Happy Monday Breaking Bread Family!
This morning I sat in prayer and I heard the words, “it’s time to share“, and I pondered what to share, and which scriptures resonated most with me and could possibly do the same for many of you. I was led to the Old Testament and the book of 2 Kings. As I began to read this text that I’ve read countless times in the past, I was moved by the words, actions, sentiment, and the realization of what the relationship was like at that time between the Israelites and God. I felt the frustration of God’s desire to bless a people in a way that they had never imagined, yet they couldn’t bring themselves to do what He asked and commanded. I thought about our modern times. I thought about myself. Then I began to type the words that you will read below. I hope that it touches at least one person and that maybe that person will share this message with at least one other person. Maybe we can look within ourselves and take the answers that we find, and actually apply them to solutions that heal and align us in perfect harmony with God.
I look forward to opening myself up more and more so that God can use me more each day. If I truly believe that He is my supplier then I should never fear my cup running empty. Which means that I should never fear pouring into others what He has poured into me. Healthy cycles and patterns brings balance and harmony. We already know what the opposite brings, because we’re wading around in that mess this very day. So without further delay, here’s today’s message from Breaking Bread With Natasha:
All this took place because the Israelites had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up out of Egypt from under the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They worshiped other gods and followed the practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before them, as well as the practices that the kings of Israel had introduced. The Israelites secretly did things against the Lord their God that were not right. From watchtower to fortified city they built themselves high places in all their towns….
They worshiped idols, though the Lord had said, “You shall not do this.” But they would not listen and were as stiff-necked as their ancestors, who did not trust in the Lord their God. They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their ancestors and the statutes he had warned them to keep. They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. They imitated the nations around them although the Lord had ordered them, “Do not do as they do.”
They would not listen, however, but persisted in their former practices. Even while these people were worshiping the Lord , they were serving their idols. To this day their children and grandchildren continue to do as their ancestors did.
2 Kings 17:7-9, 12, 14-15, 40-41 NIV
What is different today than the thousands of years past described above in 2 Kings? Not just a reflection of the Israelites, but of all people of all faiths that worship to God and are called to live and be a certain way—what is truly different?
Do we not all, for the most part, as a broad generalization, find ourselves struggling with being obedient to God and breaking habits of past generations? Do we not find ourselves repeating patterns of behavior, even when we proclaim that we’re going to do and be better? When God tells us “do not do as they do” why do we still make the same idiotic decisions to do exactly as they do, as though God’s words were mere suggestions and not commands? The example in 2 Kings was of the Israelites foolish disobedience. We can also read of declarations and admonishments in other religious texts, which clearly show that God tells all of His children, not just one group, what He expects of them—-and yet we see the disobedience then and now in each and every single group.
Why do we do it?
The answer is simple. We are self-serving.
We do for self first and everyone else, including God, after. Then we turn to God to fix and make right the things that we tarnish, tear, break, upend, lose, and destroy. We beg for freedom and then find ourselves enslaved in the same or different way. We place conditions upon God just as we put conditions upon His creations. Sadly though, many of us demonstrate through our daily walk and talk that we think that the creations have more value, influence, power, and presence than the Creator. Don’t think this to be true? Then explain why we idolize people and things. Explain why we take the advice and follow the lead of a person over the directive of the One who created us. Explain why we try first and pray later or pray, and then out of impatience, we jump to make happen what we clearly think that God is too slow, too busy, or not capable of handling as we need it handled. Just as the Israelites complained about their circumstances and even contemplated returning to Egypt, because being under Pharaoh’s rule was at least predictable and familiar, as there were just too many unknowns and uncertainties following God.
It’s truly “all about us” in our minds. It’s the “me…me…me” mindset that drives us. That is why we say “I”, “me”, “mine” and “my” more frequently in conversation than we do “we”, “us”, and “our”. We’re quick to take credit for good things and place blame for the not-so-good. We want things to happen on our time and in the way that we envision, and we will fight tooth-and-nail to have things our way, because our way is right. We ignorantly took the reasoning of “it starts with you” to mean something totally different than “action is required for results to be achieved“—that is the defining statement, not the distorted blob that we have created in its place.
Sadly, our self-centeredness, our obsession for self-preservation, and our so-called self-righteousness are all of the ingredients in the recipe called “disaster”. They come from unhealthy pride, a deep pit of insecurity, and an overinflated ego that is built on a flimsy foundation. We are blinded by self and we align with others who are also blind. With no vision we all perish. We are no different than the Israelites. No matter how much you want to convince yourself that you would have been obedient and not been stuck walking in the wilderness 40 years, subjected to repeat enslavement, and forced to accept the consequences of stupidity—the truth is that most of us are already enslaved by the grip of the world, and many of us have been walking in a type of wilderness for years (some of you for 40 or more years). We even imitate the styles, phrases, and practices of other people with total disregard as to the acceptability of this imitation by God. Some of us praise and worship for a certain number of hours one or more days per week, yet we act a complete fool before or after those hours each day (and the days after). Pay attention to what you do and say going to and leaving church. Go ahead and laugh, recognize and acknowledge the fool that pops out of you more times than you really want to admit. Go ahead and laugh at the fool inside of you that acts and speaks in ways that clearly aren’t of God.
If God is to come first then why does He not come first?
Our thoughts, speech, and daily walk are to be demonstrated in a way that glorifies God, magnifies His works, and declares our convictions and where we stand. With our obedience there is no question. Our disobedience leaves us with one glaring question. Why are you disobedient? Will you be honest with yourself?
Thank You Father for this opportunity, not earned, just a loving and precious gift from You. I hurt in and through my disobedience to You. I’m sorry that I haven’t reached a point where the pain that I cause myself is not great enough to stop my disobedience. My blaming of others is counter-productive and I know that my healing is delayed because I choose to hold on to my dis-ease. My self-blame and degradation is far more harmful because it adds to the piles of toxins that have been growing for years through my self-infliction and through my acceptance of things said about me by others. I don’t want to be in pain Father. You know this. Sadly, my pain has become my familiarity net, just like the Israelites saw Pharaoh as a more suitable alternative to life in the wilderness and beyond. I fear the unknowns of living life differently, yet I haven’t quite grasped the reality that there are more unknowns in walking on my current path. The Israelites feared the unknown of walking with and obeying You, as though existing under Pharaoh’s rule was predictable and clearly defined. In both instances it is sheer stupidity fueled by fear and ego.
Father I don’t want to be afraid to the point of spiritual, mental, and physical paralysis. I know that Moses was afraid but he kept walking. I know that Jesus was afraid, but he kept walking. I know that Mary was afraid, but through her obedience a savior was born and nurtured to be a beacon for others. I know that Noah was afraid, but he built the ark and prepared things as instructed. I know that Daniel, David, and Deborah were afraid but they walked anyway. Father even in my fear, help me to walk anyway. As long as I walk I will see and through my sight I will know, trust, and believe. Through my knowing, trust, and belief I will build the confidence to do more, see more, and be more in Your honor. By walking it can start being less all-about-me and begin being as it always should be, all about You! I know that this process starts with me being in agreement with You. Father I’m not saying that I’m confident or courageous enough to run but I am saying that I’m ready to take those first steps. I’m ready to get back up. I want peace. I know that it can only come from You. Help me to focus on You. In Jesus’ name I humbly pray. Amen.
Copyright 2019. All Rights Reserved. Natasha L. Foreman.
Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™