When he found one of his toys in the wrong place, “Oh no!” When his Mr Happy figure fell over, “Oh no!” When he dropped his cookie, “Oh no!” When a bean fell off his spoon, when his shoelace came untied, when his wind-up toy train stopped chugging along—all of these merited a loud and pained, “Oh no!” Everything was a catastrophe for little Mr. Drama King. But at least he paid attention to his world and he cared what happened in it. Can we say the same thing about our spiritual world any more?
I remember when every member of the church could quote scriptures. I remember when we all knew the basic Bible stories. I remember when we understood that Truth was absolute and that our acceptance of and obedience to it determined our eternal destiny. I even remember when you converted other people by showing them that their denomination’s practices and beliefs were not Biblical. They would do their best to prove you wrong. Now no one cares. They don’t have a clue what they are supposed to believe, and neither do we.
Now anyone who has questions about a statement from the pulpit, about a teaching in a Bible class, about the words of a new song is judged as having his knickers in a knot, as if it were something of no importance. His upset is inappropriate and unwelcome. He needs to “just calm down.” He finds himself the object of scorn and ridicule, his concerns swept aside as the foolish rantings of a crochety, usually older, narrow-minded alarmist. Never mind that this older person has seen things like this before and their inevitable results. Never mind that he has the wisdom of perspective that the younger not only do not have but cannot have. He—or she--is not respected, and never listened to. His “Oh no!” has become the expected song for him to sing and so goes in one ear and out the other.
God told the prophet Ezekiel that he was to be a watchman for his people. He was to sound the alarm when he saw the enemy approaching. Those people thought Ezekiel was crazy too. After all, who else but a lunatic would lie on his side and dig in the sand, depicting the siege of Jerusalem for day after day after day? Who else would not speak a word unless it was given him from God for week after week after week? Who else would pull out a handful of hair, throw some of it to the wind, tie some in his robe, and then stand hacking at the rest of it with a sword? None of that wacky behavior made what he said false. God told him that when the people wouldn’t listen—and He knew they wouldn’t--their blood was on their own heads.
Maybe it’s time we listened to a few alarmists. Maybe the alarm is legitimate. At least they are paying attention while we often go along accepting anything anyone says (or sings) just to avoid trouble. Maybe someone needs to holler, “Oh no!” once in awhile. And maybe we need to care as much as they do.
As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith…For there are many unruly men, vain talkers and deceivers…whose mouths must be stopped; men who overthrow whole houses, teaching things which they ought not… 1 Tim 1:3,4; Titus 1:10,11.