Oh that stupid dog! There she goes again, running off and rolling in something dead. And then she jumps in the pond full of scum and drinks and comes out green. What WAS she thinking!
Well, I’m sure she was thinking . . .
This is GREAT! I’m free to roam wherever I want, to roll in whatever I want, to drink whatever I want! Woohoo! I am DOG! Which is GOD spelled backwards! I RULE!
Then she comes back panting and sees the look on my face when I smell the death on her neck and see the scum on her coat, all which must be washed off if she wants to set any of those four paws in my house once again. She looks guilty. She should. Because if she were a wild dog, she could live any way she wants. But she’s not a wild dog. She’s MY dog and she has it quite nice living here with me, going where I go, following my lead. And it’s not that I don’t let her run. I do! I love watching her run, as long as she’s got her ears listening, her heart ready to follow wherever I go. Because I want us to go together, to work together, to have fun together. I want a relationship with my dog. Isn’t that why we have dogs?
And still, I love my dog even when she roams too far. I call her back for her own good when she lets her nose lead instead of me. Sometimes she comes willingly. Sometimes I have to go get her. And sometimes the going and getting and bringing back to where she belongs isn’t so pretty! And sometimes, like it or not, she just has to get a bath to make her house-ready once again. Sure glad I’m not a dog—or a king . . .
Oh those stupid kings! Our church has been going through Chronicles since January. Months and months of looking back on the past, seeing those kings, one after another, a few wise, the rest—well, it’s kind of depressing! Bad choices, painful consequences. Will they EVER get it right?
Thinking about that dog and all those foolish kings, I’ve been pondering who leads me. Who or what does my heart seek most at any given moment? Is it really God, my Maker? Or is it really something or someone else? Important question to answer because whatever or whoever my heart seeks is whatever or whoever my heart worships, regardless of what I think or say or do. Where do I focus my attention? On me?
How about when I’m NOT self-focused? It’s VERY convenient to focus on others at certain times!
It’s easy to sit in a pew and judge kings and at the same time judge the Jones sitting two pews up. It’s easy to see the hypocrisy, the full out idolatry in someone else. In fact, it’s soothing to keep my eyes on others’ specks so I can keep ignoring my own logs.
And too often, I DO see my own hypocrisy and my hypocrisy is what keeps me SILENT! Consider the following scenario . . .
We all know we are sheep who have gone astray so let’s just not point out the fact that that sheep over there—well, she’s walking pretty darn close to that cliff’s edge but who am I to say anything—I’m just as stupid! If she wants to eat there, I guess I’ll just accept that and hope for the best! WOOPS! There she goes! Right off that cliff! BOOM! OUCH! SPLAT! Glad that wasn’t ME! So, Sherry Sheep, where DID you get your wool sheared? It’s so LOVELY! I’ve been looking for a new wool stylist . . .
I wonder if the dead sheep wished someone had warned her of the danger. But then again, sheep can be stubborn and refuse to listen. Not me, right?
God sends His people to warn but even more, God has sent His word—His standard for proper living. Do I take Him at His word? Or do I view His word more like optional guidelines? Or do I interpret according to my own limited wisdom and decide for myself what to believe, what to follow, what NOT to follow? The answer to these questions determine whether or not I am engaging in true worship or if I have unknowingly or even rebelliously set up an idol in my heart—something or someone I’d rather worship that the one true God. It’s all about me, right?
We all do it. But rather than excuse ourselves because of that fact, God says I need to repent—to realize I’m not a true worshipper—and come back to worshipping God truly by putting Him on the throne of my mind, body, and soul—my heart—the tabernacle where SOME god ALWAYS reigns.
The throne of our hearts is never an empty seat. If God is not seated there, someone or something else is. Plain and simple. So my idol might not be a golden calf. My idols are anything that I put in front of God—anything that comes first in my heart.
Ugh! I’m an idol worshipper! I’m a cooked sheep! Woe is me, wretched woman that I am! Is there any hope? Thankfully, yes. Jesus Christ, our Good Shepherd, our Savior. Every hour I need Thee, so the hymn rings true.
He is so gracious! Every time I realize I’m a cooked sheep, I cry out to Him and He comes and gets me. Man, He loves sheep, even when they’re half-baked like me! And I get to start again, with eyes straight on the Maker of all sheep, following along, doing what the Sheep-Maker made me to do, worshipping true.
So, about those sheep, and kings, and that dog . . .
Next time I’m tempted to follow the leader who’s not following God, or nibble some tasty grass too close to the edge, or look for some muck to drink and some death to roll around in, I hope I will heed the Holy Spirit’s voice to stay close, to resist running off, to remember that the best blessings in life are to be found as we worship—truly worship—our God, our Maker, the true lover of our souls who invites us to walk His path of peace and love and joy, right by His side.
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made. The LORD upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. The LORD is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made. The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:13-18