On the internship that I am doing this year (http://www.stthomascrookes.org/training/) we have been following a Bible reading plan. The idea is that we read 4 chapters of the Bible each day. This week I have been really bad at sticking to the plan and so tonight I decided I should catch up on my reading.
Part of that catch-up included reading Exodus 23. While I was reading this chapter, verses 20-33 really stood out to me. God basically calls the Israelites out and says that He is sending His angel to prepare their way and that they had better listen to this angel so that they know what to do. God tells them in no uncertain terms that they must not bow down to any other gods, follow any of the other nations practises or worship alongside them.
As I was reading Exodus 23 I began to think about the culture that we live in and what the modern day ‘gods’ are. There are the obvious ones of sex, drugs, money and power- but what about the ones that don’t seem so obvious? Like football teams or mobile phones or Facebook? Are these in a way gods to us? They are indeed the things that distract us from listening to God and hearing what He has prepared for us.
Why is it that I can spend hours wasting time on Facebook but find it so hard to spend a similar amount of time reading my Bible or praying?
Why is it that a football team loosing a game can cause us to be angry and upset for a week, but when we see injustice towards Gods people we are fine after a few hours?
In Exodus 23:20-21 it says “See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared. Pay attention to him and listen to what he says.”
Are we doing this? What happens if God has sent angels ahead of us: into our uni’s and lectures, into our offices and workplaces? Are we preparing our hearts and ears to hear what he is saying? Are we paying enough attention to the Holy Spirit and where He is guiding us?
I realised tonight that I spend way to much time trying to make my own plan for each day and trying to figure out what I will be doing next week/month or year. It is either that or I am wasting time on Facebook or Twitter.
I am not leaving enough time to pay attention to God. The reading plan I mentioned at the start is a prime example. Why is it that I have found it so hard to read 4 chapters of my Father’s written word each day? What exactly am I doing which means I don’t have the time to give that attention to God?
We have been given all the instructions to life that we need within that book that we often find so hard to pick up, why do we not grasp hold of it?! It is the living truth. It is our armour. It is God’s voice.
Maybe it is time to evaluate what our modern day ‘gods’ are, maybe it is time to make the space in our lives to pay attention to God and what He has prepared for our lives.