Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, first posted on September 12, 2015, is written by Andy Kim who is an associate pastor at Radiance Christian Church in San Francisco. Andy is a graduate of Northwestern University and Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.).
Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend
“The Peril of Not Paying Attention”
2 Kings 17:14-23
But they would not listen, but were stubborn, as their fathers had been, who did not believe in the Lord their God. 15 They despised his statutes and his covenant that he made with their fathers and the warnings that he gave them. They went after false idols and became false, and they followed the nations that were around them, concerning whom the Lord had commanded them that they should not do like them. 16 And they abandoned all the commandments of the Lord their God, and made for themselves metal images of two calves; and they made an Asherah and worshiped all the host of heaven and served Baal.17 And they burned their sons and their daughters as offerings[a] and used divination and omens and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger. 18 Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them out of his sight. None was left but the tribe of Judah only.
One sad situation in a relationship is when a guy believes that the girl likes him when, to her, he is no more than a friend. Not getting the clue, he continues to launch useless and costly attempts to woo the girl. Anything and everything, which to everyone else is an indication of her lack of interest, becomes misguided signals of interest to him. We call this stubbornness, or the peril of not paying attention. In today’s text, we see a stubborn nation that refused to listen to a patient God who, in his mercy, sends every prophet and seer to warn the Israelites of their sin.
So, what led to Israel’s stubbornness against God? First, their ears were more attentive to their own desires rather than to God’s. We call this selective hearing and we’re so good at it. For instance, we only like to listen to the positive encouragements of God, and refuse to listen to the hard truths of God because it makes us feel better. Subsequently, this leads to creating our own notions of God’s character and will to fit our lives. Secondly, selective hearing led Israel toward the path of preferring the idols of the nations that claimed to control elements critical to abundant harvest, such as rain and fertility (strong animals to till the land). This resulted in Israel compromising their beliefs but also partaking in detestable practices of the world. Because they stopped trusting God, they stopped following Him. Ironically, the more stubborn the Israelites were being toward God, they became increasingly more accommodating to the things of the world.
Take a moment and ask yourself: Has God been speaking to me? Sometimes we want the worldly things so bad that we won’t recognize the writing on the wall. Like a guy who continues to misread the girl’s signals, we misread or ignore God’s. Rather than allowing God to determine how or what is acceptable, we let the preconceived notions that we have created for ourselves to be “faith” itself; in this way we deceive ourselves to our own spiritual detriment—the peril of not paying attention.
Let’s take some time to repent of our stubbornness and the ways in which we have ignored God. Listen to what God is saying and allow Him to restore our faith in Him rather than the fleeting desires of the world. Let us dive into the Scriptures to remind ourselves who God truly is rather than the user-friendly version we’ve concocted.
Prayer: Holy and righteous God, I confess my tendency to speak a false truth into my reality that is so influenced by trends, culture, and social media. I repent of having compromised my morals and values rooted in your eternal Word. Help me to accept the hard truths that You have been speaking to me. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Genesis 20-21