As I have read through the Old Testament during the past several months there is one theme that has repeated itself over and over again. God’s desire for His people to obey, walk in His ways, keep His laws and commandments is front and central in every generation. These are the words of the Lord to Solomon after He began to follow idols in the later years of his life.
“‘After that, if you obey all I command you, walk in My ways, and do what is right in My sight in order to keep My statutes and My commands as My servant David did, I will be with you. I will build you a lasting dynasty just as I built for David, and I will give you Israel. 1 Kings 11:38
These are the words the Lord spoke to Solomon, but throughout the OT the Lord requires this of all His people from the beginning of time. So what happens when we don’t obey, walk in His ways and keep His laws? We see God’s response when he speaks to Jeroboam after placing him in leadership after Solomon’s son.
You behaved more wickedly than all who were before you. In order to provoke Me, you have proceeded to make for yourself other gods and cast images, but you have flung Me behind your back. 1 Kings 14:9
Wickedness, provoking God and making images to worship all make us (as the Lord said) fling Him behind our back. It always seems so obviously wrong when I’m reading it in scripture. I shake my head and wonder how His people could have turned so far from God. Then I realize that our country has turned away from God in ways that mirror His people from the OT. We allow abortion, our government officials are overcome with greed and lies, we don’t allow our children to pray in school and if we stand up for Christian beliefs we are seen as narrow minded haters. There are so many problems that can arise when we “fling God behind our backs” but one that gave me pause was this:
. . . . “This is what the Lord says: ‘You have abandoned Me; therefore, I have abandoned you into the hand of Shishak.’” 2 Chronicles 12:5
When we abandon God, he abandons us. There isn’t anything that scare me more than being abandoned by God. I have come to realize over the years how desperately I need Him for everything I do, accomplish, attempt and desire to attain (loving marriage, Godly children, a heart for Him, peace, everything). None of it happens without God’s love, courage, sustenance and guidance. I know we can’t change the minds of everyone and make straight what is so crooked, but we can live out the ways and laws our God has commanded us to follow even in the face of “hardship and mockers”.