When I was in third grade my family took a trip to visit friends in St. Petersburg, Florida. The most memorable part of the trip was my first visit to the ocean. We spent a day at the beach, playing in the sand and splashing in the Gulf of Mexico. I didn’t learn to swim until I became an adult, but that didn’t curb my interest in climbing onto an inflatable raft and wading into the water. I remember laying on that raft, taking in the waves and watching the watercraft speed by. There were larger ships farther on the horizon. It was fascinating. When I turned to say something to my father, I became alarmed because I had drifted from the shore. When I finally got his attention, he swam out to retrieve me and pull me back to safety. On that day I learned a couple of lessons about drifting. First, you never drift toward, you always drift from. Second, you never drift all at once, you drift gradually. The same lessons about drifting can apply to us spiritually.
On Sunday I did a survey of the Book of Malachi in preparation for my upcoming series on the Gospel of Matthew. Malachi is a small but important prophetic word that comes at the conclusion of the Old Testament. Malachi spoke to a people who were spiritually adrift. They had returned from their Babylonian captivity and rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem and the Temple. One would think that they would have learned some important lessons from their time in captivity and that upon their return their gratitude would ignite a passionate faith. The idolatry that had plagued them had indeed subsided, but their spiritual passion soon waned and they became complacent. Malachi’s prophetic word was designed to address their apathy and complacency. They didn’t arrive at that place all at once. They gradually drifted from God, just like we are prone to drift from God.
What are the symptoms of spiritual drifting? Tomorrow I’ll post six symptoms of drifting from Malachi. Thanks for reading today, and thanks for sharing this site.