Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Sampling Of Beats and the Deceitfulness of Sin...

Call it nostalgia... call it a sickness... but I can remember the lyrics to just about every line of the 1990 song "Ice Ice Baby."

Although MTV was hugely popular among my peers, I grew up with my parent's record player pumping out sounds from bands like America ("Horse with No Name"), Kansas ("Dust in the Wind") and Three Dog Night's "Joy To The World")... with a little Chicago thrown in for good measure (Boom and Boom).

I had no idea that David Bowie and Queen had collaborated on a song called "Under Pressure" with its distinct bass line. Vanilla Ice (a.k.a. Robert Matthew Van Winkle) was roundly criticized, not for sampling the audio from "Under Pressure" (which was a fairly common practice) but for not giving credit for it until after the song became a #1 hit (Info on this and other copyright infringement cases in music).

But this really isn't about Vanilla Ice, or the music I grew up listening to in my living room... this is really about the deceitfulness of sin and lengths to which we will go to conceal it.

We are experts at convincing ourselves of things, whether true or not. In fact, I think we often find ourselves "convinced" of things that are not true and yet writhe in doubt over things in which we can and should have sincere confidence. This isn't something that just "happens" to us. We don't just drift into it and then wonder how we got there. We actually chose to go there.

Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
on the day of testing in the wilderness,
where your fathers put me to the test
and saw my works for forty years.
Therefore I was provoked with that generation,
and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart;
they have not known my ways.’
As I swore in my wrath,
‘They shall not enter my rest.’”
Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
(Hebrews 3:7-13 ESV)

In chapter 3 the writer of Hebrews is calling to those who would listen to learn from the pattern of God's people who, instead of turning to God in their rebellion, only hardened their hearts and became more lost. The writer of hebrews is referencing Psalm 95:7-11 which is referencing Exodus chapter 17 where the people grumbled and doubted that God was even with them even though God had miraculously parted the Red Sea for their escape from their pursuers in Egypt and even provided bread to fall from heaven to feed them in the wilderness. In Hebrews 3 God provides water from a rock to satisfy their thirst in spite of their grumbling and doubt.

What does this have to do with Vanilla Ice?

At the 1:42 mark of the video above, Mr. Van Winkle says, "it doesn't sound anything like 'Under Pressure.'" He has convinced himself (at least for the interview) that his version of that bass line is So distinct that you can't even compare it to the original.

This is a sample (pun intended) of what the writer of Hebrews is cautioning against in verse 13 above. "But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." (emphasis mine)

Sin deceives. That is the nature of sin. It sets itself up against Truth and against God. It casts doubt to cover itself. Sin casts doubt on things that are true and should be believed and props up half-truths and falsehood in order to masquerade as virtuous and right.

If we follow Hebrews back into Exodus we read that God soon leads his people to the mountain and invites Moses up to bring the Law to God's people to help them and point them to righteousness. Yet, when Moses comes down they are bowing down to a golden idol they made with their own hands. It didn't take too long for doubt to creep in and convince them that melting down their jewelry to fashion a cow and bow down to it was a good idea.

"Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God." (Heb 3:12)

The reality is that it doesn't take long for unbelief to creep in and for us to begin thinking that something else is is better than what God has for us. And soon after that we may find ourselves not only believing what is untrue to proclaiming what is untrue to mask and cover up the unbelief.

The solution? Hebrews 4:14-16 RIGHTS our attention onto the Hope in which we CAN believe:

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
(Hebrews 4:14-16 ESV)

God help us believe more and more in Christ.

**If you'd like a good (funny) lyrical analysis of "Ice Ice Baby" from Aaron Gray you can read it HERE.

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