again, we choose our own desires over God’s will for us. Those sins, whatever they may be, have no place in our lives…unless we give them a place. Fox was an interesting choice for TAN to use. The best reference to them in the Bible was Song of Solomon 2:15. In this verse, foxes are what spoil the blooming vineyards. We each have foxes in our lives that spoil the blessings God wants to give us. Whether it be an addiction, a mindset, or that habit we just can’t kick. It destroys every good thing God is trying to do in our lives and every situation God wants to work in. The problem is, we allow these things in. We give the foxes permission to run wild in our lives. Why would we do that? The second verse gives a good explanation. “I thought You(God) were holding out on me now, to keep me from being free.” John 10:10 says”The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” God doesn’t want to hold anything back from those who follow him(Psalm 84:11). The thief comes to kill, steal, and destroy the blessings God has for us. God wants to give us the full, abundant life that we’ve been missing without him. Yet, we think we know better. We forget that we are His. We choose what we think is best instead of trusting our Creator. We are just like Adam, sitting outside of the garden and regretting our decisions. We live as if we don’t know who God is, and like we don’t belong to Him. We forget that God could easily choose to ignore us and leave us alone, but He doesn’t. He continues to pursue us. His love is constant and relentless in winning us back to Him. Even when we choose not to follow Him, He loves us.

It’s after we realize what we’ve done, in that moment of repentance where we say “Forgive me for living like I’m not yours”, that we truly remember who God is.There is no one who can ever compare to the faithfulness of God. He alone is the one who that brings light to the darkest parts of us. I love that the song ends with them repeating “You are mine, Lord, and I’m yours.” The echo of Song of Solomon 6:3 that “I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine.” The permanent, forever kind of love that God promises us if we choose to trust Him.
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#BackToTheBook

So, I have a confession. I got a little overzealous about Tenth Avenue North’s new album called Cathedrals. One of the reasons I love TAN is because they focus on Jesus, and not the hype of being a band. At their shows, I’d be totally okay with just listening to them talk about Jesus, even though their music is fantastic.  They are amazing at pulling scripture and using it for their music. Here’s the problem: Even thought Tenth Avenue North is honoring God with their music, they are not God.  It’s not not their fault I paid too much attention to their album. It’s mine. Without realizing it, I let this be an idol for me.   In today’s society, we turn so many things into idols. An idol is simply anything we put above God in our lives.Did I pray to TAN? No, of course not. Did I get really excited to tell people about their great new album? Did I work it into conversations with people? Did I drive to 4 different stores in order to find the stinking CD? Yes, yes, and yes.

I wish I got as excited to read my Bible as I did to listen to the songs I haven’t heard. I wish I would have focused on telling those who needed it about God’s hope and promises.  Psalm 106: 19-21 tells the story of the Israelites and their issue with idols”

19They made a calf at Horeb,
    bowing down to a metal idol.
20 They traded their glorious God
    for an image of a bull that eats grass.
21 They forgot the God who saved them—
    the one who had done great things in Egypt.

While slaves in Egypt, the Israelites were surrounded by the religions of the locals. This meant idols were everywhere. People who bowed to statues and worshiped animals as gods. When God sent Moses to free them from slavery, they returned to praising the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They saw God physically make a path for them when the sea split and they walked across dry land. Then, the wandered in the Wilderness. They got frustrated and afraid God would no longer provide; so, they went back to their old habits from their past. They used their jewels to make the shape of a calf, a simple animal that eats plants. They bowed to this statue instead of trusting a God who had a track record of coming to their rescue. The Common English Bible translation I quoted above says “They forgot the God who saved them.” Ouch. That’s what our teen ministry would call a #JesusJuke. Think about the plagues of the Passover story. God performed those miracles through Moses to save them from their current situation. How could they forget that? Then, they make a statue and pray to it. What were they thinking?  How often do we return to our past out of fear, even when we know God has provided? We forget how God has been faithful in our lives, and we go back to worthless things we know won’t satisfy. When it’s all over, we say to ourselves: “What was I thinking?”

So where do I go from here? I’m getting #BackToTheBook. I’m going to take the thing I put above God, and put God back where He belongs– at the top. I’m going to take each song from Tenth Avenue North’s new album, and bring it back to the source, the Bible. I know they have a devotional app that is doing basically the same thing, but I’m choosing not to cheat. I’m going to do it on my own, and then I’ll compare notes to see what they came up with. Here’s to putting God back on the throne.

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