“And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD.
They forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth.”
This morning, reading accounts of Israel’s turning away from the living God to serve idols instead, I began to wonder how they were drawn away so quickly. It reads as such an easy shift—God does all these mighty things for them, He delivers them from the hands of their enemies, and then as soon as the dust settles they start to follow the false gods of other nations.
The turning of a nation comes down to the individual choices within it. No one person determines the heart of an entire people. We each make our choice. So what could cause these many individuals to turn away from God? It may not have been every single person within Israel, but it was enough to make their rebellion the defining characteristic of the generation. It likely began with simple, small twists in their view of truth. Possibly a thought that the Law of God was a little too extreme. That the gods of other nations were easier to follow and didn’t ask so much of them.
An individual in Israel may have turned slowly from the Lord, gradually adapting to the other cultures around him, believing that his choice really didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. Because why would a God who created the universe and who rules over everything take note of what this one person chooses? He’s just one man. And he may be doing his best to live a good life and treat people well, just wanting to fit in and enjoy his days. So…what does it matter that he made his choice to serve another god?
Before Joshua died, he called the people to “choose this day whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15). Our individual choices matter. Your choice matters. As does mine. Whether it appears that our choice is going to make any impact around us or not, the God of heaven sees us and He does care what choice we make.
The rest of our lives could hinge on a decision made. A decision to either follow the Lord even in the smallest of ways or to turn aside to an easier or more preferable path. Our God is great enough and faithful enough to redeem our wrong decisions, so hope will not be lost—but do we really want to miss out on what He has for us in that moment? Do we want to miss His purposes and the glory that He desires to reveal to our heart?
Fix your eyes on the Lord. Take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ. Study His Word. Meditate on it. Delight in the Lord your God. Determine to follow Him in each step. Acknowledge Him in all your ways and trust that He will make your paths straight. And in those moments when you utterly fail, do not despair—He is upholding you and will not let you fall. Turn back to Him in faith, admit your guilt and weakness, and know that grace will meet you there. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
Our God is great and mighty and He reigns over all. And He sees you where you are, and desires for you to know Him better and to love Him with all your heart. This day, let us choose to serve Him with joy and gladness, and rejoice as we see more clearly who He is.