Ever find yourself waffling back and forth, desiring and even committing to do something, then letting other things crowd it out? Or choosing one thing, only to default to another?
When I look over my life I realize there have been times when I’ve lived very close to God, and other times when those desires seem to be smothered with “life.” It’s the same for other decisions – and resolutions. Twice in my life I’ve deleted chocolate from my diet for quite a long time (!), but then waffled back. Does this sound familiar to you and your life?
Waffling seems to be the human condition.
This year I’ve decided to read Deuteronomy through in Hebrew (very, very slowly!). And I’ve come to something that made me appreciate God’s mercy even more.
Deut 4 begins with Moses teaching and admonishing Israel to obey God. He reminds them of previous experiences, including the most awesome one of being in God’s presence at Horeb (Mt Sinai) where God revealed to them the kind of people He wanted them to be, and how He desired them to worship Him. Especially were they admonished to refrain from making physical idols to take the place of God.
Then verse 25 says (translations are mine):
“When you have children and grandchildren (literally, “sons and sons of sons”), and have settled down in the land,* then you will act corruptly,* in that you will make an idol, the likeness of anything, then you will do evil in the eyes of the Lord your God, provoking Him to anger.”
The “anything” is a one-word reference to those things mentioned in verses 16-19.
Moses then proclaims the covenant curses on them – they will perish from the land. They will be scattered. They will be few.
Whew! Quite a stiff curse!
“Then you will seek the Lord your God from there, and you will find Him when you intently search for Him* (different word) with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Verse 29)
Verse 31 is the clincher:
“For the Lord your God is a compassionate God. He will not let go of you nor will He forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them.”
Even after Israel does the unthinkable and commits adultery against God by worshiping something other than Him, He still holds on to them! What an awesome and merciful God!
All through Israel’s history we see verse 25 played out. The whole book of Judges is a waffling back and forth between God and the idols of nations around Israel. Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, Ezra & Nehemiah — all tell stories of Israel’s back-and-forth relationship with God.
But it also tells how God never leaves them nor forsakes them. Every time they earnestly turn back to Him, He picks them up, dusts them off, and sets them on the journey again.
Does that give you hope? Even if you waffle back and forth, even if you choose one thing and fall into doing another, God still holds onto you. He still remembers the covenant He has made with you and that you have made with Him.
This doesn’t mean He’s content to leave you there in the state of waffling. He wants you to come into such a connection with Him that you are no longer waffling back and forth. He desires your spiritual maturity. But until you reach that summit, His mercy is still plentiful. Praise Him!
Please share . . . how has God picked you up again and again?
*HALOT, Koehler & Baumgartner (Hebrew lexicon)