The Lord is rather emphatic here…stop doing things that are contrary to His will. Rather, practice what is morally good. So just how do we learn to do right? The Bible tells us that the starting point of knowledge is the fear of the Lord…so accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior is that first step. We then start the journey of learning who Jesus is…discovering the plan and purpose He has for us…and adding to our knowledge with daily Bible study and application. Learning to do right is a life-long study of becoming more like Jesus every day.
No matter how spiritually strong we are, anyone of us can stray from the will of God. Here Simon Peter, nicknamed the Rock, of which Jesus had said, “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church,” caved under man’s pressure. Peter had been fellowshipping with Christian Gentiles until a group of Jews showed up and started pressuring him to stop. He was afraid that his reputation and standing might be questioned…fearful of what they might think of him…so he separated himself from the Gentiles…taking everyone with him, including Barnabas. Isaiah 51:12-13 asks this question, “Who are you that you fear mortal men, the sons of men, who are but grass, that you forget the Lord your Maker?” It’s a dangerous slippery slope when we start fearing man rather than God…afraid of what people may think of us rather than doing God’s will. Peer pressure can be tremendous, for we all want to fit in and be liked…but when it causes us to deviate from God’s plan…it effects everyone around us.
How many times have I put God in a little box…expecting Him to behave in a certain manner, showing up and fulfilling His duties, only to see Him move in a completely unexpected and surprising way. That’s when all my welled planned out intentions are blown out of the water and I have to admit again…He is God and I am not. God’s Will isn’t up to me, nor do I have any control over it. It’s God that chooses when, where and how to move…not me. My job is only to be flexible and submissive when He throws me a curve ball.
God is the source of all truth… and the starting point of gaining this knowledge is the fear of the Lord. And as we learn to trust God, the closer we are drawn to Him and His love. Finally, as He shepherds us, we are lead to safe ground…a stable and unchanging foundation where we can build our life and hope upon.
You are not a mistake. No matter what people tell you, God’s divine Will included you as an important part in this world. He has a unique purpose for your life here on earth…your birth was foreordained by Him…He knew you before you were even conceived. You are not a mistake, but a valuable part of God’s plan.
When God moves, no thing or person can change the outcome He has in mind. His sovereignty and power is ever evident as He works miracles…both on the grand scale, and little blessings only known by the recipient. But the most important part of this verse is the concept that God’s work can never be snatched away or revoked… for the Lord is ever in complete control.
Modern day idols can take the form of many things. They may be people, possessions, locations or life-styles…anything that takes its place above God. Our graven image may be pride and self-importance. Or it may be bowing down to our collection of belongings…those babbles, toys, and things we amass and hoard just to say we have them. Anytime we put or trust and affections in anything other than God we’re headed down the wrong path.