“I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the firstripe in the fig tree at her first time: but they went to Baalpeor, and separated themselves unto that shame; and their abominations were according as they loved.”
Three words in this verse define a principle that every person needs to follow. God said, “I found…but…” He said He found Israel “like grapes in the wilderness.” His first impression of Israel was impressive. He saw all the good things about Israel and was impressed with what they were; however, time revealed Israel to God. God said in the middle of the verse, “…but they went…” Israel revealed herself to God. The facade she put on eventually wore off, and her true heart came out when she went after Baalpeor.
One of the principles that God is teaching in this verse is to not rely on your first impressions. First impressions can often be deceiving. There are times when you just need to slow down to allow the real product to reveal itself. If you are quick to move on the first impression, you will quickly find yourself in a situation from which it will be hard to remove yourself. Let me give three several statements concerning first impressions.
First, first impressions are not the real deal. First impressions are the cover of a book, but just because the cover looks good doesn’t mean the contents inside are worth reading. Many people make the mistake of joining a church on first impressions without taking the time to see the contents of the church. Just because your first impressions of a place are impressive doesn’t make it a place that you should join or go to their conferences. First impressions are often uninformed; it is better to wait to learn about the real product than to act on your first impression.
Second, don’t let your first impression determine your decision. There are some preachers who may not be impressive at the first hearing, but if you give them a chance, you may find them to be someone who is fundamentally sound. Years ago, I had an individual come to me and tell me when they first heard me preach that they didn’t like my preaching. They followed up by saying that they didn’t know if I changed or if they changed, but I had become their favorite preacher. What happened was they got through their first impression and was able to be helped by my preaching, which in turn caused them to like me. All I am saying is that you need to let the first impressions of a church, preacher or individual wear off so that you can learn about them before you choose to make your judgment.
Third, slow down your love affair with your first impressions and take the time to get to know the real product of the person or church before you decide to yoke together with them. If you are a dating couple, you would be wise to slow down your dating relationship so that you can learn more about each other. Don’t jump into a marriage relationship without learning about the person you are dating. If you are looking to join a church, you would be wise to slow down and learn about the church without acting upon your first impressions. Before you choose to join a movement in Christianity, you would be wise not to let your first impressions sweep you in with their emotions. Slow down and see where that movement is going before you choose to join it. First impressions can be deceiving; slow down to learn about the product you see before you choose to jump in wholeheartedly.