Robbing God

I’m trying to make a concerted effort to read my Bible more often, especially specific books in the Old Testament.  While I’ve read and been a part of many studies concerning the more popular historical events of the Old Testament, I haven’t spent as much time as I should delving into the more obscure books or stories.  All of God’s word is beneficial (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and I’ve found one such passage that may really shed some light on our distinct ability to not always give God our best.

Have you ever wondered why we human beings tend to settle?  Maybe it’s a learned behavior, maybe it’s comfortable, maybe it’s just ingrained in our psyche to take the easy way out.  For whatever reason, we seem to find satisfaction in the pleasures of this world; just a simple case of instant gratification.  It would be proper at this juncture to mention that it was God himself who created this world and he meant for us to enjoy it, but our propensity for sin has us usually settling for less than the best God has to offer.  Sin has a way of doing that doesn’t it?  It always promises great things and always under-delivers on those promises.

I believe one of the most insidious sins and one in which we all partake in, whether we want to admit it or not, is idolatry.  This isn’t the golden calf or graven image kind of idolatry of our predecessors.  We’re too smart for that right?  No, it’s the kind of idolatry where we rob God of what he truly deserves…us!  We may not realize we rob God, but we do almost every day when we settle for the world instead of relishing a relationship with Him.  When we look forward to our next vacation more than we do our next opportunity to worship, we are robbing God.  When we’re more satisfied with alcohol or money or sports or sex than we are with God, we have effectively stolen ourselves from him.  It’s like an act of adultery to be betrothed to our perfect Savior Jesus Christ, and then find more pleasure in the arms of our vices.  Just think about these examples of how people sell out to the world.

  • Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of stew.
  • Samson sold his secret of strength for a one-night stand.
  • David sold his integrity for another man’s wife.
  • Judas sold his very own soul for only thirty pieces of silver.

What do you sell in your life to gain your own personal desires?  You may say you don’t, but I bet the price is far lower than you think.  Even Jesus asked, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul” (Matthew 16:26)?  Apparently, he knew that we all must pay with something.  Pay with your soul to gain the world, and you lose out on any inheritance in Christ.  Pay with a sacrificial life to gain God (Matthew 16:24-25), and you will indeed gain an everlasting life with him.

Now, back to that passage in the Old Testament I was referring to earlier.  The text is found in Ezekiel chapter 8 and it’s an interesting foreshadow of our world today.  Ezekiel is showed a vision of how idolatry had taken over the temple of God.  His own people were committing great abominations in the very sight of God and they reached a point of arrogance about it (Ezekiel 8:12).  God referred to these acts of sin as idol worship and described them as the “idol that provokes to jealousy” (Ezekiel 8:3).  Our God is a jealous God (Exodus 34:14) and he doesn’t want us to settle.  He has, time and again, proven his faithfulness and love, and his children continue to turn their noses up at his grace and mercy.

Are we any different?  Sadly, I don’t think so.  Even worse, WE are the temple of the holy God today (1 Corinthians 3:16).  There is no building or ark of the covenant that God resides in.  He lives within each of his children, so you can imagine the hurt he feels when we put idols above our Father.  We commit acts of idolatry every day if we put anything before God.  We create the very idol that “provokes to jealousy,” and God is left disappointed that we don’t give him the glory he deserves.

What idols are you using to rob God?  Is there anything in your life that you’ve sold out for, anything that has taken a seat on the throne where God deserves to be?  Remember your first love (Revelation 2:4) and don’t allow Satan and this world to distract you from the God who has given you everything you’ll ever need.

-Joe

 

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6 thoughts on “Robbing God

  1. Amen Joe – everything you said is so true. It is very easy to let things of the world distract you from focusing on God. I try very hard to read my Bible almost every day. Presently I am reading Genesis. I find if I read God’s word it makes me wake up and give more of myself to God.

    1. Joe Butler

      I guess I just wanted to make the point that we all participate in idolatry when we put anything in this world ahead of God. I’m guilty of it in many ways when I think only of myself or when I know God is urging me do something and I won’t act because of a lack of faith.

  2. Great words Joe….you’ve said everything right. I am currently in the process of publishing my first book and one of the chapters spoked about our relationship with God. It doesn’t matter who we have relationship with, whether it’s our husbands, wife, children, co-workers…once God isn’t at the center of it, that relationship wouldn’t survive. You’re right, OUR God is a very Jealous God and he doesn’t want us to serve any other gods or worshiping idols other than him. In Matthew 10:37, he said that “He that loveth his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth his son or daughter more than me is not worty of me.” They’re so many things in the world that we worship more than we we pay attention to God and like you’ve said, he lives in us and he hurts when we chose to worship other things besides him. I hope that people are really reading and understanding the things people preaches and teaches about God so that on that day when their names are called, it would be for eternal life.

    1. Joe Butler

      Absolutely. I want to hear my name on that day and know I did everything in my power to help others hear their name as well. God is far to good to his children not to give him everything he deserves. Sure, this life is pretty amazing and God has created many things that are wonderful and rewarding, but none of what we have here on earth even comes close to the glory of God.

      1. Exactly, I think it’s greed and selfishness in a lot of us that’s gonna cause us to lose our soul. Continue to do what you’re doing, your reward is coming!

  3. Light Ministry Blog

    A great reminder for all of us Joe. Maybe it is Satan who is responsible for the temptation, but we do tend to do the easy thing many times. We do get comfortable with things like not studying the word, or praying as we should…robbing God of ourselves. A very good post to remind us of an important fact of Christian life!

    Steve

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