Heaven at this point in the Bible has pretty much been ignored. Unless I missed it, there has been no promise of everlasting life in the kingdom of heaven. So, the question comes up, why worship God at this point?
Growing up, the promise of heaven was the reward for having a good Christian life. Even though I should have wanted to understand the world, have a relationship with God, and just be a generally good person, I saw religion as the dues to a very exclusive club.
I think my thought process was par for the course as far as a child goes, at least in our reward driven society. It is kind of like when a child asks why.
I did this a lot. I would ask why, why, why. And my parents were pretty good at answering.
Why does dad go to work?
To make money.
So we have a place to live and food to eat.
Because we will die otherwise.
Because the body cannot survive without food.
Because God made it that way.
No one knows. (Eerie silence)
These conversations were common. I don’t think I ever asked, but I remember questioning why people go to church, read the Bible, and try to be good. I could always answer that question myself and the answer was, to go to heaven.
It is a selfish reason, but it sufficed at the time. I truly think there are many people who follow that thought process as adults. They aren’t necessarily interested in being a better human or understanding the not understandable, they simply want the best possible after life just as they want the possible current life.
This leads me to the question… At the time of King Solomon, the Israelites have a covenant with God, but what is their reward? There has been no mention of an afterlife where they get to sit with God himself. There has not been mention of a hell that could be avoided with good deeds. There hasn’t been mention of much of anything outside of known conscious reality.
I can only assume that they did it for protection. To have the best possible current life, they traded their bad behavior for safety. But, the covenant was so oppressive that they constantly broke the rules and when that happened not only were they not protected by God, they were punished by him.
It seems as though they did not get any real protection because when they sinned God became a temporary enemy. Without God, they would have had their geographic enemies, but with him they also have to deal with his wrath.
The most logical answer to me is they did it because God made them. Just as he hardened the Pharaoh’s heart, he may have opened the Israelite’s minds to him. In order to have the great story of the rise of the Israelites, God may have implanted the idea in their head.
This seems very logical. It was God’s message to Joseph that he would rule over his brothers that caused them to sell him to Egypt. It was God’s message to Abraham to leave the plains of Sodom so he would not be destroyed. It seems that God could have made the Israelites make the covenant.
I assume the promise of heaven will be included at some point, but I don’t know why. If it was part of the deal why wasn’t it part of the deal in the beginning? And what of the souls of those who were not promised it, but died and passed on?
Bible Read: Kings 1 5