Do you ever tire of having to tell your kids the same thing over and over AND OVER again?
It seems that no matter how often we tell them, they still must be reminded every morning to brush their teeth, make their beds, put away their pj’s and get ready for school.
I fully believe that if we didn’t do this same ritual everyday, they would never do any of it. It’s almost like they think, if I’m just quiet and don’t cause a disturbance, then maybe mom and dad will forget we have to go to school today and we’ll be able to play Xbox all day!
How foolish do they think we are!?
To help combat this, my lovely and brilliant wife, got smart and came up with this very colorful instruction sheet, framed it and placed it just outside their bedroom door. It would become the first thing they would notice in the morning and should easily direct them into exactly what they needed to do—no questions needing to be asked.
And for the first….five minutes, it worked seamlessly! They were excited to be able to know the answers to their pending questions.
Random Child— Mom, what do I need to do?
Mom— Did you check the sheet?
Random child— Oh yeah, I forgot!
Over time, the sheet lost all it’s effectiveness.
It had become just whitenoise. Unnoticable on the wall, like it all the sudden blended in with the paint color.
They would ask questions, and be reminded of the sheet and the play that puppy dog face of indifference and found ignorance. Oh yeah, (I hoped that you’d have forgotten about that by now)
One of our children, who shall remain nameless, would make an unconcerned effort to run their finger down the sheet ensuring we would notice of her effort, but when we would ask why her, I mean their, bed wasn’t made, she, I mean their, response would be, oh yeah, I forgot.
Oh it was so frustrating. HOW DID YOU FORGET, WHEN YOU READ THE LIST THIS MORNING AND CROSSED IT OFF IN YOUR MIND!
So the sheet went in the trash and we resolved that forever and the rest of their lives, we’ll have to check every single day, did you make your bed, did you pick up your pj’s, did you brush your teeth, your hair, your (whatever else needing brushed)? And we’ll still receive the same answers, oh yeah, I forgot!
At what point does all this just enter into the realm of automation? So common that you do all of it without thinking?
Well, I can attest, it’s somewhere north of 39 years old, because, I’m still not doing all those things. How about you!?
Why does all this matter? Why do I open this irritating can of worms with you?
Well, it’s because I’m sure the Lord experiences the same irritations and frustrations as a result of yours and my indifference at his written command.
I came across this story in my current trek through the bible. I’ve read it so many times before, but this time it really stuck with me given the details of our deception and depravity that is rampant in our culture today.
God’s commendation to the first Kings was fairly clear, he told them, essentially, stay clear of the love of multiple and foreign woman, without a doubt, they’ll draw your heart away from your view of who I am.
That’s my own translation of the concept. And it’s almost like the early kings saw it, recognized it and then decided they would do whatever they wanted anyway.
King David, you know the one who was after God’s own heart? Well, he had multiple wives and that situation with a women that resulted in adultry and eventual a murdering coverup attempt.
That example demonstrated something to his son, who would over do him after his death, and Solomon then took it to the extreme.
This is recorded in the history of Kings regarding Solomon’s struggle with the love of women:
Now King Solomon loved many foreign women. Besides Pharaoh’s daughter, he married women from Moab, Ammon, Edom, Sidon, and from among the Hittites. The Lord had clearly instructed the people of Israel, “You must not marry them, because they will turn your hearts to their gods.”1 Kings 11:1-5 NLT
Yet Solomon insisted on loving them anyway.
He had 700 wives of royal birth and 300 concubines. And in fact, they did turn his heart away from the Lord.
In Solomon’s old age, they turned his heart to worship other gods instead of being completely faithful to the Lord his God, as his father, David, had been. Solomon worshiped Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech, the detestable god of the Ammonites. In this way, Solomon did what was evil in the Lord’s sight; he refused to follow the Lord completely, as his father, David, had done.
All of his legacy wrapped up in a few lines about how his heart eventually walked away from the love of the Lord to the love of something less.
You know the crazy part about this?
He was completely ignorant to it!
Maybe that’s an overreaching statement, but the only reason I draw that conclusion is that he never tried to repent of it.
He either knew about it and didn’t care, or just didn’t know. And the only reason he would not know about it, is because he simply stopped reading the printout that God had left.
The printout was something of legend. In Deuteronomy 27, the Lord told Moses that he was to, “clearly write all these instructions on the stones coated with plaster” Deut 27:8 NLT. Just so that no one would be able to neglect or forget the important of obeying what the Lord had previously established.
Can you imagine coming across something so profound!? Huge stones set upright, plastered so they look almost like they glow in the dark and covered in the Law of the OT. They would be impossible to miss and even harder to avoid the determination to avoid the law.
In reading these things, I find it super important to investigate my own heart. How many areas of my heart have I started to allow to wander away just because the Lord isn’t standing in the hallway in the morning saying, don’t forget to brush your teeth!
For Solomon it was that the Lord wasn’t standing right there reminding him insessently, don’t allow your heart to be taken by ladies like your thinking or you’re going to regret it.
No, He said it once and that’s should have been sufficient.
How about your heart? Has it wandered away? Are there some areas of your life that have slipped because what once was a passionate pursuit has eventually cooled off to a warm following?
The only way to correct this is to allow God to really investigate your heart and let Him show you the places where you’ve allowed your life to wander away.