“For in the things through which they suffered distress, since they were tortured by the very things they deemed gods, they saw and recognized the true God whom before they had refused to know”
In chapter 12 of Wisdom, the author is explaining God's providence over his people specifically during the time of exodus. If you recall in exodus, the people of God often found themselves doubting God only to find themselves begging for forgiveness and mercy in times of crisis. They made idols of golden calves and put their faith in worldly things. Today we may not idolize golden calves, but we do often place so much importance on worldly things that they almost become "gods" to us. The lesson being taught over two thousand years ago still applies to us today. Let us break down Wisdom 12,7."For in the things"
What does the word things consist of? I remember when I was young and I didn't know how to describe something I just called it a thing. It's a broad term for any material object without life or consciousness.
"Through which they suffered distress"
The author notes that some of these "things" cause distress in people's lives. If you read the two quotes together, you'll see that he is speaking only of those things that cause distress. You will also note that he uses "suffered" as a description. Obviously these "things" are causing problems in the lives of those who use them.
"since they were tortured by the very things they deemed gods"
This is the line that probably caught your attention. I know it did me. Speaking of those who suffer from these "things," the author explains to us that these things were deemed gods in the eyes of the possessor. They were "tortured" by these "things (lifeless objects)" that they deemed gods! These were not things they cared little about. He's not talking about a rock or a stick, but about prized possessions. Hes talking about valuable material goods that are highly valued by the people of the time whatever that may be. These material items that were once so valuable and precious are now the very things that cause the most pain. Ironic and often times very true.
"they saw and recognized the true God whom before they had refused to know”
Often times it takes times of serious distress for us to realize what is missing in our lives. Why is it in times of tragedies such as 9-11 there are record numbers of church goers? Why is it that often times, a dying person will ask for a priest so that he can confess his or her sins? It is a natural reaction in times of torture and distress that we turn to God. Unfortunately, it takes life changing events before many come to recognize God. Fortunately life changing events do take place in people's lives and they do eventually come to recognize God. They had once refused to know God. Refused to know are interesting words. It does not say that they couldn't have known God before, but rather it was a conscious decision to not know God. God is present in the Holy Spirit and in each and every person. If you look closely at anyone, you can see the presence of God. It may be hard to find in some cases, but he is present in each one of us. The Holy Spirit guides our conscious, but we do not always listen. Sometimes we think we know better or we'd rather ignore God's whispers in our ear because we'd rather not hear them. We'd rather satisfy ourselves with "things" than live a life of giving and thanksgiving to God. The important lesson to learn is that these "things" we think are valuable now, may be the very things that are causing us distress and refusing us to come to recognize and worship God. God is Lord. God is good. Praise God.