Drifting…

Week 14-Judges 1-13, 17-20

drift (verb):

  • float or be driven along (as by a current)
  • wander without purpose
  • pile up under force

Do you ever think about how easy it is to drift?

I am finding that I can be chugging along on what I perceive as the correct path…then as if I suddenly wake up from sleep…I have drifted…I didn’t intend to drift…but nonetheless I have veered off the best path.

On a given Sunday afternoon, I can write my cover to cover post and on Tuesday, I can realize that I have not read my assigned readings since I clicked “publish”…it was not a conscious decision…it just happened.

We made the difficult decision to no longer attend the church where we had fellowshipped for over 13 years…we have landed in a new place…we haven’t been to church in two weeks…being anonymous has lost its novelty…we want to be known…it could be really easy to drift into a pattern of not assembling if we are not careful…it’s not about us and our comfort…it’s all about our Savior.

When I was a sophomore in college, I spent a semester attending the University of Copenhagen…prior to that semester, a group of graduate students involved with InterVarsity mentored a group of my friends and me.  At the end of that time before I was ready to get on my jet plane and leave all that was familiar to me…my mentor Kathie presented me with a small chunky NIV Bible…just the right size for travel…inside the back cover she wrote (I know, because this Bible is often on my night table…the spine held together by packing tape):

“Helen,

It’s small, it’s paperback and it’s the beloved Word of God.  Hope you can use this in Denmark.

Love,

Kathie

*Joshua 1: 8,9*

” Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

My time in Denmark was wonderful and life changing…there were many times where I felt very alone…times where I needed to be strong and courageous…days where the Word was my only hope…comfort…reminder of how to walk…how glad I was that the Lord did go wherever I went.

This week I was reminded of how easy it is to drift…for the people of God long ago and today.

“After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel.  Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD and served the Baals.”  (Judges 2: 10-11)

“In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.”  (Judges 17: 6)

We live in a world where the prevalent view could be summed up by doing whatever seems fit…whatever feels good…whatever is easy…in fact, we hear that phrase a lot…whatever…

We also are in danger of having an upcoming generation that will be encompassed by so many that do not know God and have never heard about Him…what would prevent them from continuing to adopt the dominant view?

It’s a battle not to drift…to live as if there were no King…

It takes strength and courage to not be swept up by the current of the times…

The Israelites served the Baals…who were considered  gods of storm and rain…

How interesting…just think how often the topic of weather dominates our conversations…superficials ones that encompass musings about the latest weather patterns…to planning our lives based on what the forecast outlines…perhaps we would be wise to plan our lives around the One who controls the weather…

In Judges, the people would remain true to God when their leaders guided them in His ways…when a leader died, the people’s resolve waned…they drifted…

 Gideon believed what God says about him and as a mighty warrior he does great exploits on behalf of Israel…as soon as he dies, the people seek Baals again and this entanglement causes them to be easily influenced by Abimelech to kill all 70 of Gideon’s sons…they forget God and they forget to protect Gideon’s family…the people drifted…wandering without a purpose.

Jephthah was also a mighty warrior and the Word says that the Spirit of the Lord came upon him…how is it that he made such an impetuous vow…although God delivered the Ammonites into Jehpthah’s hands…it would cost him his only child…he did not need to add to what God would do…he drifted…

In Judges 17-18, a son, Micah and his mother decide to consecrate their silver and make a carved image and cast an idol…build a shrine and install one of Micah’s own sons as priest…floating away from what God had designed.  A Levite in his travels comes upon Micah and he asks the Levite to be his priest as well as pay him and give him a place to live…the Levite agrees.

God had chosen the Levites be his priests…He also ordained that the Levites be provided for by the tithes of the people…their offerings…that this particular Levite would have to find “work” reveals that there was a lack…the fickle hearts of the people made this Levite and it is assumed others to wander without purpose…to be driven along by the current…

In chapters 19-21, it begins with a Levite and his concubine…she runs away from him…he pursues her…then on the return home, he stays at a hospitable man’s home…some wicked Benjamite men surround the house and want to sexually assault the visitor…the man wants to protect his guest and offers his daughters…the men will not accept the home owner’s virgin daughters…but do accept the Levite’s concubine…they rape and abuse her…leaving her dead on the threshold of the home…then even more of the unthinkable happens…if you don’t believe me…read these verses:

“When he reached home, he took a knife and cut up his concubine, limb by limb, into twelve parts and sent them into all the areas of Israel.  Everyone who saw it said, “Such a thing has never been seen or done, not since the day the Israelites came up out of Egypt. Think about it! Consider it! Tell us what to do!”

Judges 19: 29-30

The drifting is gone…a small current has been replaced…it is a deluge away from the Lord.

The people are wandering without purpose and try to make things better but in their attempts…the tribe of Benjamin ends up being cut off…they will not own up to their sins.

Drifting can occur so quickly…so easily…in subtle ways…it makes me think of what Paul said:

“You were running the race nobly. Who has interfered in (hindered and stopped you from) your heeding and following the Truth?

This [evil] persuasion is not from Him Who called you [Who invited you to freedom in Christ].

A little leaven (a slight inclination to error, or a few false teachers) leavens the whole lump [it perverts the whole conception of faith or misleads the whole church].”

Galatians 5: 7-9 (AMP)

Just like my college mentor encouraged me all those years ago…Here’s a sure fire way to avoid drifting:

  • Love the Word of God
  • Meditate on it day and night
  • Let God’s Words flow from your mouth, so other generations can hear and learn
  • Be careful to do what is written in the Word…not just a part…EVERYTHING!
  • Be strong and courageous
  • Know that God will go with you wherever you will go

Aren’t you glad we have an Eternal King?!

 

****I may not be writing a weekly cover to cover post…but you can always click here at Bev’s blog and read what others are discovering while reading the Bible chronologically…Bev’s recap this week includes her own personal threshold experience…

Please pray for Bev who has had a series of physical and financial setbacks…a broken toe…an injured back and most recently kidney failure. 

Peace to you all,

Helen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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8 thoughts on “Drifting…

  1. Mary Lou says:

    Helen, thank you for this post. You gave great insight and discernment. You spoke to something that is really on my heart..Drifting away from Him…reminds me of the song “Prone to wander, prone to leave the God I love,here’s my heart, take and seal it,seal it for thy courts above.” I have a relative who is drifting and it breaks my heart. I believe they’ve gone “way out there” I’m praying He will pull them back in to the shore. You ministered to my heart today. Thank you.

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  2. Your words to me personally touched deep parts in my soul. Your blog words here about The Drifters sunk deep too. Loved your “take” on this and take my heart God, seal it! You’re a beautiful writer who speaks deeply about what we are thinking. I love your words. I love your heart!

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  3. As soon as I read the beginning of this wonderful post, I thought of the word, “subtle.” I had this conversation with a girlfriend on Saturday. I want to be firmly planted. Thank you, Helen, for your carefully written thoughts each week with Cover to Cover. They do edify.

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  4. I needed to read this post after returning home from a wonderful 2 week vacation where I did drift a bit and it has been so tempting to continue in that drifting! Thank you!

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  5. JeanMyers says:

    Helen, I loved your thoughts on this week’s reading. I just typed up your steps to avoid drifting and have a copy with my reading schedule and sent others out to friends I think will be blessed by them. I love every single step, but the one that I so want to aspire to is “Let God’s words flow from your mouth, so other generations can hear and learn.” I have a sister who can speak God’s words so fluently that if you are not familiar with the Bible, you do not know she is speaking from His word. She’s had lots more years study and practice than I and I’m not sure I have enough years left to be as proficient as she is, but I would so rather have God’s words come out of my mouth than my own.

    Mary Lou, I love the song you quoted. I’m singing it in my head now! Thank you for the song!

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  6. CI says:

    Thank precious Helen. What an inspired post. I love the gentleness of your absolute truth. Drifting is inevitable unless we consciously fight to stay true to the course set before us.Thanks for the encouragement.

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  7. Bo says:

    Ditto my sister’s comment! Every year when I come to this story in Judges, my heart sinks and I hope that it will somehow turn out differently. It never does. Such a stark and sad lesson in attempting life without the One Steady Compass.

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  8. Helen girl, you had a wise mentor indeed and you have been heeding her instruction! I like how you talked about people “drifting” away. It’s sad, but so true. I’ve seen it in years past in my life. I don’t want to drift anymore. Praise God for HIS faithfulness!

    I’ve been learning as soon as we let anything replace time spent in God’s Word in our lives, we start to drift because we are not able to know what God has for us that day. I like how you said, “Perhaps we would be wise to plan our lives around the One who controls the weather.” So true!

    Blessings to you today dear sister.

    Much love,
    Susan

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