Two words for wanderers: faithless and unfaithful.
The faithless people of Israel forgot their first love. They lost their passion for service. Though they had once enjoyed a close relationship with their Maker, they turned from him, rejecting truths they had once held dear. And so they struggled just beyond the safe harbor, battered by the seas of uncertainty.
Unfaithful Judah, by contrast, knew the truth but denied its footing in the nation’s heart. An unfaithful man may say that he’s on God’s side, but his actions, words and priorities prove otherwise. By God’s measure, an unfaithful person ranks with a traitor—wicked and treacherous. Why? Because he mocks the very relationship he pretends to honor. Simply put, he pretends to be a believer, while deep down he’s a phony.
For the unfaithful, faking love for God can become an addiction. We all know people who have all the right moves. At church they pray with impressive sincerity, but at home they shred their spouses with cruel comments. This inconsistency is like a ten-foot-long fingernail screeching across God’s chalkboard. It grates on the soul.
The unfaithful float through life, sinning without shame. They’re in the most dangerous place imaginable. They hang in the balance. Unless they reestablish their bond with God, replacing showiness with sincerity, they will be damned.
The faithless and the unfaithful—the Bible holds out hope for both. For the former, however, the journey to the Savior seems shorter, more direct. Sometimes faithless men can learn to trust more by admitting their doubt. Slipping away from the mark and sliding back from the goal are synonyms for faithless. The remedy is simple: Return to the Lord.
Contrast that with the unfaithful person. He pretends his life is sewn up tight while he’s busy yanking out the stitches with his own hands.
If you think either template fits your life, stop your wandering. Come back to your God and King.
To Take Away
Would you rather be the faithless man or the unfaithful man? Why?
Do you know any faithless or unfaithful men? How can you offer them encouragement?
What people or circumstances cause you to wander away from Jesus? What practical steps can you take to protect yourself from these stumbling blocks?