They have forsaken Yahweh, spurned the Holy One of Israel, and turned themselves back into foreigners. Isaiah 1:4
A big blowup in a relationship is not what usually kills it. People argue. Some fight passionately. But if both are committed to the each other and also committed to truth, there is understanding and restoration. What is deadly to any relationship, however, is a gradual deadening of the heart. A slow death is much more difficult to turn around.
You’ve heard the phrase, “I feel like I don’t know you anymore.” A ‘foreigner’ is a good description. It is saying, ‘You are acting so strangely that I don’t even recognize you. You may as well have come from a foreign land.’
Amazing that what can be intimate can grow so deeply estranged. In a spiritual sense, this is what happens, more than not, to the children of God toward their Heavenly Father. No wonder there are so many songs about returning to your first love, about stirring the cold embers of your heart. Erosion can happen so slowly that the gradual decline is inconspicuous.
To make sure that it doesn’t happen to me, I want to think about this more intently this morning. What would happen that might show I’ve turned my face away from God to tiptoe in the other direction?
- I fail to take the sins of my heart seriously.
- I keep the reading of the Word technically and intellectually.
- I lose the lump in my throat when I talk about Jesus.
- The mercy He showed to me becomes a casual thought.
- God’s wooing is easily ignored.
- I play it safe to live in unbelief instead of by faith.
I used to believe that some ‘thing’ would happen that would kill my faith. I guess I was wrong. Nothing can do that for me. Isaiah says that God’s children have turned themselves back into foreigners. Circumstances don’t make or break a relationship. It’s whether two people choose to walk together or not. It’s commitment. It’s nurturing the love that exists and never allowing any other priority to eclipse it.
Oh, that I might always say that we are intimate. Amen