If This, Then That...
Alternate title: Two Way Promises.
Did you realize that despite God's grace, mercy and love for us, that He is also very demanding when it comes to handing out blessings? I know this may be hard to hear, but I believe the bible says it is so. Starting with the salvation of our souls, if we don't personally accept Jesus into our hearts as Lord, we won't inherit eternal life in heaven with God and consequently will be sentenced to an eternal life of torment in hell without God. Simple as that. God is a God of consequences, both good and bad. He can't help it because He is perfectly just.
Success to us doesn't come to us rightly unless we put God first, as stated in the book of Joshua:
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make you way prosperous, and then you will have good success. (Joshua 1:8 NKJV)
In Leviticus chapter 26, God promises to His people both blessings (Lev 26:3-13) and retribution (Lev 26:14-39). Blessings if they obey, curses if they don't. I find it interesting that the chapter starts out with a command against idol worship. Kinda makes ya think we all might have a problem with our idols in one way or another, doesn't it?
You shall not make idols for yourselves; neither a carved image nor a sacred pillar shall you rear up for yourselves; nor shall you set up an engraved stone in your land, to bow down to it; for I am the LORD your God. (Leviticus 26:1 NKJV)
Those idols just get in the way. Hobbies, TV, our children, our friends, our possessions and our jobs, to name a few, when prioritized before God, all take away from the blessings of peace and prosperity that He wants to give us. Because they are distractions, they can render us powerless because we have spent too much time with them and not enough time getting to know God. After all, without spending time in God's word, how can we really know what He wants from us? How can we really obey? How can we really rest in His promises if we don't know what they are?
As always, God does give us a way back to Him no matter how far off His path we have strayed. As we see in Leviticus 26:40-46, if we confess our sins and unfaithfulness and humble our hearts before Him, He will remember His covenant with us. God is with us and will always be. He has promised it.
Questions to consider:
1) What is my "idol" of the day, week, year? Is there anything that I consistently put before my time with Him?
2) Are you scheduling uninterrupted time into your life for God, like you would schedule your other activities?
3) When was the last time you humbled your heart before God, accepting His total Lordship over your life?