Have you ever watched a terribly predictable movie? After twenty minutes, or less, the plot rears its boring head and you know everything that is going to happen. It wasn’t your keen sense of deduction or mental prowess that ferreted out the details. In the place of subtle foreshadowing, these movies leave a trail of whole loaves instead of crumbs. Hallmark is the worse peddler for predictability. In the Christmas season, a decent plot is sidelined for a quick, sometimes unlikely, romance with a Christmas miracle. These leave you thinking, “I saw that coming.”
When you start reading through the Bible, there are some patterns that emerge that leave you thinking the same thing. It has nothing to do with the brilliance of inspired authors. It has to do with the predictability of humans. With some exceptions, we are terribly predictable. The cycle of sin that plays over and over throughout our history with God is quite repetitive. Start with Adam and Eve and the original sin (Gen. 3). In the time of Noah, “God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth” (Gen. 6:12). When we get to the period of the Hebrew people learning to trust God, we see the same cycle. Soon after leaving Egypt, they begin grumbling about going back (Ex. 15). At Sinai, Aaron built a golden calf and the people worshipped it (Ex. 32). The ten spies gave an unfaithful report and a whole generation was doomed to die in the desert (Num. 13-14). There was the rebellion of Korah in which the ground opened up and swallowed all the people and possessions of those rebellious people (Num. 16). When you get to the book of Judges, the people make a covenant with the Canaanites, then begin to serve Baal and the Ashtaroth (Judg. 2). Space would fail me to write of all the disobedience of God’s people throughout the ages.
These have been used as examples in the New Testament to warn us against that same cycle. The author of Hebrews writes, “Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God” (Heb. 3:12). “Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience” (Heb. 4:11). “See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven” (Heb. 12:25).
The end of the disobedient is terribly predictable. God warns us not to follow the same path (Matt. 7:13). When the time comes for our judgment, we want to be able to say with joy, “I saw this coming,” as we enter into the promised rest.