Exchanging God’s Glory

Earlier this year, I wrote about the verse that I’ve chosen to be my focus for 2017. Hosea 6:3 says, “Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.”

Last year I felt like my focus had shifted off of God and because of it my world had sort of shifted too. My center was my children, my husband, my service, whatever, but not God anymore. I needed to get the right focus back.

In Arizona, we don’t get spring rains. We get summer rains and we’re in the rainy season right now. The desert goes from shades of brown to green sprinkled with purple, pink, and yellow. It comes alive. That’s what God’s presence does for us. It makes us alive. As I pushed Him to the perimeter of my life, I started to wither and die. But He was waiting to refresh me when I turned back.

In my Bible reading, I came across this verse recently. “They exchanged the glory of God for the image of an ox that eats grass.” (Psalm 106:20) I think it’s hard for us to admit to idolatry issues today. It would be absurd to us to worship an image of something like an ox. As I read it I thought how sad it was that the Israelites would choose to worship a lifeless, useless god when they had the one true God rescue them from Egypt. They had seen the plagues, the Red Sea had parted and they walked on dry land, they saw the cloud by day and fire by night, and they still exchanged God’s glory for an ox.

Then it hit me. I had done it, too. I didn’t exchange God’s glory for any of the things that I thought had taken my focus off of Him though. All at once it hit me, that I exchanged God’s glory for . . . ME. I put myself in the center of my little universe. I wanted control. I wanted my way. When I got upset or discouraged it was because my plans, my wants, my desires went unmet. I was forced to admit I wasn’t in control. Ouch.

I traded the glory of the Almighty God, Creator of the universe, the Holy One, for me. How pathetic. Me in my fallible, sinful, finite, humanness tried to take the place of God. Unsurprisingly, it didn’t work. I will always be left disappointed if I put myself in God’s place, because I’m not in control (and we’re all thankful for that). God is God, and I am not. So simple. So plain.

I’m working on it. When things fall apart out of my control, and I start to feel down because things aren’t going my way, I remind myself of my position, and His position. I sit down with God and we have a long chat. I confess what I’ve done, and He graciously forgives. I praise Him, and honor Him, and gradually life begins to brighten again because I remember Who deserves all the glory.

“Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.”

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