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CHASING RABBITS

November 19, 2015

Text: “‘So the prophet departed and waited for the king, by the way, disguising himself with a bandage over his eyes. And as the king passed, he cried to the king and said, “Your servant went out into the midst of the battle, and behold, a soldier turned and brought a man to me and said, ‘Guard this man; if by any means he is missing, your life is for his life, or you shall pay a talent of silver.’ and as your servant was busy here and there, he was gone.”  The king of Israel said to him, “So shall your judgment be, you yourself have decided it.” I Kings 20:38-40

Once we lived in a small town where one of our church members was the high school principal. He was a knowledgeable Bible student and sometimes subbed for me if I were ailing. His voice was strong and he seemed to prepare good, scriptural sermons. But inevitably he would abandon his subject and wander from the sermon topic. He was aware of this foible and called it “chasing rabbits”.

Though our text is part of an exemplary story (like a parable of Jesus) there was great truth in it. The prophet who told the story also acted it out to Ahab king of Israel, exposing to him his guilt in releasing King Ben-hadad of Syria.  This prophet assumed the role of an Israelite soldier who had been given charge of a  Syrian POW, but had allowed him to escape. He said of his dereliction of duty: “as your servant was busy here and there, he was gone”.

Our times are much like this little story. We are so busy with just living our lives that we neglect to maintain our spiritual endeavors. We get off subject and neglect being workers in God’s kingdom to chase our own unimportant  “rabbits”.  We adopt the values of the world and soon we get “busy here and there“, and the priorities of  God’s kingdom are gone! Escaped! Vanished!  Like the famished Esau, we have sold our birthrights.

Perhaps we should name this flaw in our character “disobedience by negligence”. We go from dutiful to undependable to resigning. We become like the “lotus eaters” of Homer’s Odyssey. Those who lived on the island ate the fruit and flowers of the lotus plants, and thus forgot everything, falling into a deep sleep of apathy. Jesus wrote of the church in Laodicea: “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot.” Revelation 2:15 In the next verse he said they were “lukewarm”. That about sums it up. We allow ourselves to quell our ardor and energy for our duty.

We cannot allow our private agendas to encroach upon service to God! When you go to rearrange your agenda of activities do your find that you are scheduling less time for spiritual endeavors? Given your present level of fidelity to God, do you realize that the spiritual items are getting less and less time. What does that mean to you? Consider this old hymn.

Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul,
Each thought and each motive beneath His control.
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.    William B. Longstaff  (4th stanza)

We are guilty of misspending our energies. We are so heartily engaged in making a comfortable living and enjoying amusements that we have no strength to engage in spiritual endeavors! Author Neil Postman wrote a book entitled  Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business. Therein are many noteworthy quotes, but I like this one.  “When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience, and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; culture-death is a clear possibility.”  Confront yourself with this as applicable to your spiritual life. Be convicted enough to change.   Jesus was direct and to the point. “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life…”  John 6:27a 

The above items all point to devalued priorities!  A preacher friend of  mine tells the story of some quite humorous  burglars who one night invaded the main store of Neiman Marcus. Instead of stealing the goods, they went about the store changing price tags on merchandise. A women’s fur coat priced at $5,000 was re-tagged at $49.95. An evening gown normally selling for $1750.00 was reduced to $99.95. The tag on a pair of argyle socks for $7.50 had now been elevated to  $500.00. That is what Satan attempts to do to our value systems. He pours swamp mud on God’s laws and promises and gold plates adultery, embezzlement, and violence. You must protect your values and prevent erosion of your actions. Jesus was firm in insisting on proper goals for your soul. “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

 

REM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One Comment
  1. Larry permalink

    YES! Excellent insights. Very well supported. Such temptations to blindness.

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