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Human Fickleness

By Frank Chesser

religion, articles, christianity

The man at Lystra had been a "cripple from his mother's womb" (Acts 14:8). He had never experienced the simple joy of walking. With wishful, longing, envious eyes, he could only watch while other children ran and played. Now a man, he listened intently as Paul preached. The faith that comes by hearing settled in his heart. Discerning the presence thereof, Paul with God as the source, gave life and strength to impotent limbs and with indescribable joy, he "leaped and walked" (Acts 14:10).

In an emotional frenzy, the people of Lystra robed Paul and Barnabas in the mental garb of deity, named them after their gods, and were scarcely restrained from expressing homage at their feet with sacrificial oxen. While still encompassed in the aura of worship, certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium arrived in Lystra, incited the people, and "having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead" (Acts 14:19). Human fickleness drove the people from a desire to worship Paul and Barnabas to attempted murder.

God terminated Israel's bondage in Egypt with a massive exhibition of divine power. However, just 72 hours was sufficient to supplant gratitude and a song of praise with a critical heart and murmuring spirit (Ex. 15:22-24).

Israel fled in horror as God devoured Korah and company in the heart of the earth and consumed 250 of their princes with fire. However, one night was ample time to dissipate their fear and revive their relentless spirit of rebellion (Num. 16). Human fickleness reached its climax when "Hosana to the Son of David" (Matt. 21:9), was converted into the most horrendous cry of the ages, "Crucify Him, crucify Him" (Luke 23:21).

The vacillating spirit is a human scourge. Elders who love God, truth, and the souls of men have often been prayed for on Sunday and cursed on Monday. Preachers endeavoring to proclaim the whole counsel of God have frequently sailed on the ship of human praise one week and then been forced to ride on the Mayflower moving van the next. Arrows of commendation and condemnation come forth from the same quiver. "Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be" (James 3:10).

Published March 1996