In the book of Judges (not one of my favorite Bible books) there are stories that reveal a spiritual cycle that the people of God lived generation after generation.
They enjoyed God’s blessings and in the flush of prosperity became apathetic towards Him.
Then, they turned to other gods and the Lord withdrew His blessing from them.
As a consequence, they were unable to stand up to those who attacked them, and they were oppressed by foreign rulers.
In their distress, they cried out to God who, because of His gracious mercy, sent a them leaders that brought them back to Him.
When they returned to faithfulness to their God, they were delivered from oppression into renewed blessings!
This same cycle can happen to us in our own lifetime; and it is common across the generations. I am not talking about the rise and fall of our spiritual emotions, the highs and lows that come to each one. In the course of our walk with God we will traverse mountaintops- from which we enjoy wonderful vistas of faith and bask in the beauty of God’s Presence- and we will descend into valleys where we cling to His hand though we cannot see beyond the moment. That is normal Christian life!
Andrae Crouch wrote a song that includes these lines about that:
So I thank God for the mountains,
And I thank Him for the valleys.
I thank Him for the storms He’s brought me through;
’cause if I never had a problem,
I wouldn’t know that He could solve them,
I wouldn’t know what faith in God could do! – Through It All
Of concern to us should be the tendency that we have to drift away from consistent faithfulness in the practice of spiritual disciplines. If we allow our commitment to cool, compromise creeps in, and we find ourselves far from God. Both Moses and Joshua challenged Israel to keep the faith! Moses told them to talk about the Lord at home, on the road, at work, in the morning, in the evening. (Deut. 6:4-8) His point was that they should never let a day pass without renewing their awareness of God’s presence. A generation later Joshua said, “Choose today, whom you will serve! As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!” (Joshua 24:14-16) He, too, was urging them to renew their commitment on a daily basis.
You and I must do this, too.
As life grows busy, it is so easy to become slaves of the urgent matters, leading us to neglect the important things! In times of blessings, we tend to put our spiritual lives on cruise control – leaving our Bibles unopened, our prayers unspoken, and times of corporate worship fewer and farther between. When troubles come, if we have not tended the fire of faith, we tend to blame God rather than run to Him. Our failure to stay near to His heart leads us to being afraid of the very One that is our Hope and Strength.
Here’s a challenge from the Word.
Meditate on it for a few moments today as you pray- “Lord, keep my faith fresh, alive- my commitment strong. For Your glory, Amen.”
“Let us go right into the presence of God, with true hearts fully trusting him.
For our evil consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.
Without wavering, let us hold tightly to the hope we say we have, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.
Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds.
And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:22-25, NLT)