Got Off Track and Stayed – The Prodigal Son That Didn’t Return!!
What Do We Do When We Get Off-Track?
My Bible study this morning in 2nd Chronicles 21 led me to the tragic story of King Jehoram, the son King Jehoshaphat. Things started out so well for him. He saw the amazing miracles that occurred due to God Almighty and the faith of His father. According to scripture he was given the kingdom because he was the oldest of many brothers. He was given much gold and silver – there was nothing he wanted that he wasn’t given.
Yet when he became King and had established himself, he killed all his brothers, married King Ahab’s daughter (the daughter of Jezebel) and led the nation of Judah in the ways of idolatry and sin. His life got off track.
But even then he was warned. The prophet Elijah sent him a message telling him of bad things to come if he didn’t turn back to God. The young man didn’t listen. So the enemies came and began to destroy Jerusalem. Where the faith and godly life of his father had brought peace, the lack of faith and godless life of the son broke the country into pieces.
The King was then plagued with a stomach illness that was incurable and things ended so badly for the king that no one mourned his death.
My question for all of us today is: What are we doing? Have our lives gotten off-track? Are the warning bells ringing? Do we have people coming up to us asking: Is everything alright – you just don’t seem right? Have we gotten in over our heads in debt? Has an old addiction crept back in? Is some demon of the past raising its ugly head again and you have begun to lean that way? How about depression – has it come to sit on your chest like a 800lb guerilla, that has no plans of leaving any time soon, leaving you alone, feeling hopeless, defeated and lost? How about anxiety – worry – nervousness….etc.
None of that is from God, so it means that we may have gotten off-track. You may be thinking that since you haven’t as far off as our King Jehoram that this doesn’t count for you – but it does.
Getting off God’s well lit narrow path can be as simple as walking in a way that is not God focused. In Amos 3:3 we are told that two cannot walk together unless they are in agreement. So that means either we are in agreement with God and therefore walking with Him or we are walking away from Him. When we are walking away from Him, we are walking into our very own demise.
So what do we do about it when we discover this? Well let me tell you what I did and maybe it will help you. This afternoon I didn’t want to get out of bed. I am struggling with looking for work and I just didn’t want to get back to it today? I hated the idea of putting in another resume or filling out even one application and answering all the questions that the new online job profile screening programs give us. I tried to sleep it all away but it didn’t go away. So I prayed,
“LORD, What do you want me to do?”
I heard in a very clear and concise way in my spirit,
This is not the answer that I wanted, so I asked again and guess what answer I got back –
So I came and got on my computer and thought, Lord, what do you want me to write about – That was when I was reminded about the bad choices of Jehoram that I studied this morning and how he ignored the path of his father and the word of The Lord spoken directly to him by the prophets and how this led to his total destruction.
This story resonated very deeply with me and where I was at today. I was reminded that rarely does a person wake up one morning and decide that he or she is going to go into full on rebellion against God – it’s usually a progressive thing. It is that step by step movement away from the LORD that leads a person down that path into darkness.
What I have learned is that when I begin to feel a separation from God that it is me that has moved away and not God. I know that depression is not of God. I know that anxiousness is not of God. Addictions are not from God. I know that when my mind and heart is stayed on Him that I am at perfect peace. When I look away, I am looking into the abyss of my own demise.
My advice today is to check yourself in the mirror. Where are you going, what is the recurring message between your ears and if it’s not from God, what are you doing about it? God wants the best for His children and therefore we need to look to Him for His gifts and fruits of the Spirit – like peace, joy, love and … When we do, we find that He is right there to lift our burdens, dispel the darkness and restore our joy. One of the simple things I started doing when I feel down is to turn on Christian radio or Spotify through the internet and listen to the Contemporary Christian Mix or Worship Mix. Just hearing the Lords name being praised brings a peace that is hard to explain. But I know that this is a very Biblical response because we find that when David played music for Saul that the tormenting spirit had to leave. It still works today but it doesn’t work with other types of music. Why, you ask? It’s simple – one comes from God and the other does not. One leads you to God and the other must by its very nature lead you away from God.
We must constantly remain on the path that God has for us – for if we are left to our own devices, we will get it wrong. This may also mean that we have to separate ourselves from the other negative influences – the people, places and things – that surround us and try to drag us back into the pit and then do the very best they can to bury us there.
This can be very hard because it requires that we make difficult choices. We will save that discussion for another day. Suffice it to say that today, if you find yourself in a pit of despair or way off-track, do the first right thing and that is to pray and ask for God’s help. Seek His direction and then just do it. Then I want you to put His word in your ears and it will slowly lift that big ugly burden and before you know it your singing along and laughing.
I want you to know that the Creator of the Universe is just one prayer away – call on Him and return – you can never stray too far – His reach spans the entire universe and He can and will restore you, if you will just call on Him – turn to Him. He is waiting today – will you call on Him. I did and it made all the difference.
2 Timothy 4:2,5