A Dangerous Pattern
She obeyed not the voice; she received not correction; she trusted not in the LORD; she drew not near to her God.
One may ask, how did Jerusalem get to the point that they denied the God that gave them their land, and that brought them out of the land of Egypt? The answer is simple; they stopped drawing near to God. What a sad commentary for a people who had seen God work for them like no other nation. What a sad account that is said about a people who had seen God deliver them from Egypt, part the Red Sea and Jordan River, give them manna from Heaven, protect them with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, and Who destroyed all their enemies that were seemingly more powerful than they.
Though this is a sad commentary about a nation that had everything going for it, this same narrative is sadly said about many believers. The verse above shows a dangerous pattern that many believers take, and the end of the pattern leads to God’s chastening hand. Let me show you this pattern that leads many away from God to the point that they face His chastening hand.
The first step in the pattern is to stop drawing near to God. James 4:8 says, Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. You will notice that as you make the attempt to get closer to God that He returns your movement by moving closer to you. This means if you start pulling away from God, He will pull away from you. God reacts by how you act. You are the catalyst that determines whether God draws closer to you or pulls away by whether you draw nigh to God or pull away from Him. When you stop drawing nigh to God by not reading His Word and praying is when you begin to pull away from God. It may seem to be an innocent action, but not walking with God begins a dangerous pattern in your life.
The second step in this dangerous pattern is to stop trusting God. Every person who felt they didn't need to draw nigh to God became overconfident in their abilities to face life; thus, they started trusting themselves over God. When you know that you need God, you will draw nigh to Him because you trust that He can help you with whatever you face. To stop trusting God over your own abilities is foolish at best because He is the omniscient God who knows what the next step that you should take that will keep you from harm.
The third step in this dangerous pattern is to stop receiving correction. In other words, the preaching no longer moves you. You stop responding in the invitation time. When the pastor addresses you about things you need to correct, you get upset at him and eventually leave the church. Your response to correction shows your trust in God and how much you are drawing toward Him. I have never seen someone refuse correction who is drawing closer to God.
The fourth step in this dangerous pattern is to stop obeying the voice of God. Notice, it is not that God is not speaking, but you refuse to listen. God did speak to you, but you chose not to do what God spoke to you about. In other words, you are pushing God away and hardening your neck when you refuse to listen to what God is saying to you.
Every person who fell in sin started the journey towards their fall when they stopped drawing near to God. Never stop drawing nigh to God if you want to avoid this dangerous pattern.