Reading through the Old Testament, I often marvel how the Israelites continually turned away from God. Couldn’t they see how powerful He was? Hadn’t they been witness to incredible miracle after miracle? They had heard the voice of God and seen His presence descend among them. More than anyone, it seems they would have been compelled to a state of constant thankfulness and worship. Yet we read that time and again they turned their back on God and did what was evil in His sight. From the perspective of history we look back on them and think, “How stupid could they be?” It’s so easy to judge the shortcomings of others while being oblivious to the failings in our own life.
It strikes me that I am just like the Israelites. I have seen the Lord’s blessings in my life time and again. I have observed occurrences that have no explanation short of the hand of God. Yet still I am tempted by the things this world has to offer; still my attention can be directed in ways not pleasing to Him. Recently I have been focusing on the thought of not turning to the right or to the left, but only moving straight ahead. When I am wavering, the Lord has brought verses to my mind concerning Israel, how they did what was evil in His sight. I am reminded of those great servants of God about whom the Bible says followed Him in all their ways. That is the person I want to be. I want to be the one who finds favor in the sight of God because I consider His ways in all my endeavors. I do not want to be the one who chases after his own thoughts and desires.
Jim Rohn liked to say that the Bible was full of two kinds of stories, those that show us what to do, and those that show us what not to do. We have great examples on how we should or should not behave, we simply need to read and study the Word of God to determine how to live our lives. The Bible does not contain every circumstance or decision you will ever face, but it does contain every principle you will need in order to handle the situation. When we are committed to following Jesus with our whole heart, when we dedicate ourselves to walking in His way, He will make our paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6). We aren’t guaranteed an easy road, but we are assured of a right direction. Regardless of the difficulties we face, knowing that we are not turning away from the Lord in any way will bring satisfaction and peace to our lives. Nothing brings more comfort than doing what is right in the sight of the Lord and acting on all that He has told us to do.
Can you relate to the Israelites as well? Have you seen God move in your own life only to later forget and carry on with business as usual? We have countless examples in the Bible of those who chased after God with all their heart, and those who turned away to pursue their own selfish desires. It never ends well for those who turn away from God. The only question then is whether or not we will be wise enough to learn from the examples of those who humbled themselves before the Lord and received His blessings, or face the consequences of following those who rebelled against their God. Following Christ is really very simple, we need only worship Him alone and do the things He told us to do. More often than any of us want to admit, however, we are far more interested in chasing after the temporary comforts of this world.
So what will you do? Will you give all that you are to follow Jesus and obey His commands? Or will you turn your back on all He has done for you and worship the selfish and powerless things of this world? Looks fade, money burns and houses crumble; there is nothing permanent except for the love and mercy of Christ. Don’t be like the foolish examples in the Bible. Do what is right in His eyes and worship the Lord with all of your heart, soul and mind. May we be pleasing to Him in all our ways; let us live that we might be worthy of His sacrifice in every moment of our lives.