By Lisa Nordell-Detres
One of the many recurring themes in the Old Testament involves the cycle of Israel’s faithful worship of God to falling away to the worship of the other gods of their neighbors in the Middle East. It seems hard to understand how a people could forget about God when they had witnessed the miraculous exodus from Egypt to the many victories of God’s people when they finally took possession of the Promised Land. The Jews would go from prosperity in God’s will to worshipping pagan gods. Out of favor with God, they would become oppressed or even enslaved by their enemies. Finally reaching the point of desperation, the people would repent, cry out to God, who would once again take pity on them and send someone like Gideon or Samson who would fight for and win their freedom.
Then a generation or two later, we see the whole cycle repeat itself. How does this happen? It did not happen overnight; but straying from God happens one day, one compromise at a time. One of the dirty secrets of this fallen world is that good habits like daily Bible reading, prayer and regular church attendance are much harder to develop and much easier to break than any of the wide assortments of bad habits. That is the reason that following God takes commitment. This isn’t just a fad that can be traded for the next spiritual trend that comes along. Before crossing into the Promised Land, Joshua told the people of Israel to choose who they would serve: the God of Israel or the gods from Egypt.
Today, we have a veritable smorgasbord of deities from which to choose to worship. The thing about us humans is that we were made to worship, we will serve something; whether the God of the Bible, Allah, Buddha, the Internet, the almighty dollar or even the god of self, we will devote ourselves to it. Each of us gets to make that decision within our hearts and the ramifications are eternal. Like Joshua thousands of years ago, I would encourage you to “Serve the Lord! And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:14, 15 NKJV).
Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to two boys, a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside.
Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon.