Imagine if you had a friend who you only heard from when they wanted something from you.
When things were going well for them they never bothered to talk to you. But when a disaster happened they were begging you to help them.
If you didn't give them what they wanted, they grew angry at you, shook their fist at you and told you to get lost. They didn't want to hear the hard truth about the dodgy decisions they were making. They thought it was perfectly ok to interact with you at special occasions but ignore you for the rest of the year.
Even though they don't bother with you most of the time, they still think they have the right to invite themselves into your house. It doesn't matter to them that it's your house and you alone have the right to decide who enters it. Not only that, they think that they and all of their friends have the right to come over because they're good people and of course you must want them in your house.
You love this friend and desperately want a good relationship with them, but you never seem to get much of their attention. You know you're the best friend they'd ever have, but you're always competing with their many other 'friends' who you know aren't good for them and will only lead them astray.
Have you had a 'friend' like this? I know I've felt used by some people who just want to waltz into my life whenever they see fit. I've felt outraged at their expectations. I mean, how DARE they!
While we may have been treated badly by that friend....we also ARE that friend.
That's how all of us treat God.
We come crying to Him when there's a natural disaster or when we or a loved one are ill, but when He doesn't answer our prayers the way we want Him to, we tell everyone what a bad God He is for not doing what we want. He forget all of the times He's loved and cared for us, and we take all of His blessings without a word of thanks. We talk to Him at Christmas or Easter but ignore Him for the rest of the year. Despite heaven being His domain, we think we have the right to make the rules about who enters and who doesn't. Of course, we and our friends are in 'cos we're 'good people'.
Yet, despite all of this, God loves us and pursues us. He gave up everything for us. But He is a jealous God who won't compete with the idols in our hearts and lives forever.
Something I'm pondering as the new year approaches....