Friday morning I was getting ready to dash out the door to work when I felt God speaking to me. I had been reading Chuck Swindoll's Elijah: A Man of Heroism and Humility in preparation for meeting Elijah in the scriptures and I was pondering something I had read. Suddenly, I felt God nudge my heart and say, "Connect the dots, Karen. Look and see."
All of this makes perfect sense in my head and I am going to try and explain it here. Please forgive me if I do a poor job.
We have recently finished the story of David, a man after God's own heart. Although David had his shortcomings, he loved God and truly desired to follow Him and please Him.
"David always did what the Lord said was right and obeyed his commands all his life, except the one time when David sinned against Uriah the Hittite." 1 Kings 15:5
Then we have Solomon, a king raised and instructed by David. A man that God came and spoke to twice. A man who followed God for most of his life, in most things. And yet,
"As Solomon grew old, his wives caused him to follow other gods. He did not follow the Lord completely as his father David had done. Solomon worshiped Ashtoreth, the goddess of the people of Sidon, and Molech, the hated god of the Ammonites. So Solomon did what the Lord said was wrong and did not follow the Lord completely as his father David had done. On a hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built two places for worship. One was a place to worship Chemosh, the hated god of the Moabites, and the other was a place to worship Molech, the hated god of the Ammonites. Solomon did the same thing for all his foreign wives so they could burn incense and offer sacrifices to their gods." 1 Kings 11:4-8
I wonder if Solomon thought that it wasn't a big deal. Maybe it was a little something he could do to make his many wives happy. No problem, right? A little step off the path of righteousness, no one will notice. Every body's happy, what's the harm?
God was angry. And He stripped most of Solomon's kingdom from his son. Handed it right over to Jeroboam.
"Jeroboam built temples on the places of worship. He also chose priests from all the people, not just from the tribe of Levi. And he started a new festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, just like the festival in Judah. During that time the king offered sacrifices on the altar, along with sacrifices to the calves in Bethel he had made. He also chose priests in Bethel to serve at the places of worship he had made. So Jeroboam chose his own time for a festival for the Israelites—the fifteenth day of the eighth month. During that time he offered sacrifices on the altar he had built in Bethel. He set up a festival for the Israelites and offered sacrifices on the altar." 1 Kings 12:31-33
Mr. Swindoll has this to say about Jeroboam. "He is significant not only for his position as the first monarch of that era but also because he was the king who deliberately planted seeds of idolatry among the people of Israel. (p6)"
So, here are the dots. Do you already see them? We go from following God's path to straying just a little from God's path to complete immersion into sin and a total disregard for God Himself.
At first, I was very judgemental of the Israelites, wondering how on earth they could have fallen so far, so fast. But then there's God's voice again, nudging me, reminding me of how many times I've stepped "off to the side" for just a moment. Or so I tell myself. And then, suddenly I find myself so far from Him, with no idea how I could have ever gotten there.
I suppose my lesson for the week is a warning.
Connect the dots.
Follow the path.
Remember that any step from the path leads us to destruction.
Please feel free to join us at Bev's for her weekly recap. I'm praying for each one of you this week. Blessings!