"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:14
Father, give us deep insight into Your Word today in the name of Jesus Christ!
Yesterday we were looking at idol worship with the children of Israel (and thinking about idols in our own lives!). Remember God's people were spit into two kingdoms, Israel and Judah? We were following Israel and learning how they turned to other gods because they did "not trust in the Lord their God."
The Lord becomes very angry with them and "removed them from His presence." How sad! The chosen people, the children of God, to be removed from His presence. I am reminded of when Moses and the children of Israel were wandering in the wilderness, and the people were constantly grumbling and complaining and NOT trusting God. God at one point gets so fed up with the people, that He tells Moses, "OK, go into the Promised Land. I will send an angel before you to drive out your enemies. BUT, My presence will NOT go with you!" Moses refused to go! He said he would rather be in the desert wilderness WITH God than in the abundant, wonderful land of promise flowing with milk and honey WITHOUT God! What faith! May I always have the same attitude!
So, Israel is removed from God's presence, and we shortly read that God allows them to be taken into exile. But, notice this only happens after they "persisted in all their sins and did not turn away from other gods." And, we read that God had continually "warned them through all His servants the prophets." Proverbs 1:30-31 says, "...since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes."
Yesterday we were cutting apples for a snack. The first one we cut into looked beautiful. It was large and red and looked delicious. But, when we cut into it, it was BLACK on the inside! It was so gross! There was no way anyone would want to eat this fruit.
As I think on this verse, I wonder how many "bad apples" I have eaten because I have refused to accept His advice or listen to His rebuke? How many times when the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit has tried to warn me, do I turn my head and walk in my own ways because "I know better" (at least I think I do!)? Oh, Lord, give me ears to hear and a soft pliable heart to obey!
Well, what really got me in today's reading is when we read about Judah (the other kingdom of the children of Israel.) Verses 18-19 say, "So the Lord was angry with Israel and removed them from His presence. Only the tribe of Judah was left, and even Judah did not keep the command of the Lord their God. (NOW LISTEN TO THIS!) THEY FOLLOWED THE PRACTICES ISRAEL HAD INTRODUCED." And, sadly, they, too were removed from God's presence.
Wow! I was pondering this, and I wondered how many times do I look to other Believers INSTEAD of God and His Word in how to live? Sometimes we even begin rationalizing sin because we see other Believers doing it, and we think, "Well, if they are doing it, it must not be that bad. Maybe it is OK..." My mom (and maybe yours, too!) used to say to me when I was a kid, "If everyone else jumped off of the bridge, would you do it?"
For me, this story really brings home the fact that although I treasure the encouragement of others, I need to keep my eyes on Him and look to God to guide my walk. I need to seek Him daily. I need to "set my heart and mind on things above, not on earthly things." (Col. 3:1). I need to read His Word so that I can be filled with His Truth. I need to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide me! I need to heed His warnings that He so generously gives!
Jude (New Test., right before Revelation) says, "But dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said, 'In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.' These men follow mere natural instincts (here is where our own "reasoning" comes in!) and do not have the Spirit. But YOU, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most Holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit."
So, my dear friends, I pray that you, too, will build yourselves up in the most Holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. My prayer is that you continue to seek Him with all of your heart. Keep your eyes on the eternal. And, finally, may you bask in His presence! May you be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God! May you be filled with all grace, love, and joy!
Be blessed today! Keep pressing on!
"To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy- to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen."