Our walk with the Lord is a process…a long, sometimes difficult passage, from what we once were, to what we are becoming. But what happens many times, we end up feeling stuck in the middle of our old and new self. So that’s when it’s time to take inventory. Turn around and take a critical view of your old self…not a pretty picture, right? Now, ponder where your life is today with the Lord’s help. It’s nothing short of a miracle in how you have grown in the knowledge of God…and with that knowledge, how you have been changed. None of us will every be able to say, “I’ve arrived!” when it comes to the full knowledge of God…but as long as we continually strive for more of Him in our lives…we’ll be making headway.
Moses was speaking to a defiant and rebellious Israel in the desert wilderness after they had returned from a disastrous battle with the Amorites. The enemy had chased the Jewish army down the hillside like a swarm of bees…beating them back…resulting in heavy casualties. The old saying, “I’d rather ask for forgiveness than ask permission,” just doesn’t work with God! Anytime we think we know more than God, we’re treading on thin ice…and anytime we act on it, we too will be marching out minus God’s blessing.
Admitting we’re wrong and asking forgiveness is hard to do. And when it comes to acknowledging our sin before God it gets even tougher. It’s not that we’re deliberately rebelling against Him…of blatantly and conspicuously sinning for all to see. No, it’s rather sins by omission that really mess us up. These are secret sins that are easy to hide…things that only we may know about. These sins of omission are things neglected and left undone in our lives…like regular time in the Word, or prayer. Or they’re things we chose to turn a blind eye to…knowing the Lord wants us to act, but choosing to be apathetic instead. These sins of omission are disobedience at its best and need to be dealt with, for as time goes on, it becomes easier and easier to allow these sins to hide in our sub-conscience and justify them rather than admit they are wrong.
Why do you persist in rebellion? Great question, right? We stubbornly continue down paths of disobedience and willful defiance against God…knowing full well, it’s only hurting ourselves. And if we think about it…most of the injuries we receive are self-inflicted because of the foolish choices we make. Jeremiah 30:17 says, “I will restore you to health and heal your wounds declares the Lord.” Disobedience causes unsoundness within us. But God wants to come and restore us back to health…returning us to wholeness and peace.
All of us do it…we daydream. Pleasant fantasies that transport us from the drab and boring into over the top imaginings. But if we indulge in these musings more and more, they will soon take over our life…for the real world can never compete with fantasy. And it’s here in this verse we’re warned about willful pleasure-seeking thoughts. As humans living in a sinful world – ungodly thoughts are going to drop into our minds…thoughts that can even shock and embarrass us. Like, “Where did THAT come from?!!) But it’s at that moment we have to take captive that thought and make it obedient to Christ. (II Corinthians 10:5) For if we give in and allow these thoughts to have their way in our mind…our vivid daydreams will lead us farther and farther from God into disobedience.
The next House Rule deals with listening and then obeying. The Scripture comes from Revelation 3:20, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with Me.” If you examine the famous painting depicting this verse, you’ll see that there’s no doorknob on the outside. Jesus stands knocking, but can’t open the door Himself…we have to. All throughout our Spiritual journey with the Lord, He’ll knock at certain doors…doors of opportunity…doors of ministry…doors that are so foreign, scary, and frankly, so far-fetched, that we can’t put our heads around what He’s calling us to do. It’s at that point that we must make the decision to obey…to open that door and allow Him and His plan for us to come in.
Yielding our will to God is not easy…for compliance never comes without internal struggle. But if we listen to Him…understanding that it’s for our own good that He’s directing us that way…and then obey the message we’ve heard…God will work all things out for our good. Along this same line, Job 36:11 says, “If they obey and serve Him, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment.” Simple obedience…sometimes hard to do, but oh so beneficial.