Monday, November 4, 2013

Leviticus 26:3-6 -- On Learning Obedience

"If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;
Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.
And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.
And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land."
Leviticus 26:3-6

I was reminded yesterday of how well the Lord takes care of us when we do as he asks.  We get sidetracked from that sometimes, because bad things still happen.  And they need to.  There has to be opposition in this world, or there wouldn't be any real freedom of choice.  If all the good things to eat tasted good and all the bad things tasted bad, that wouldn't be a choice at all.  And if it were as easy to go to church as to stay home, or as easy to be kind as cruel in response to an unpleasant comment... then there wouldn't be any test in what we do.  I think the point here is that God doesn't say that it will be easy to walk in his statutes, or keep his commandments... or at least not as easy as our inaction. 

We all have strengths and weaknesses, but even our strengths sometimes aren't as easy as doing nothing. :)  Even in the verses above, we still have to plant and sow and reap.  God doesn't just magically make loaves of bread appear in front of us. :)  What God asks at times will sometimes take effort, and occasionally challenge us to the core... but the promise is still there.  If we do as he asks, then he will watch out for us.  And it isn't all or nothing.  If we can take tiny baby steps in his direction, he'll bless us accordingly.

Also, just in case someone sees this as cruel... to withhold blessings until we do it God's way... or to allow bad things to happen to us... I know that is easy to think.  It is also justification, and a wish that God would make our lives easy no matter what... even if we want to do bad things or hurt people.  No loving parent would do that... reward us for harming others or hurting ourselves.  This life is our classroom, and we need to put in some effort to learn the lessons that God has for us.  God loves us no matter what, but he only reinforces good behavior.  Doing the bad thing has the short-term ephemeral payoff... making it a real choice, but there are no associated blessings or long term happiness.

Today, if something is going wrong in our lives, instead of blaming God for it, let's first step back and see if there is some way that we can correct our path.  Some way that we can show our dedication and obedience.  God will help us more as we are more dedicated to him... whether or not the thing going wrong has anything to do with our obedience or not.  Let's practice obedience, and see how it works out.  Let's learn and move forward.

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