The boy sat next to me in Awana. He as energetic as he is bright, often being told, “sit down, stop talking.” In group time, the children were asked to share what they thought to be a ‘perfect day.’ Vincent’s answer? “A day when I could do what I want to do with no one telling me to stop.” Another boy quickly remarked, “That’s for when you’re an adult.” I smiled, laughed almost. What a revelation of the human nature. “Let me be me. Some day, some where, I’ll get to do want I want to do.” That desire is a part of our human nature whether we are 5 or 50, isn’t it? We push the boundaries, seek our own way. We may be a little less transparent about our wish for ‘freedom,’ but it is there, isn’t it?
In obedience to the Lord, we discover the greatest freedom. We are liberated from guilt, released from shame, and able to live with the sense of God’s Presence in our day to day lives. The Scripture says it like this: “That is why the Holy Spirit says, “Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled, when they tested me in the wilderness. There your ancestors tested and tried my patience, even though they saw my miracles for forty years. So I was angry with them, and I said, ‘Their hearts always turn away from me. They refuse to do what I tell them.’ So in my anger I took an oath: ‘They will never enter my place of rest.’ ” Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God. For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ.” (Hebrews 3:7-14, NLT)
The people that God loved, who He had led out of slavery, were becoming a nation, finding their identity in Him, and being shown the way to the Promised Land. With all that going for them, one would think that they would have been delighted by His ways, eager to learn more of Him. He was providing everything they needed, His Presence visible to them in the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. But, they resisted, complained, refused to believe, and disobeyed. Ultimately, that entire generation spent the rest of their lives in the desert, unable to enjoy the Promise, dying apart from the full realization of what God had prepared for them.
What a lesson! My late wife, a gifted teacher, each year taught her first grade class this simple principle: “Obedience equals fun!” In that she captured the essence of the freedom that comes with a heart and mind yielded to God, willing to bend to authority. Do you believe it? Are you letting God lead you to the fullness of life that is found only in His will for you?
King Saul, a gifted leader, the first king of Israel, became arrogant and prideful. God, who had given him the place of leadership and esteem, could no longer lead that man. Gradually, he discarded every rule, broke every law. Saul thought he could disguise his willfulness with religiosity. God’s spokesman, Samuel, challenged the king with these wise words of instruction and caution. “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams. Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have rejected the command of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.” (1 Samuel 15:22-23, NLT)
On this Monday morning, spend some time with the Lord. Let Him speak to every part of your heart, leading you to life as you respond sincerely and quickly to His direction. And, you will find the path of life!
Mediate on this word from the Word.
“So the Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the Lord is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for his help. O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. He will be gracious if you ask for help. He will surely respond to the sound of your cries.
Though the Lord gave you adversity for food and suffering for drink, he will still be with you to teach you. You will see your teacher with your own eyes. Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left.
Then you will destroy all your silver idols and your precious gold images. You will throw them out like filthy rags, saying to them, “Good riddance!” Then the Lord will bless you with rain at planting time. There will be wonderful harvests and plenty of pastureland for your livestock.” (Isaiah 30:18-23, NLT)
When we walk with Lord,
In the Light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way.
While we do His good will,
He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey,
For there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus,
But to trust and obey.
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