Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you *think* you are on track with God's will, however things just don't seem to be going the way you think they should? In reading the Old Testament, I came across a piece of our history that really opened my eyes up.
God promised the Israelites the Promised Land. The land that flowed with milk and honey. God promised that He would back the Israelites as they drove the residents out of the land. In many cases the natives were wiped out. In other cases, the natives were enslaved. But...in some cases the natives were neither driven out, wiped out, nor enslaved. What's up with that? How could God make a promise, then not follow through?
Well...that promise is contingent on right behavior. The angel of the Lord explained to the Israelites that they had disobeyed God and therefor God did not drive out the natives, but allowed them to be thorns in the sides of His people. Although God explained his expectations time and time again, at every opportunity the Israelites "turned from the ways of their fathers" and worshiped other gods. God would raise up judges to lead the people and they would straighten their acts up for a while, but inevitably in the absence of such a leader the people would corrupt themselves with evil practices and stubborn ways. So God decided to forever test the people to see if they would keep the way of the Lord and walk in it.
Isn't this describing us today? How easily we find ourselves distracted by the world. It's so easy to chase the "almighty dollar" or spend hours watching mindless television. Why are we so enamored with "American Idol" or "America's Next Top Model"? How can we break free from the obsession that claim our hearts and minds and devote ourselves wholly to God? In the absence of temptation, such devotion would be meaningless. In the midst of temptation, such devotion is without measure.
God knows the depths of our love and our despair. Only God can measure our devotion. But in our hearts we know if our devotion to God is tainted by our devotion to the next episode of our favorite program or if our love is pure. We will always be tested. Tempted. Drawn away. It is up to us to have the discipline to fight that temptation and distraction. To turn to Him again and again. To learn from history and to seek the high road.
Praise God for His patience with us!