Tag Archives: commands of God

Just Obey

Sometimes it seems like we try to make things difficult, like we cause things to be complicated. The Bible tells us to not add or subtract anything from the Word of God. We are to “just obey.” This seems like a simple command, but again, we like to overcomplicate things.

Some people attempt to add to the Word of God to require people to jump through hoops to try to fulfill the commands. The Pharisees were big on doing this, and kept a whole collection of additional commands to make it hard for everyone. This kept them in control. Other people like to subtract from the law of God. When we remove things that God says, it becomes easier for us to follow; however, we then have drawn a line in the sand and changed something we were never permitted to change. If we have removed some of the law, we are not following the law.

God wants us to obey. We do not need to add anything to make it difficult for some people to fully obey. We also shouldn’t subtract anything to try and make it easier. As we remove items, we distort what God set. Today, just obey. Don’t try to add or subtract. Only obey.

“Do not add to or subtract from these commands I am giving you. Just obey the commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you.” – Deuteronomy 4:2 [NLT]

Advertisements

Now We Are Ready

After the scouts returned and ten men gave a bad report, the Israelites were not eager to press forward. Actually, they were considering the idea of selecting another leader to lead them back to Egypt. Yes, the people wanted to go back to their slavery in Egypt instead of the Promised Land. Talk about trust issues.

Joshua and Caleb, the two spies who were confident in the promises of God, tore their robes and fell to the ground. They spoke to the congregation only to have the people desire to stone them. Then God spoke. Moses pleaded with the Lord on the people’s behalf. God promised that none of the people would enter the Promised Land, but Joshua and Caleb. The people were to turn around and head back by way of the Red Sea. Punishment was poured out. Moses shared with the people what the Lord said. The people mourned. The next morning, they decided they were ready to enter the Promised Land, so rather than turn around as the Lord commanded, they pressed forward into disobedience and were defeated.

God’s timing is the timing that matters. He has everything beautifully orchestrated. There are moments He commands us to do something, and time passes before we obey. It is not supposed to be like that—when we hear the command of God, we should respond accordingly. Dragging feet is not permitted. But this was worse than dragging feet. When God commanded the people to turn around, they willfully disobeyed. When we are ready, we should be ready for whatever God has placed before us. The option of what we receive and when we receive it is always is in the hands of God. We shouldn’t answer, “Now we are ready” after His commands. Instead, our response should always be, “We are ready now” the moment of His command.

“Then they got up early the next morning and went to the top of the range of hills. ‘Let’s go,’ they said. ‘We realize that we have sinned, but now we are ready to enter the land the LORD has promised us.’” – Numbers 14:40 [NLT]

Like Grasshoppers

The Lord tells Moses to gather some men together to scout the Promised Land, the land He was giving them. When He makes the request, He even restates that He is giving this land to the Israelites. They were to simply walk through the land and bring back their report with some fruit. When the men came back, ten of the twelve men were not eager to enter the land.

Though God already stated numerous times that He was giving the land to them, the men didn’t want to pursue the promise. Caleb and Joshua were the only ones who spoke of what this great land boasted. It was described as a land that was flowing with milk and honey. The fruit was so large, two men had to carry it back. Yet instead of focusing on the promise of God, ten of the men focused on the people who were strong, much stronger than the Israelites. They even spoke of giants. Beside these giants they “felt like grasshoppers.”

How often do you feel like a grasshopper when God calls you forward? How many times do you look at the giants, and turn in the other direction? How many times do you allow the lies of this world to keep you from embracing the promises of God? Whatever He promises, He will be deliver. We can choose to be grasshoppers, or we can choose to rise up and be the sons and daughters of God. He has called YOU forward. Rise up my friend.

“We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!” – Numbers 13:33 [NLT]

Prosper in All

Blessed are those that “delight in the law of the LORD.” The Bible says that “they prosper in all they do.” For some, this may be seen as success, a success that brings anything and everything desired. But do not misunderstand what the Psalmist is sharing. The person will “delight in the law of the LORD.” This means that a blessed person is one who delights in God’s Word, in the commands of God.

In delighting in the law of the LORD, a person follows the law as best possible. In doing this, “they are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season.” Because all of their actions are directed by God, “their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.” This prospering does not mean they are prospering apart from God’s will. This prospering means that they are blessed because they follow the commands of God.

The people of God are crowned with success. Yes, crowned with success! But don’t think it’s a smooth ride and lots of riches. With the crowning of success, a child of God endures loss, trial, and suffering. The blessing is to come. The day will come when every child of the King will be crowned. And guess what, we will throw our crowns at the feet of the King. We will worship the King. “You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For You created all things, and they exist because You created what You pleased” (see Revelation 4:10-11).

“But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.” – Psalm 1:2-3 [NLT]

 

The Commands of God

In the past four days as I have taken my dogs for their daily walks, I have encountered unleashed, uncontrolled dogs. Today’s dog was a bit comical. As her master called for her to get back to her side of the street, she slowly inched her way in our direction. It was as if she thought she could slowly sneak near us and her master would maybe have a change of mind over the boundary. As I consider the barriers that we should be in place for our fur family (fences, leashes), I cannot help but think about the boundaries God has put in place for His children to keep us safe. Just like the dogs often try to sneak away from their master when not contained, we too slowly sneak away. At times, we paw at the boundary line for a long time until we finally succumb to the temptation and take the final leap toward the sin. Sometimes we slowly walk toward the line and start to think no one is watching, and we run across like a dog who has a malfunctioning underground fence.

At the end of the day, as we stroll across the boundaries that God has put in place, we find ourselves facing the consequences. For a dog escaping, the usual punishment is back to the house. Our consequences are a life apart from God. When we are actively and knowingly sinning, we are living like we are separated from God even though He lives inside of us and is ever-present. When you don’t follow the commands, you turn away from God and toward the temporary. You drown out the Spirit. You put something above God. Your life you then begin to navigate without a map or GPS, and end up off course and out of gas.

In God’s Word, we see lots of commands. These commands are not because we have a God Who wants to be making life so difficult for us like some lengthy tax code or rules that keep us from fun. The commands of God are to protect us and to promote godly living which leads to joy, to peace, and blessings. Imagine not having to wonder if something is good or bad for you. God already has broken it all down in His Word. It makes life easier. Imagine how much easier and how much more joy and peace will be in your life if you stay on the narrow path and don’t find yourself knee deep in sin. Today let us examine where we are at in life. If you are often questioning the commands of God, consider why you question them. Do you have your priorities straight? Do you think you know better? Do you question them because you truly want to find a way around them? The Bible says if you love God, you will keep His commands. It should be our aim to do just that – to honor Him in all that we do in life. It is never burdensome.

 

“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.” – 1 John 5:3 [ESV]

Othniel Generation

During yesterday’s lunch date with God, I was reading from the Book of Judges. It is a book that often gets neglected minus the story of Samson and possibly Gideon and his fleecy requests. But yesterday I was reading about Othniel. Now that’s not a name that people think of first and he does not have said about him in Judges 3, which is where the main passage focuses on his time as judge. Nonetheless, this last reading I pondered a connection.

In Judges 1, we read of Caleb making a prize of his daughter. Remember Caleb, the son of Jephunneh? Joshua and Caleb were the two spies who gave the good report (Numbers 13). Such great faith! Well some time has passed and Caleb made a request. “He who attacks Kiriath-sepher and captures it, I will give him Achsah my daughter for a wife” (v. 12 ESV). Who steps forward but Othniel. Now the Bible says that Othniel was the son of Kenaz; however, it is also stated that Othniel is Caleb’s younger brother!

Othniel kept his word and is awarded the daughter Achsah. Then as we continue to read Judges we read of all of the tribes of Israel that “did not drive out” the people who inhabited the land God was giving them, which was directly disobeying God’s command. Joshua dies “and there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel” (Judges 2:10 ESV). After Joshua’s death, the nation turned away. But Othniel, Caleb’s brother had the Spirit of the LORD upon him and he was a judge of Israel. Remember as these people turned away from God, the people were plundered and the judges were raised up to save them.

What stuck out to me yesterday was how easily a generation forgot. Othniel was Caleb’s younger brother. Othniel married Caleb’s daughter. Not much time had passed between the days of Caleb and Joshua’s spying out the land to this time when arose another generation. But they had forgotten. They had turned away. Today I hope this is a reminder to you of the importance of sharing Jesus with the younger generations. Many of you are taking Christmas trees down this week. When you take down the tree, don’t “put away” Jesus for the year. It is so easy to forget the great responsibility each of us have to this younger generation.

“Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children.” – Deuteronomy 4:9 [ESV]

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” – Deuteronomy 6:5-9 [NIV]