MISPLACING GOD OR DISPLACING GOD
Can we misplace God? That seems like a pretty dubious statement. How do you misplace the Creator of the universe, the One who made us, and whose existence and glory are seen all around us in nature?
In Hosea 8:14, the Prophet says that Israel, “hath forgotten his Maker…” It is important to understand the meaning of the word “forgotten.” The Hebrew word “shakach” carries the thought of not just innocently forgetting but purposely ignoring. We as individuals and corporately as Americans have not “misplaced” God as much as we have “displaced” God.
Israel’s great sin was not innocent forgetfulness but ill-considered displacement. The Bible warns us of idolatry, putting something before God. Other gods, other things, other interests took God’s place in their hearts and lives. When Moses was preparing the people of Israel for his departure, he carefully warned them about this danger.
Deuteronomy 4:9 Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons;
Forgetting God in the context which we are considering occurs when we believe something intellectually but fail to allow that belief to influence our behavior as individuals, in our families, and our national life. Moses warns that when Israel came into the land and there was ease and prosperity, to beware lest they put God out of His place.
How do men displace God today as Israel did in Hosea’s day?
1. They give an intellectual assent to the fact of His existence without seeing to it that their conduct corresponds with their assent. God accepted intellectually without responding in obedience to His commands leads to losing a consciousness of God. Israel relegated God to the Temple not the home, not the fields, not the marketplace. So, for many today, God is for church and some Sundays, but influences nothing else.
2. They built cities, farms, and buildings instead of lives. Israel was filled with beautiful groves, high places, and other sites of worship but God was not present in them. Their perspective was that the sign of God's blessing was evident in the materials they possessed. When we displace God, the temporal begins to take precedence over the eternal, the material over the spiritual.
3. They seek security everywhere but from God. In such a perilous world, as ours, man is always seeking security. In our country we want, secure borders, secure homes, secure investments. In seeking their own means of security, it is easy for men to displace God and then grope for something that will keep them safe in the darkness without Him.
God spoke into the lives of Israel by sending “…a fire upon their cities….” Allowing them to reap the “…whirlwind….” that they had sowed to. It is evident to me that today we are reaping the results of displacing God in many lives, homes, churches, and our nation. We need a revival of recognizing our need of God! Putting God first and recognizing our absolute dependence upon Him.
Here are a couple of suggestions that might be a good start:
1. Be faithful to the services of a good Bible believing church! Don’t let the temporal interrupt the spiritual!
2. Be faithful to a personal walk with God and let His Word and His Spirit inform you on how you should live!
3. Be consistent with your tithe and generous with your offerings to your local church!
4. Be salt and light in your home, community, workplace, and school! Be a good citizen!
5. Be a witness and tell someone about salvation in Jesus!
6. Be grateful and acknowledge God’s wonderful benefits in your life!
7. Be ready Jesus is coming soon!
Yes, I know it is simplistic but when a person acknowledges God in those ways it is amazing how God helps that person order their lives and blesses their way! It is a wonderful way to live and keep God in His rightful place, the center of our hearts and our lives.