The Story of the Old Testament is one of failure. Adam and Eve did what was right in their own eyes, and brought a curse on the earth. Cain, rather than mastering his sin, killed his brother. From here, we see a downward spiraling motion of person after person seeking his or herself over God's design. So God chose Abraham to show His glory. Yet Abraham's descendants were no different. In Israel, they sought other gods, doing what was right in their own eyes. A generation would rise up that knew the Lord, and another would falter, and, as Judges says:
"But whenever the judge died, they turned back and were more corrupt than their fathers, going after other gods, serving them and bowing down to them. They did not drop any of their practices or their stubborn ways."
Over and again, they would return to God, but end up even more corrupt than before. They would cry out to God for help, then return to the detestable practices when there was peace. This didn't improve during the time of the Israel and Judah's Kings. in fact, it became worse: they would act religiously toward God, observing sacrifices and rituals, but then turn to their own detestable practices and served other gods that were man-made and celebratory of human corruption.
So what does this mean for us? Why bother mentioning it? I don't think we learn our lessons either. We return to the things that hurt us, even after God rescues us time and again. We forget the God who saves us, and calls us to Himself. We run after what pleases our eyes, as opposed to seeking God's will, and raising up generations after us who do the same. Ingratitude causes a rift between us and God, and makes us see ourselves in a larger role than we really play. We worship success and prosperity, as opposed to the God who made and provides it all. And so our own cycle of depravity reflects the one we see in Scripture. What's the solution? Where is our help? Humbly, let's seek Jesus, and to teach those who come up after us to do the same. Let us seek to be grateful in all circumstances, whether in plenty or need, and let us seek to be grateful to God in all we say and do. It is only by putting God first that we can truly be focused on what is important.
1 Thessalonians 5:12-24
We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.