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“[Jeroboam] went up to the altar that he had made in Bethel on the fifteenth day in the eighth month, in the month that he had devised from his own heart. And he instituted a feast for the people of Israel and went up to the altar to make offerings” (1 Kings 12:33).

WHEN JEROBOAM DECIDED TO SET UP AN ALTERNATIVE TO THE WORSHIP IN JERUSALEM, A WORSHIP THAT HAD BEEN DIVINELY AUTHORIZED, HE MADE A NUMBER OF CHANGES. As a substitute for the Feast of Booths in the seventh month, he organized a feast in the eighth month, “the month that he had devised from his own heart.” Having dispensed with any loyalty to what God had prescribed, he saw no reason not to do whatever he pleased.

Unfortunately, this has always been the tendency of human beings. Refusing to admit that God has laid down any real norms or requirements that we must adhere to, we feel free to simply choose what we prefer, somewhat like customers at a delicatessen.

The existence of God. Are there those who disbelieve because it would suit them better if there were no God and others who believe just because they find belief more comfortable? Probably. But either way, it really doesn’t matter what we prefer. The truth is what it is.

The nature of God. If there is a God, most of us would like Him to be a certain kind of God. But what is congenial to us really doesn’t matter. The only question is: what are the facts?

The meaning of the Scriptures. Do we twist the Scriptures to make them mean what we like them to mean? If so, we are no more honest than those who prefer to reject them entirely.

The contents of our own conscience. When we listen to our conscience, do we hear only what suits us? Can we tell when what sounds like “ought to” is nothing more than the voice of “want to”?

It takes a person of uncommon honesty to say simply, “What is the truth? That’s what I want.” But that is the very essence of faith and humility, the willingness to trust God and lean upon His wisdom when what He wants is different from what we prefer.

O Lord, help each one of us to learn to bow more humbly before You and to seek Your will more simply and truly. Help us to have the courage to go wherever the truth takes us. At whatever cost, may we follow the path that leads us to see Your shining face throughout eternity.

“Man prefers to believe what he prefers to be true” (Francis Bacon).

Gary Henry — +

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