Monday, October 27, 2008

Falling Away from The Lord

Monday Monday......It's a little chilly here today, but it feels good for a change!
I've been trying to get up earlier, which is not my favorite thing to do, but I have so many things to do each day, and don't want to waste one precious minute of the life the Lord has given me.
Today I continue in Jeremiah 5: 20 - 25. We see here, the power of the Lord Almighty, and he says:
"Announce this to the house of Jacob and procliam it in Judah: Hear this, you foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see, who have ears but do not hear. Should you fear me?, declares the Lord. Should you not tremble in my presence? I made the sand a boundary for the sea, an everlasting barrier it cannot cross. The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail; they may roar, but they cannot cross it. But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts; they have turned aside and gone away. They do not say to themselves, 'Let us fear the Lord our God, who gives autumn and spring rains in season, who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest".
This reminds me of the parable of what we all know as "The Prodigal Son", spoken by Jesus in the Gospel of Luke 15. It was the message delivered yesterday in church, and it was focusing on the things people do that cause them to fall away from the Lord, as the son did, who demanded his inheritance early.
The first thing that causes that falling away, as we see in Jeremiah, and can see in our own lives, and the lives of others, is:
  1. Living out shameless self-interest - the prodigal son wanted to live his own life, and get his inheritance early, so he could "do his own thing". He would have gotten this inheritance when his father passed away, because of the way the Hebrew law was written, but his demanding it early, leads to his state of mind in reason #2(Luke 15:12)
  2. Considering God dead - he was in fact, telling his father that he was dead in his eyes, by wanting what was his before the appropriate time. (Luke 15:12) When we don't allow God in our lives, to guide us and be Lord, we are in effect, acting is if he were dead. That's what he was saying to his people in Jeremiah - their sinful behavior and selfish attitudes, caused them to act as though God didn't exist.
  3. Filling yourself with temporary pleasure - Just as the children of God in the passage from Jeremiah, the Prodigal, and many people today - there is a "squandering of wealth and wild living"(Luke 15:13). The world is developing more and more the mindset of, "you are in control of your life and have the power to make it what you want - do your own thing - live out your pleasures". There is a void in our hearts that God puts there at our creation, and HE is the only thing that can fill that void. We try to substitute many "things" to satisfy our fleshly wants and needs, but after awhile, they too become mundane.
  4. Refusing to acknowledge need - we've been reading how the children of God in the passages from Jeremiah, kept getting further and further away from their dependence on God; seeking out false gods and pagan activities. In the story of the Prodigal, it says in (Luke 15:14), "After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need". So he'd been living his life as HE wanted, not thinking of the future, and he found himself in a place that so many find themselves in today. Our whole economic system in the USA, and now across the world, is in dire danger because of the "squandering" of money.
  5. Trying to fix your own life - Oh I think we have all been in this situation at one time or another, and God tries to show us, by letting circumstances get tough at times, that we cannot do this on our own. (Luke 15:15) says:"So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs". Oh now to a Jew, there is nothing lower than pigs, and to get to the place in your life to where that's the only option you have......that's what we call nowdays, "beneath the layer of scum". And our lives can get to that point if we continue to live our lives with our self-interest, acting as though God doesn't exist, searching for "things" that will fill the void we feel, failing to acknowledge our need for God to lead us, we've tried to fix it on our own - we end up just like the people of Judah, and The Prodigal Son - destitute, alone and "living among pigs".
  6. Finding cheap substitutes for God - Jeremiah was told to go to the people and tell them that their lives were going to be judged because of their sin, and their lack of faith or devotion to the Lord, who had taken their fathers out of bondage in Egypt, and brought them to The Promised Land. They sought other gods, and lived selfishly, ending up in the hands of the enemy. (Luke 15:16) says: "He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything". He was to the point of wanting to fill his physical needs with the leftover slop from the pigs, but all those who had befriended him when he was out "partying and squandering his wealth with wild living", had all disappeared.

So is the way of the world now - there are so many who are wandering around lost and destitute - who might have even been raised in the church, and know the Word of God, but have decided to stray from that in search of a life they think will be better if they can just manage it themselves.

I know in my own life, I was the preacher's kid - in church everytime the door opened, had memorized large portions of the Bible - walked the aisle to get saved - got baptised - got involved in the youth group and went to camps. I left home the day after I graduated high school at the young age of 17, and church wasn't so important anymore - I was "free" to do my own thing; I lived life just like the Prodigal did - partying, spending what little money I had on things that brought me temporary pleasure - and I felt very alone. The Lord got my attention, when on July 26, 1979, I was in the office of Dr. Pedro Diaz- Borden, and he smiled when he told me that I was going to be having my first child in a few months. I knew I couldn't raise a child in the atmosphere I'd been living in - I was now responsible for another life; a life inside me, and soon to be in the world.

God got my attention in a good way, but sometimes we get so out of touch with the Lord, and so rebellious in our lives, that He has to allow things not so pleasant to occur, to point us the "way back home".

If you've found yourself in this situation - the Father is waiting with open arms, for you to come home to Him.

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