Yet they tempted and provoked the most high God, and kept not his testimonies: But turned back, and dealt unfaithfully like their fathers: they were turned aside like a deceitful bow. For they provoked him to anger with their high places, and moved him to jealousy with their graven images.
It’s so frustrating to watch someone continually make poor choices in their lives. It’s hard to watch someone we love keep falling into sin. Sometimes our patience runs out when someone has chance after chance only to keep messing up. And it’s hard to see the nation of Israel abandon God over and over again. But maybe it’s only so frustrating because it rings so true of our own life experiences—that we find ourselves failing Him again and again no matter how much we don’t want to, that we, too, can go astray so easily.
How many times have we gone forward only to turn back? How often have we been chastened for the same thing over and over? How often have we disobeyed and been restored and then disobeyed in the same way again? How often have we been unfaithful? In a way, that’s the human experience. We learn and then forget. We grow and then we get stagnant. We make a poor choice and let it compound instead of making it right. We get lazy about doing the right things. But is the best we can hope for to just continue this cycle, or is there some way out?
It takes diligence and commitment to remain faithful through the ups and downs of life. It takes a certain desire and a certain heart to persevere. It takes humility and a willingness to learn and be corrected. But even these things we cannot sustain. Even these will let us down. So it must be something stronger, something deeper. What it will take to live the kind of life we should is an unwavering focus on God and complete dependence on Him. We ultimately have nothing within ourselves that can break that cycle of failure, but God can help us to become something we couldn’t have been before, and it comes through His Spirit and His Word penetrating every aspect of us and our lives.
When we’re willing to turn away from God, that’s when we get ourselves into trouble. That’s when we look for other things to fill in that gap. And that’s how we end up falling over and over again. Let’s stop trying to do it our way and recommit ourselves to following God’s ways. Let’s abandon those other things we’ve chased after in life instead of forsaking our God and find in Him restoration and stability and hope that can last and endure and help us remain faithful to Him the rest of our days.