The Danger of Indifference
5 So Moses said to Israel’s judges, “Each of you must put to death those of your people who have yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor.” Numbers 25:4-5 NIV
When Israel started to slide into this subtle attack from the Moabites, one has to wonder where the leaders of Israel were. When the people of God were in danger, why weren’t the leaders and shepherds of Israel quick to get involved and stand to protect God’s flock? Surely they could see what was going on. Surely there were others in Israel that never compromised their faith and trust in God. Surely they seen their brothers and sisters falling into this trap of the enemy, yet they said and did nothing! Where were they?
For Israel, there was a heavy price to pay for their indifference as a plague swept through the camp. The plague killed 24,000 people. It seems like the leaders of Israel and the people of Israel (who weren’t rebelling against God), were well aware of what was happening, but they simply did not take action about it. They were indifferent about what was going on. It seems that they didn’t care enough to take action nor did they think it was important enough to risk taking a stand on.
Now before we are too quick to condemn the leaders and elders of Israel back in the Old Testament, it is important to take a look at ourselves today. If Moses, Aaron, and Joshua were to step outside of the pages of the bible and visit us today, I wonder what they would think. They’d come and sit in our living rooms and see the television shows we watch, hear the music we listen to, read the newspapers, and see our amazing technology. On television they’d see images of children and families in far off countries starving, lacking water, and dying because of a lack of resources as we decide whether we are going to get food at McDonalds or Burger King. Then they’d see our smartphones, 3D televisions, blue ray disc players, Ipads, and our Ipods and be amazed. They’d take a walk down the street to an abortion clinic and hear the silent cries of the countless unborn children. They’d see our governments redefining marriage to include men to men and women to women. They’d see prayers to God and the 10 commandments are taken out of schools and replaced with condoms and teachings on safe sex. They would hear of Christian denominations working on changing scriptures to support their personal beliefs and to support bad theology. They’d observe churches not confronting sin within the fellowship of God’s people for the sake of keeping people as a part of the congregation.
What would they think? I imagine they’d wonder where our leaders are. I think they may ask, “Where are the faithful people who fear God? Where are the preachers? Where are the Christians? Where are the shepherds? How could this all happen? Why aren’t God’s people taking a standing for Him and being zealous for His name? Why are God’s children so busy watching television when there are such great needs that have to be met?”
Far too often, the church; myself of course included, has become indifferent to what is going on in the world around us. We think that to be a Christian, means to be a “nice guy” who has a Joel Osteen smile etched on our faces all the time. We think that a Christian is simply a pleasant person to be around. We view Christians as people who always see the cup as half full and are always trying to have a nice, laid back attitude, who never get angry.
God calls the church to overcome indifference and Phineas, a little known hero in the scriptures will teach me how that is done, in the next devotion.
Lord Jesus break that heart of indifference in me. Give me a heart that beats more like Yours. Let my heart break for the things Your heart breaks for, let go of the things You don’t hold onto, and hold fast the things You hold fast to. Amen.