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Jeremiah 1:16

I will pronounce My judgments against them for all the evil they did when they abandoned Me to burn incense to other gods and to worship the works of their own hands.

The word used for “abandoned” here in the HCSB is the same as the word “forsaken” in the KJV. God pronounced judgment on those who turned from Him to worship other gods and their own works. We may get the mental picture that someone deliberately left the worship of Yahweh to worship another god, but that is not necessarily what happened. Israel never completely left their worship of God. They knew who He was and included Him; they simply added to their worship and preferred other gods. Such is the case when Jezebel introduced Baal worship into Israel. They continued to pay “lip service” to Yahweh, but their hearts were turned to Baal.

Bishop T.D. Jakes once explained the difference between leaving someone and forsaking someone. To leave someone is to remove your presence from him/her; to forsake is to disengage emotionally from someone. You can forsake someone without leaving. To take it a step further, we can still be physically engaged in worship by going through the motions but not emotionally engaged. No amount of physical faithfulness, however, can match full emotional participation in worship. If you are not engaged emotionally when you worship, you are being unfaithful to God. Extramarital affairs begin when one partner disengages emotionally in the relationship and becomes joined with another emotionally outside the marriage. You cannot be one if you are not fully engaged. Likewise, we are prey to idolatry when we are disengaged emotionally from our worship.

We must do more than just pay “lip service” to God. We cannot merely go through the motions of worship and not completely give ourselves to it. God wants a people who will worship Him in spirit and in truth, which means we engage emotionally and literally through the Word. He wants all of us and not just the shell of our outward being. He has promised never to leave us nor forsake us, and we desperately need Him to be emotionally engaged with us.

Deuteronomy 6:5 instructs us to love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and will all your strength. That is exactly the way Jesus loved us on the cross! He did not hold anything back nor withdraw from us. In fact, He cried out to God, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” God must forsake sin, and Jesus carried the full brunt of our punishment on the cross so we would never have to know the feeling of being forsaken by God. Worship Him with all you have today and every day because He is the only One worthy of complete worship. No other god – including the god of self – can satisfy the way He can. Return to Him emotionally and engage in full relationship with Jesus. True peace and joy are found only in Him.

Have a blessed day!

PHOEBE Connections, Inc. is a 501(c)3 dedicated to enhancing the lives of widows by building relationships and helping them find new identity in Jesus Christ through serving others. We promote an atmosphere of fellowship, where the widow can connect with other widows to develop friendships and supportive relationships.