For the week of November 28, 1999 / 9 Kislev 5759
Torah: Bereshit / Genesis 28:10-32:3
Haftarah: Hosea 12:13 - 14:10

Don't Neglect God

When I fed them, they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me (Hosea 13:6).

Why is it that we often forget God when things are going well? The very same people who cry out to him in times of trouble, are quick to neglect him once things get better.

Could you imagine what our friends would think of us if we would treat them this way?

Doing this with God is easier than with people, since we cannot see him. It is understandable that God is often related to as an impersonal force rather than our Heavenly Father who loves us. But God is not impersonal. He is a relational being as we are. Our great desire to be in loving relationship with others is a reflection of God's own desire for fellowship with his creatures.

Ingratitude can ruin a relationship. While we should not insist on thanks for what we do, it is difficult to continue in close relationship with people that do not acknowledge our expressions of love and care.

Notice in our passage that the people's response to God's care was to focus on self. They became proud, thus taking credit for what God had done in their lives.

Many of us have wrong notions regarding dependence, thinking that to depend on others is a sign of weakness. But we are naturally dependant creatures. We are not self sufficient. Without external things we die. We need food to eat and air to breathe. We need clothes and shelter. All these things do not come into being by themselves. Why then should it surprise us that we need help from outside ourselves?

We need things, we need people, and we need God. And not just when we are in trouble. Life is not learning how to be self-sufficient, but rather learning how to relate to the world around us including the God, who we cannot see. It is no wonder that our deepest need is for the Master of the Universe who both made and sustains all things.

When we come to know God we learn that he meets much more than our needs. We find that to know him is our very reason for living. How then can we neglect him?

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