Abandoning God In the little things
Joshua stood before the people and declared, "as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord," and the crowd went wild. They affirmed his stand and pledged their lives as well. Then they passed away, and a generation rose up who didn't know what the Lord had done for them and they ABANDONED God.
We are created for worship and as the old song writer Bob Dylan wrote,
But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed, You're gonna have to serve somebody, It may be the devil or it may be the Lord, But you're gonna have to serve somebody.
The Israelites abandoned God to serve the Baals, the gods of the people in the land. In the sight of God it was evil, not only because Baal worship envolved child sacrifice, immoral behavior, and self mutilation, but because they had given their hearts to something that was not true and living. They were reckless children, unappreciative offspring who ungratefully abandoned their loving father.
There were consequences. God removed His hand of protection, and the peopled of the land plundered the Israelites and subjected them into servitude. They didn't realize how much God had protected them.
I am glad that I have not abandoned God, or have I? "You can't serve two masters", Jesus said. I can't serve God and money. You can replace money with anything. Can't serve God and children, spouse, job, recreation, passions, ambition, dreams, or self. Each day I have to chose who I will serve. Each day I decide whether or not to abandon God.
Abandoning God looks different today than it did for the ancient Israelites. It could be choosing to worship idols of stone or convert to another faith, but, more often than not, it consists of little things that I chose to do or believe in place of My Heavenly Father, in Christ.
It can manifest itself in doubt, lack of prayer, avoidance of God's word, or being too tired to be at church on Sunday. Yet, the real culprit lies deep, to whom does my heart belong? I can fake the manifestations. My behavior can look just right. But where is my heart? Who/what do I worship? Who do I serve?
There are consequences to abandoning God. The Holy Spirit is grieved. Bad company corrupts good morals. Blessings are withheld. The world crowds God out until there isn't any difference between us and them. At first abandonning God feels good. The lack of restraint, the feel of freedom, the rush of hedonism leads us right into the jaws of the roaring lion, and before you know it we are consumed by the darkness.
Free! Free to run everywhere, nowhere. It can be a lonely and empty place in the midst of the wild fervor of the lost. Yet, in the darkness there is a light, ever so small, ever so distant, beckoning me to come home. Who will I serve today? I'm just saying.