Gambling With God

A consistent theme that we see in the Scriptures is God’s call for His people to make up their minds. God spoke through the prophet Elijah, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow Him” (1 Kings 18:21). God sovereignly chose these words to appear in His Holy Scriptures to be read by us today. He’s asking us the same question: How long before we decide whom we want to follow?

When it comes to sin, people today often have the wrong mindset. We don’t think about how we can best live our lives as pleasing to God. Rather, our thinking goes something like this: “How much can I get away with and still not get in trouble?” We don’t obey Him fully, but just enough to try to get by. However, God knows our hearts, and gambling with Him doesn’t work.

Pharaoh had this exact attitude during the time of the Exodus when God sent plagues upon Egypt. God gave Pharaoh a direct command through Moses and Aaron to let the Hebrews go—including their women, children, and flocks and herds. But Pharaoh was willing to allow only the men of Israel to go, not the others (Exodus 10:9-10). Thus, since Pharaoh was willing to obey only partway, God unleashed a plague of locusts upon the land. Pharaoh quickly summoned Moses and Aaron and asked them to plead for God to stop the plague.

After another plague—the Plague of Darkness—Pharaoh conceded to Moses and Aaron and allowed them to take their women and children. But he would not let them take their flocks and herds (Exodus 10:24). Again, Pharaoh’s heart was not a true heart of obedience. He was trying to hold on to as much as he could. As we see from the story, this attitude ends only in frustration and disaster.

So what keeps us from serving God fully? Many times it is because we feel like we have too much to lose. We are attached to that unholy relationship that leads us into sin. We are attached to our jobs that require us to work on the Sabbath. We know we should give to the poor, but we refuse to be charitable because we’re attached to our money and comfortable lifestyles. We can feel the Holy Spirit convicting us about these things, but we suppress those feelings and attempt to justify our actions by convincing ourselves that we aren’t that bad. The worst part is that we don’t realize how empty we are despite everything we’re trying to hold on to.

I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. (Revelation 3:15-17)

God would rather His people be totally sold out for Him or completely against Him. He has little patience for fence-sitters. Are we willing to let go of our sins and the ways of this world to follow Him? Are we willing to even let go of our comforts and enjoyments if He commands us to? Are we committed disciples of Yeshua or not?

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