When the kids were little (OK, even when they weren’t so little) they would pretend not to hear us. ‘Time to put your toys away and get ready for supper’ They keep playing. Or go hide, which is really frustrating. ‘I didn’t hear you…’ (I still do that. My wife says, ‘I’m putting dinner on the table,’ then a few minutes later, ‘are you ready to eat?’ Me: ‘what, did you mean now?... ‘)
We can be drawn away by what’s entertaining or emotional, or infuriating if you think about the way social media and news are programmed to hold our attention through commercials.
Sometimes we are just focused, but on our own concerns and comfort. The ability to keep focused is key, whatever is your work. But where do we get distracted from what is important and what is most important? For instance, why is distracted driving such a concern? The answer is it can be deadly.
The way we lead our lives can be caught up in distractions.
Jeremiah had the unenviable job of pointing out to an entire nation that they were lost in distraction:
“They did not ask, 'Where is the LORD, who brought us up out of Egypt and led us through the barren wilderness, through a land of deserts and rifts, a land of drought and darkness, a land where no one travels and no one lives?'… “The priests did not ask, 'Where is the LORD?' Those who deal with the law did not know me; the leaders rebelled against me. The prophets prophesied by Baal, following worthless idols.” Jeremiah 2:6,8 NIV
Despite God’s leading and protection, His rescuing them from enemies inside and outside, His blessings and provision over centuries, they stopped looking, stopped listening, and stopped asking.
We get distracted either not bothering to look at where God is, what He is saying, or hearing it and doing something different. The results are deadly. They affect us personally, and they affect us relationally with all those travelling with us, and they affect us at the national level as a culture distracted and heading off in the weeds.
Five years after Jeremiah began calling the people’s attention back to God, they were making much needed repairs on the temple when one of the priests rediscovered the Bible scrolls. The king, Josiah, wasted no time:
"Go, inquire of the LORD for me and the people and all Judah concerning the words of this book that has been found, for great is the wrath of the LORD that burns against us, because our fathers have not listened to the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us." (2Kings 22:13 NAS)
Under his direction, for a time, the country became independent and enjoyed freedom once more.