Moderate Back Thrusts

How would you like to have this written on your tombstone—

Appointed by God to be king
Caused all Israel to sin against God
Doomed my family line to extinction

That is exactly the epitaph of King Jeroboam (see 1 Kings 13-14). In God’s indictment of Jeroboam He says, “Because of the sins you have committed, and the sins you have caused Israel to commit, you have provoked Me to anger and thrust Me behind your back.”

I find that phrase—thrust Me behind your back—intriguing. The word thrust means to throw something away. How exactly does one go about throwing God away? Can you crumple Him up like a piece of paper and toss Him in a garbage can? Can you grab Him and shove Him behind you? Is He like a stack of old newspapers thrown in a recycling bin? Clearly not!

One only thrusts God behind one’s back little by little. Just moderate back thrusts.

John Maxwell was exactly right when he said that whatever good things a leader does in excess, those following will do in moderation. Whatever poor things the leader does in moderation, those following will do in excess. The “moderate” ways in which Jeroboam thrust God behind his back caused all of Israel to sin excessively. And that became Jeroboam’s eternal legacy!

People are watching me—my kids, my neighbors, my friends, the baristas at Starbucks—what example am I setting for them? There are only two examples I can set: (1) Pursue God with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, and all my strength; in other words, love God to excess. Or (2) Moderately thrust God behind my back little by little by little.

Search me, O God, see if there is ANY moderate back thrusting in me and lead me in the way everlasting (see Psalm 139:23-24).

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