Leaving Babylon

Sep
2013
25

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“The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her

because no one buys their cargoes anymore –

 cargoes of gold, silver, precious stones & pearls . . .

and bodies and souls of men.

Revelations 18: 11-12

 

It’s hard to leave a country under any circumstances; but what if you leave your country, just to move to another country that’s the same?  If Babylon is a system, how do we leave?  Babylon is a man-made system where we all work to make a name for ourselves, as opposed to God’s system, where He’ll give us a name if we’re obedient.  The difficulty with living in Babylon is that it’s an exploitive system, because we can’t do it ourselves.  Once we realize how hard it is to supply all of our own needs without God, we start looking to use other people as tools to get what we want.  People have called the United States a modern-day Babylon, but does a country exist that is not  Babylon?

 

Regular readers know me as a human-trafficking abolitionist.  A while back, I was in the market for a knapsack.  Serendipitously, I passed a chain store, which had a sign advertising that their products were American-made and slave free.  Plus, they had a large collection of simple knapsacks in a variety of colors – just what I was looking for.  As I was making my purchase at the counter, I was listening to the music playing over their sound-system.  The lyrics were sexually-perverse, violent, misogynistic and disgusting.  Yes, I made a purchase at a slave-free store, but that store supports, through its own purchases, a belief system that weakens young girls and makes them vulnerable to exploitation.  I haven’t disentangled myself from this system.  I’m still in Babylon.

 

Right now, I don’t think it’s possible for one person to leave Babylon alone.  Leaving requires obedience to God, personal sacrifice, willingness to endure persecution, and collective action.  Abram obeyed God’s command to leave his people, and I can only image how hard that was for him.  Abram was obedient.  He left Babylon.  Yet, as soon as a famine arose in the land, he and Sarai returned to Egypt (Gen. 12:10).  Egypt may be a different country with different leadership, but it’s based on the same “do-it-yourself” system as Babylon.  Jacob and his family eventually settled in Canaan (Gen. 42:7), but another famine made Jacob send his sons to Egypt to buy food.  It’s hard for one person or one small group of people to survive on their own.  As soon as trouble comes, we go back to Egypt and Babylon.

 

What fascinates me is that both Abram & Jacob were both in Canaan when they turned to Egypt for help.  Isn’t Canaan supposed to be the land promised to them?  Maybe that means that, on this earth, the promised land is an ephemeral, temporary thing.  Several weeks ago I heard a pastor say, “Jesus is our Promised Land”.  The sentence stuck with me.  Until His return, I’m wondering what it takes for all of us to disengage this system, come out of Babylon, and create at least a temporary Canaan.  If you’ve got any thoughts on the matter, let me know.

 

Come. All you who are thirsty,

Come to the waters; and you who have no money

Come, buy and eat!

Come, buy wine and milk

Without money and without cost

Isaiah 55:1

 

 

BOW is my first experience in blogging, and my writing has undergone an evolution since I started. I use If I Knew Then What I Know Now to think aloud about my Christian walk. When you read it, my hope is that WE (the BOW community & friends) then discuss how to apply God's word into our everyday lives in a practical manner. As Christian lay-theologians, we'll talk about our world, and how we can be in it but not of it. So whatever your thoughts are about what you read, PLEASE share.
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