12 June 2013

Into the weeds.

Scripture: 1 Kings 12:29-33

"He placed these calf idols in Bethel and in Dan--at either end of his kingdom.  But this became a great sin, for the people worshiped the idols, traveling as far north as Dan to worship the one there.  Jeroboam also erected buildings at the pagan shrines and ordained priests from the common people--those who were not from the priestly tribe of Levi.  And Jeroboam instituted a religious festival in Bethel, held on the fifteen the day of the eighth month, in imitation of the annual Festival of Shelters in Judah   There at Bethel he himself offered sacrifices to the calves he had made, and he appointed priests for the pagan shrines he had made.  So on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, a day that he himself had designated, Jeroboam offered sacrifices on the altar at Bethel.  He instituted a religious festival for Israel, and he went up to the altar to burn incense."

Observation: I know this is the ultimate Cliff's Notes version of this story . . . but even so, how easily the Israelites were led into something so totally against the faith they had been taught, and supposedly lived.

Application: I know people are people . . . and that I, PERSONALLY, am subject to the same weaknesses, albeit sans an actual golden calf.  What, in my life have I followed popular culture off into the weeds on?  What part of my practice of faith is twisted and convoluted into something, while recognizable, completely perverts the purposes of the Lord in my life?

(What was it with the Israelites and calves, anyway? Why would they so eagerly worship one of the very things that the law required as sacrifice? And sacrifice calves to a golden calf? That's just really twisted.)

Prayer: God, please please please, grant me discernment.  Let me see myself, and my actions, as You do.  Suffer me not to be led into temptation, but let every red alert klaxon sound at the first whisper of the enemy in my ear, of the first deceptive emotion the evil one tries to pass off as my own.  Show me more of Your love, more of the Holy Spirit, so the enemy's ability to deceive me grows ever weaker, and my devotion and love of Your Light grows ever stronger and more entrenched day by day.  In the name of He who is the Light of the World, Jesus Christ, amen.

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I welcome questions and concerns--they are most often what spur us closer to the truth. I only ask that we all give everyone the most generous benefit of the doubt, assigning the best motives possible. A soft answer truly does turn away wrath, and an atmosphere of Jesus's love is the best for learning, no matter which side of a discussion you're on.

Thanks so much, and God bless you!