“As a thief is shamed when caught,
so the house of Israel shall be shamed:
they, their kings, their officials,
their priests, and their prophets,
who say to a tree, ‘You are my father,’
and to a stone, ‘You gave me birth.’
For they have turned their back to me,
and not their face.
But in the time of their trouble they say,
‘Arise and save us!’
But where are your gods
that you made for yourself?
Let them arise, if they can save you,
in your time of trouble;
for as many as your cities
are your gods, O Judah.
Today I find myself working through a difficult emotion. As I read the passage above, I find myself convicted, and it is simply unpleasant.
God speaks some very right and very hard words against the people of Israel. The priests, the leaders, all the people have turned their backs on God. Instead of trusting in God, they have trusted in other things. They have bowed down to statues and not to the living God. They have rejected God for the sake of their own desires.
Yet, when trouble comes their way, the people of God suddenly turn and find God again. They cry out to God, “Arise and save us!” However, these are the very same people who felt no need for God earlier. Thus, God responds to them by telling them to go back to crying out to their statues, since those are what they worship.
Now, here is where I was convicted. I need to cry out to God more. It is way too easy to let myself go through the day without really seeking God. Sure, I will pray at the prescribed times, but then I, if I am not careful, will walk through the remainder of the day as if I am the one who can handle it all myself. I act like the child who says, “No daddy, I can do it myself.” I rely on my strength, my wisdom, my education, my giftedness and somehow do not cry out to God.
How different is that from the guys who rely on the statues and their own wits to get them through the day? I don’t think it is as different as I would like it to be. One cries out to a block of wood. Another depends on his own abilities. Either way, both of us are relying on someone or something other than God for the good outcome that we desire.
I am grateful to God for conviction. I need it. It reminds me that I am not “all that.” Conviction makes me hurt, and it makes me realize that something is wrong that I need to change. So, here comes a new day. Here comes a new opportunity. Today, if I am going to please God, I need to look toward him, cry out to him, and depend on him. I am incapable of doing anything good on my own. I am fully in need of his grace to make it through even a moment of this life.
Gracious God, you know how weak I am and yet how proud I can be. You know how often I rely on my own skill instead of relying on you. Help me. Help me to serve you faithfully. I cry out to you. Please forgive me for self-reliance. Please forgive me for not being prayerful enough. Help me to seek you. I know that, apart from you, I can do nothing. I bring no ability to the table. Only through your power, through your Spirit, can anything good happen. So, I ask you to take my life this day and make it into something that pleases you. I ask that you will empower me to serve you faithfully and work through me to show the world how great you are. And lead me to prayer and dependence on you that will keep me close to you always.