“And Israel, who seemed so interested in reading and talking about what God was doing, missed it. How could they miss it? Because instead of trusting God, they took over. They were absorbed in what they themselves were doing. They were so absorbed in their ‘God projects’ that they didn’t notice God right in front of them, like a huge rock in the middle of the road. And so they stumbled into him and went sprawling. Isaiah (again!) gives us the metaphor for pulling this together: Careful! I’ve put a huge stone on the road to Mount Zion, a stone you can’t get around. But the stone is me! If you’re looking for me, you’ll find me on the way, not in the way.” --Romans 9:30-33 (The Message)
Sometimes Lexi walks into things. First she gets distracted by another dog. She stares back over her shoulder at it while I’m leading her forward. I might deftly step around a signpost or a mailbox on the curb, but Lexi—focused on her own thing—smacks right into it. She wasn’t paying attention to the right thing. In Romans 9 Paul warns us of making the same mistake. The Israelites he mentions are an example of what not to do. We can get so focused on our own pursuits—even good deeds or good works—that we don’t see what’s right in front of us. It might be God. He is, as Isaiah says, on the way. If we don’t notice him, we’re likely to walk into him and go sprawling. Anything that distracts us from God—even God’s own commandments, Christ’s teachings, or the Golden Rule—will cause us to stumble. If we’re walking with God, then we won’t run into him. Walking with God is paying attention to the right thing.
Dear God, Help me to pay attention to the right thing, which is you, and not be absorbed in my own thing. Amen