When You’re Not Paying Attention
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt. They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’
Years ago I used to live in a different city than my immediate family. And so that meant more time flying the friendly skies so that I could see them.
I remember one time arriving on a flight at an airport and having a longer than normal layover before I would connect to my next flight. I glanced at the Arrivals & Departures monitors in the airport concourse, found my next flight and its gate information and then proceeded to make my way there and park myself at what I thought was the right gate for my flight.
An hour or so went by as I waited, and so naturally I was bored. I got up and answered nature’s call, perused the newsstand and bought a magazine, and then picked up a smoothie at one of the food and beverage kiosks. Back in my seat, I soon noticed that it should probably be time for preliminary announcements about my flight. But nothing was to be heard on the PA system.
And then, you guessed it: I didn’t budge. I was too comfortable in my prime location seat with a great view of the airport television monitor showing me the latest in headline news. Well, around the 30-minutes-to-departure mark, I knew something was wrong when I hadn’t heard bupkis about boarding. So that’s when I finally got concerned, loaded up my carry-on and finally walked over to the monitors to find out what I was missing.
Sure enough, my gate had changed. So, I hightailed it to the “new” gate which happened to be in a different concourse. Now I did make the flight, but the moral of the story is this: I almost missed my flight, because I wasn’t paying attention and had turned elsewhere.
I remembered that scenario as I was reading about the Israelites and the golden calf this week in Exodus 32. Just like me, they were waiting—waiting on Moses to finish talking with God on Mt. Sinai and getting instructions from him that Moses would bring back to the people.
Even though they had just been delivered out of bondage in Egypt, they too got bored and stopped paying attention. Soon, they were focused on what would make them comfortable while they waited. They complained to Aaron (Moses’ brother who was left in charge) and persuaded him to make a golden calf to worship. And you know the rest of the story of idolatry, debauchery and waywardness.
Now, had I missed that connection in the airport, then I just would have missed that connection. I’m sure I would have figured something out and would have hopped on a later flight and still made it to my final destination.
But when we stop paying attention and miss our connection with God—when the Israelites turned away and went elsewhere looking for someone or something else to worship and fill a void—then we are not attuned to the power of the Almighty. We are not living expectantly in light of the Lord’s return. So we are disobedient, and we are missing out on his instructions for our lives.
Jesus will come back again. So check yourself and see if you are really paying attention in the meantime. Then turn your heart toward God, spend time in his Word and humble yourself to receive what he has planned for you.
Intersecting Faith & Life:
Like I was in the airport, are you positioned where you shouldn’t be in your life today? Consider what you need to change so that you will be focused on your heavenly Father and his instructions for you.
1 Chronicles 16:11-12
“Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing”
Words: Robert Robinson (1758)
Music: Nettleton, by John Wyeth (1813)
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.