They rejected his laws and the covenant he had made with their ancestors,
and they despised all his warnings.
They worshipped worthless idols and became worthless themselves.
They followed the example of the nations around them,
disobeying the LORD’s command not to imitate them.
2 Kings 17:15 NLT
I am not a natural chef. Everything I am able to do in the kitchen at this point in my life is through a painful process of trail and error, repetition and prayers. So far, I have mastered* buttered noodles. (* Except when I get distracted and over-cook the noodles. This happens approximately 1 out of every 4 times.) I would not be exaggerating if I said that this is a dramatic improvement over cooking in my 20’s. I did a lot of gambling with cooking in that decade of my life that I will never, ever do again. For example, the night I ruined mac n cheese is an experience I will not soon forget.
I was in my first apartment and living on a pretty thin income so box mac n cheese was on the regular menu rotation. One night, I had already started making it when I realized I didn’t have milk. For some reason, I didn’t think water would be a good substitute so I opened the fridge looking for a creative solution. My eyes landed on the only other dairy product in the fridge: coffee creamer. The only problem was that it was French Vanilla flavored but I figured that wasn’t too big of a deal considering I was only going to use a splash. I was resilient and really wanted that mac n cheese so I dumped it in and stirred. Upon sampling it, I realized I had made a horrendous mistake. However, now I was even more determined to fix this problem and make it my masterpiece. I decided that if I could just add something to balance out the excessive sweetness, it would all be fine. I went back to the fridge, where I decided upon ketchup, and zealously added that to the mix. After sampling that, I admitted defeat and dumped it all out in the garbage.
In 2 Kings 17, God’s people were in the process of ruining their own pot of mac n cheese. The kings of Israel had continued to allow idol worship as a regular practice. Even after God allowed the king of Assyria to exile the people of Israel, there was no attempt at reform. In fact, it had got significantly worse, with people building their own pagan alters and sacrificing their own children in the fire. God sent many prophets to try and help them change their way, but nothing helped. They seemed determined to fix their own pot of problems their own way. God’s words about the situation shook me to the core:
They rejected his laws and the covenant he had made with their ancestors, and they despised all his warnings. They worshiped worthless idols and became worthless themselves. They followed the example of the nations around them disobeying the LORD’s command not to imitate them. (2 Kings 17:15)
They worshiped worthless idols and became worthless themselves. They had their own idea of how life could go back to normal and they weren’t willing to let go of that “control.” At any point, they could have thrown out their stubborn agenda and called out to God for help, but they continued to plow forward, worshiping worthless idols and, thereby, becoming worthless. That’s almost as weird as putting French Vanilla coffee creamer and ketchup in mac n cheese, thereby ruining the whole dish, just to avoid being wrong.
When I follow the directions on the blue box of mac n cheese, it works. The food doesn’t become worthless and I hold my worth as a chef. When I don’t have the necessary ingredients, but consult someone who IS knowledgeable in the kitchen, my food and I both retain our worth. It all makes perfect, logical sense.
And for the times when my pride and desire for control urge me to go my own way again at some point – I will turn to God’s word and remind myself that I can bring Jesus with me anywhere… even in the kitchen.
Challenge: Start each day in conversation with God, asking him to guide me and give me strength to carry out his will for me. I will remind myself that this conversation doesn’t stop as my day gets going, it continues even in the kitchen.
Dear Lord, your ways give me worth and joy. I am sorry for all the times I stray on my own agenda and pride. Melt my heart and fill me with humility so that, the next time I find myself off course, I quickly turn back to you. Thank you for being with me wherever I am and offering your wisdom generously in whatever I do. Amen.