Hosea 11:7 “My People Are Bent On Backsliding From Me.”
The word Backsliding is not a word you hear much these days. It seems like it has passed away with the wagon wheel. It refers to someone who has dropped to a lower level in their morals or standards. Like backslidden Israel they use to walk with their face towards God but now they walk with their back towards him.
A fisherman who was out of fellowship with the Lord was at sea with his godless companions when a storm came up and threatened to sink their ship. His friends begged him to pray; but he demurred, saying, “It’s been a long time since I’ve prayed or even entered a church.” At their insistence, however, he finally cried out, “O Lord, I haven’t asked anything of You in fifteen years, and if You help us now and bring us safely to land, I promise I won’t bother You again for another fifteen years!”
That’s the life of a backslider; God is no more to him than a fire escape.
It’s wintertime as I am writing this sermon and the ground outside is as hard as stone and the trees as dead as broomsticks. A few months ago the lawns were as green as a carpet and the trees bloomed with color. That is a vivid description of a backsliders heart that once burned with the love of God, but today it’s as cold and lifeless as a winter’s forest
Our library and bookstore shelves groan under the weight of self-help books; many of them are very good and some of them are not worth the peg you hang your hat on. The good ones do their best to show people the perils and pitfalls that await them. They map out the voyage where the shoals and rocks lie hidden just below the surface. However, human nature has not changed one iota; and the same kind of shipwrecks take place over and over again, year after year, generation after generation. People keep hitting the same rocks and getting stuck on the same sandbars. Wars and rumors of war still abound for the same reasons.
Briefly I Wish To Show You The Most Common Obstacles That Cause People To Backslide
1. Some People Backslide Because They Look For The Easy Road.
It is easier to do what is wrong then it is to do what is right. Job said, “Yet man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward. The easy road of life usually slopes downward. It is the nature of gravity to push everything downward. Because of our innate sinful nature our feet are as prone to run towards sin, as ducks are to run towards water.
Recall some of your younger days; was it not easier even more natural to do the wrong than do the right. Did it not take moral courage to stand-alone? Usually when you do the right you push against the moral gravitation, you swim against the current of popularity.
One of the first pieces of advice Moses gave to Israel before they entered into their new land was “You shall not follow a crowd to do evil.”  It’s the Broad road that leads to destruction, it’s the road of the multitude, it’s the road of least resistance
Did not Jesus talk warn about this very thing? Did he not say it’s the narrow road, it’s the road less traveled that leads to everlasting life? In other words it’s not an easy road. It takes a lot more moral fortitude to walk the narrow way than the broad way. No he never said it would be easy he just said that it would be worth-it-all when you reach the desired haven. Christians are pilgrims on a journey destined for a city whose builder and maker is God.
I don’t know if you ever heard of the Carrot, Egg or Coffee Story but it fits like a hand in a glove here.
A young woman wanted to throw in the towel, quit, backslide; she was finding the Christian life too hard. She went to her mother and opened up her heart to her.
Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs and the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil without saying a word.
In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me what do you see?” “Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied.
She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they got soft. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed that the egg was hard. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked. “What’s the point, mother?”
Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity–boiling water–but each reacted differently. The carrots went in hard and came out soft. The Eggs went in soft and came out hard. The ground coffee beans changed the taste of the water for the better. “Which are you?” she asked her daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Do you get soft or hard or change things for the better?”
There are lots of adverse things in life but it how you use them that decides what kind of a person you will become
Allow life’s experiences – the good, the bad, and the ugly, to be used by the Lord to bring the best and not the worse in you.
But just like gravitation can be resisted so you can resist taking the easy road.
2. Some People Backslide Because They Underestimate The Power of Their
Your sinful nature is a hard taskmaster. Its habits are as hard to break as steel cables.
You have to watch it like a radar screen. Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. Everyone has blind spots and old habits can pounce on you as quickly as a wolf pouncing out of the bushes on an unsuspecting rabbit.
I have heard people brag how easy it would be for them to give up a certain habit; that they could give it up any time they wanted too. But when crunch time came and they tried to stop smoking, stop drinking, stay on that diet, it was like trying to wrestle a gorilla to the ground. All of a sudden it seemed as if the forces of darkness were allied against them. All of a sudden it’s hard to sleep, it’s hard to concentrate on those figures; and to live with the conquering hero was like living with a cackling hen in the house.
Yielding to bad habits is as easy as sailing downstream, but resisting old habits is as difficult as rowing a boat upstream against the current
In Paris, France, there is a sculptured representation of Bacchus, the god of revelry. He is holding on to the back of a panther and the panther is galloping at full speed. As I picture the sculpture, it shows to me not only the foolishness of getting on the back of the death-leaping monster but how do you get off of him without getting eaten up in the procedure? Bad habits are not domesticated pet poodles; but like wild dogs if not controlled they will devour you alive.
That Is what society does to you when you fall like a statute from your perch, when you descend from a hero to a zero; it repulses you. That is what the prodigal’s friends did to him; instead of giving him a helping hand they gave him the finger. His dissipated looks, his empty wallet were appalling and disgusting to his highly mannered fastidious friends. Their dainty words were now hid behind lips of scorn.
The man who had betrayed his principles was now as outcast.
But the good news is that amongst such publicans and sinners God often finds his most precious jewels his greatest trophies of grace. How many can say; “But for the grace of God there go I!”
Let Him Know That He Who Turns A Sinner From The Error Of His Way Will Save A Soul] From Death And Cover A Multitude Of Sins. “
3. Some People Backslide Because They Choose Bad Friends.
While one bad apple in a barrel will make all the good ones bad, all the good apples in the barrel will not make the one bad apple good.
In other words you’re no better than the company you keep. Watch your heart and watch your friends. Like mountain climbers all tied to the same rope, one can take all the rest down with him.
As I Corinthians 15:33 put it, “Evil Company corrupts good habits.” As a Christian you had better drop some bad friends like you would a hot brick. Give them up or give up heaven
Solomon the wise put it this way,
“As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”
The reverse is also true; iron dulls iron. Bonnie was not a good influence upon Clyde; Eve was not a good influence upon Adam, Jezebel made Ahab into Israel’s worse king. Unholy alliances do not work.
4. Some People Backslide Because There Too Proud To Ask For Help
Just like you had better choose Good friends, you had better be just as careful to choose good counselors in your life. One of My favorite personal mottoes is, Choose Your Experts. There are pseudo experts galore out there. There was a time when the expert’s said, “Communism is the wave of the future.” It doesn’t matter if Mr. Counselor’s walls are singing with Freudian and Skinner diplomas. As one psychiatrist said, “Psychiatrists have become the minions of drug company promotions.” If they offer counsel contrary to the word of God drop their book from your hand like you would a treasure chest of nuclear waste. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”
King Saul got in a quandary and sought bad counsel. He sought counsel from a sorcerer. As a result he went from bad to worse. The psychic-hot-line is not a good source. God sent a Good counselor into his life by the name of Samuel but he discarded his godly counsel and as a result self-destructed.
Moses sought the godly counsel of his father in law; Esther sought the good counsel of her uncle Mordecai, and as result both were saved from a lot of pain.
Now not all godly people are wise counselors, make sure you choose someone competent as well. Even some Christian-counseling is more blessed to give than it is to receive.
It Takes Courage To Live for God
One of the great truths of the Bible is the promise of God to never leave you nor forsake you. This promise is found in both the Old and New Testaments. Knowing that God will stand with you can give you the courage to endure anything that comes against you, and to overcome overwhelming odds. Your commander in chief, the Lord Jesus Christ, always stands ready to help.
God does not want you as a Christian to Backslide from life but to embrace it. Regardless of life’s storms and its deep-rooted sorrows, what great comfort there is in knowing that his presence and his power are with you always
As John Shedd said, “a ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are for?” Keep your eye on the captain of your soul and keep the map of his Word open before you and you one day drop anchor on heavens shore
We all remember the tragic story of John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife and other passenger, who died in July 17, 1999 because he lost his bearings and flew his private plane into the Ocean
It takes a special skill to fly at night and the watchword is, Trust and Obey Your Instruments.
Many times life forces you to fly in the fog or in the dark, when you can’t seem to get your bearings, you can’t see the horizon and can’t figure out how to fly straight and level. When life throws you into that kind of confusion its doubly important to keep your eyes fixed on God’s guiding instrument and listen to his calm guidance.
He’s Only A Prayer Away!
In His Great Love,
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