Summary: See what happens when God’s people drift away from Him and worship other gods.
Several years ago a scary thing happened to two young beach goers. I read this in the newspaper. Two young ladies were at the beach, I think Pensacola beach, enjoying a summer vacation and enjoying the water. They got into a raft to relax and sun bath. While floating on the raft they did not pay attention to their location and began to drift out into the Gulf. When they realized what had happened they were too far out to paddle to shore. The Coast Guard was called out to rescue the girls.
The same thing can occur spiritually. We can drift away from safety. We can drift away from God. As we celebrate Memorial Day this weekend, I am concerned. I am concerned that we, as a nation, are drifting away from the values for which our fore-fathers fought and died. I do not want to come across as being negative, pessimistic, or discouraging. I want to be honest and share my heart with you. Some people may not want to hear my honesty. Some people go to church and want to hear nothing but positive. I equate this to walking up on a rattle snake while you are walking in your yard. When you see that snake you do not dismiss it as if it were an illusion. You cannot put a positive slant on a rattlesnake. A rattle snake is a threat. A rattle snake is a danger. That is the way I see this deadly drift we are facing.
Have you noticed that there is a natural drift which occurs as things get older? As we get older our weight drifts. As our faith gets older it tends to drift. For instance, the world in which Paul lived is no longer passionate about Jesus Christ. They drifted! We are told that only a small percentage of people in southern and eastern Europe attend church. The area from which we got our spiritual roots, Europe, is no longer passionate about Jesus Christ. They drifted!Only a small percentage of western Europeans attend church. In most places in western Europe I have been told that less than 10% of the people attend church on a regular basis. Drift is a very real danger.
Please turn to Judges 2:7-12. I believe the situation in this passage is comparable to our situation in America. We are drifting! “So the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the Lord which He had done for Israel. Now Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died when he was one hundred and ten years old. And they buried him within the border of his inheritance at Timnath Heres, in the mountains of Ephraim, on the north side of Mount Gaash. When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel. Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals; and they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; and they followed other gods from among the gods of the people who were all around them, and they bowed down to them; and they provoked the Lord to anger.” (NKJV)
If God’s people drifted from God, how was that so? Notice three ways God’s people drift away from God.
I. Drift occurs when we leave our spiritual roots. Notice the context of this passage. In verse 7 it says “the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua.” The generation that followed Joshua drifted away from God. When Joshua was not present to hold them accountable, they drifted.
A. America has a spiritual heritage. Many people would tell you that America was not founded on Christian principles. That is absolutely not true. I would not go so far as to call us a Christian nation. However, we were founded on Christian principles. Consider these examples.
Patrick Henry was a famous statesman in colonial Virginia. In 1774 he was a delegate to the First Continental Congress, during the Revolutionary War he became commander-in-chief of Virginia’s military forces, he was a member of the Second Continental Congress, and was largely responsible for drawing up the amendments to our Constitution known as the Bill of Rights. He became Virginia’s first governor, served as ambassador to Spain and France, and George Washington asked him to join his cabinet and become Secretary of State, and later wanted to appoint him the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Listen to the words spoken by Patrick Henry: "It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians - not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ." His Last Will & Testament was filed in the Brookneal County courthouse in Virginia. You read his will and you’ll see that he bequeathed everything to his children, just as most people do. But the last paragraph in his will is especially interesting. He wrote, "I have now given everything I own to my children. There is one more thing I wish I could give them and that is Christ. Because if they have everything I gave them and don’t have Christ, they have nothing." SOURCE: Melvin Newland, Central Christian Church, Brownsville, Texas.