Over and over in scripture, God pronounced judgment on the Israelites because of their apathy and neglect. He used prophets to get His messages to the people.
One day He sent word to the Israelites through Zephaniah, warning them of coming destruction. The reason? Their worship of Baal. Idols, idolatrous priests, worshipers of astrology, Moloch (child sacrifice, which happens every year at Halloween), pagan names and beliefs, all were a part of their Satanic worship.
In their judgment, God listed their lack of three responses toward Jehovah that were their downfall. He spelled them out clearly, and they couldn’t argue that they didn’t know what He meant. Their lack of doing these three things became their undoing.
They DID NOT
- Inquire (ask)
It’s easy to point fingers at those “stiff-necked Israelites”, but we’re not any different. Following God involves staying on the path that He has outlined for us. It means we don’t get side-tracked by things that nudge us off that path. It means we go where He leads us. If we are honest, we know if we are on the path, are walking alongside the path, or have completely gone another direction.
Not wanting God’s judgment also requires seeking God. When we’ve lost something, we retrace our steps to find the item that is lost. We go back to where we had it last. We hunt, and search; we ask others if they have seen our missing item. If we want to be healthy and join the Y, we have to continue “seeking” the benefits of the Y by going there. It’s not enough to sign up and make the payment. It’s not enough to just show up once in a while. We have to keep showing up. We have to keep seeking, or we will get off track.
Following and seeking are also a part of asking. We know that the Children of Israel wandered in the wilderness for forty years. We like to joke and say the reason they wandered so long was because Moses wouldn’t stop and ask for directions! It’s true that men most often are less inclined to ask for directions or for help. They think they can figure it out themselves. Yet, the truth is that all of us fail to ask; we could get the answers if only we were willing to seek and to ask. Sometimes we don’t ask because we don’t want to know. Other times, we don’t ask because we already know, but use the excuse that we don’t know what to do. After all, if we don’t ask, then we aren’t responsible, right? Wrong.
Zephaniah told the people that their failure to ask or inquire of God was part of their downfall.
Ask, Seek, Follow
We think we are so far removed from Baal worship. However, if we look at what the people believed who worshiped Baal, we’re not so far behind. Baal worshipers believed that their god was self-sufficient. Their god didn’t need any help from anybody; he was in control of fertility and of rain. They attributed fertility of women as well as cropland to Baal.
At times, we fail to recognize that we are not self-sufficient, that we are not in charge of our fertility or lack of it, that anything that takes us from God is an idol and must not be worshiped.
At other times, we allow things or activities that take us away from God. We focus on things that pull our attention away from Him and onto ourselves. The pleasures we choose to seek take us further from God instead of closer to Him.
Perhaps the best guarantee we can have to stay on the path God has chosen for us is to keep on seeking and asking for His direction. When we do that, we can know that we are truly following Him.