But when one of those conveniences slows down or quits working, it gets pretty annoying. I can get rather irritated. It’s especially difficult when someone else’s contraption is working just fine.
Have you ever thought that God is quite convenient? I mean, He’s always there to help us. He has all the power to change any situation and often makes life more manageable. He loves us no matter what. It is convenient to have God fit in your little pocket; to pull Him out whenever you need Him. But is that really God?
This morning I read some Bible verses that jumped out at me. They reflect on the condition of God’s people years ago. I think they may have a resemblance of today’s Christianity.
“So they feared the Lord, and made unto themselves of the lowest of them priests of the high places, which sacrificed for them in the houses of the high places. They feared the Lord, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence. Unto this day they do after the former manners: they fear not the Lord, neither do they after their statutes, or after their ordinances, or after the law and commandment which the Lord commanded the children of Jacob, whom he named Israel;” (2 Kings 17:32-34)
It appears the nation of Israel had a good relationship with God. They feared Him, which is a correct response to a holy God. But they began to serve other gods while they continued to fear God. They tried to have it both ways. They ended up not fearing God at all, but worshiped the false gods. They completely neglected their relationship with God.
I noticed that they did two things that led them down a wrong path of compromise with false gods. First, they accepted priests who were not chosen by God. God demanded the Levites to be priests. But the people accepted anyone, regardless of their qualifications.
Second, they did not worship where God said to worship. God’s place of worship was in the Temple in Jerusalem. But the people chose places that were closer to them. They ended up setting up altars on mountains closer to where they lived.
So, what does all this have to do with having a “convenient God”? The children of Israel started off fearing God. They were willing to have only Levites as priests and traveled to Jerusalem to worship. But soon they decided to compromise what God wanted. It wasn’t convenient. The compromise involved who and where they worshiped. They wanted a worship that was more convenient. They settled for less than God’s best and it led them to compromise in other areas of their life. They wanted to be more like the nations around them and worshiped false gods.
God is not convenient. God is who He is and we must live the way He commanded us to live. If He is our Lord (and He is), He has a right to dictate everything about us. But if Satan can cause us to compromise our worship of Him, he has won a battle that will soon lead us down a path of destruction.
Guard your worship. Make sure that those who lead your worship (pastors) are called of God and living a life that reflects the holiness of God. No one is perfect, but especially Christian leaders should be examples of godly living. Make sure you worship in the right place. Though we can personally worship God anywhere and anytime, He has established the local church as the place where corporate worship takes place in our contemporary world. Like pastors, the local church is not perfect. But it is the place that God blesses and Jesus has promised to build to His glory.
It is natural to drift away from God. I believe God has designed our spiritual life to be constantly moving away from God so that we must consciously keep moving toward Him to maintain our spiritual balance. If you fear God but have discovered that you are also serving the other gods of our world (money, sex, health, fame, sports, popularity, etc.) – BEWARE! Come back to where God wants you – close to Him and obedience to Him. Love Him! Fear Him! Know Him!
It’s not always convenient to be near God. Sometimes we can’t seem to get His attention. Sometimes life is more difficult than we like. Sometimes our world seems more attractive and attentive to our needs. Sometimes it is so easy to compromise and give in to our passions and pleasures.
God is not convenient. God is God and we are His people. That should be enough to keep us close to Him.