I’ve been reading Deuteronomy—something I don’t do often. And I’ve been blessed in the reading. God made a covenant with His people and the benefits of walking in it were astounding. Moses laid it out:
God is brining you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing…. (Deut. 8:7-9 ESV)
Food was a major issue for people at that time in history; God promised abundance.
But there was one condition:
[W]hat does the Lord require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statues of the Lord….(Deut, 10:12,13)
I could quote pages of God’s promises to His people—and pages of the judgment that would follow if they fail to fulfill His condition.
How many know it isn’t easy to obey when obedience conflicts with personal desires? The Israelites demonstrated that they would not—could not—obey, and so they experienced judgment.
I have an issue, a problem. Can’t expose it here because that would betray a confidence. Suffice it to say it concerns no one in our family. But I’m quite sure that if I walked away forever, people who know me would understand and bless me in the process.
But my reality is more complicated. I feel God is asking me to walk with Him through the problem.
And I don’t know how to do it. A solution can’t be discerned by following an obvious principle, and I’m feeling more than a little rebellious.
During our nightly devotions, when Ken read Matthew’s account of Jesus feeding 5,000 people with five small loaves of bread and two fish, God opened up a reality I don’t especially like—one which I’ve understood mentally and even experienced on a limited scale.
This miracle was not an instantaneous event. Not like when a woman was instantly healed after reaching out to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment. (Mt. 9:20-22) Or when he healed a sick girl after her mother made a profession of faith. (Mt. 13:21-28)
No, it happened little by little over a period of time. Jesus took the bread, blessed it, broke it, gave it to the disciples, and the disciples gave it to the crowds.
The disciples could not have carried all the bread necessary to feed 5,000 people. Never.
So the miracle had to happen repeatedly. After Jesus divided bread and fish between them, they divided it for the crowd. Over and over and over and over the bread and fish multiplied.
Jesus had to walk the miracle out—and His disciples had to walk it out with HIm.
And then I had another thought.
Most of my life I’ve heard or read the stories of Jesus in bite-size pieces. An isolated event or story, a segment of Scripture.
But that’s not how Jesus lived His life.
Jesus walked out the directions of His Father—over and over and over and over. And He didn’t always know what was coming.
He said, [T]he Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. (Jn. 5:19 ESV)
And He transferred this to the disciples. Thomas asked, How can we know the way?
Jesus said, I am the way, and the truth, and the life. (Jn. 14:6)
A few verses later, If you love me, you will keep my commandments. (Jn. 14:15)
Ouch. More of that obedience stuff.
Now, there isn’t time for an explanation of salvation in this post. Through the finished work of Jesus on the cross, my sins are covered. I am free from condemnation.
But Jesus promises something else. He said, If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth…. (Jn. 14:15,16)
I can’t follow through on this. I simply am not able to commit to long-term obedience on the issue.
But God can. Furthermore, his Spirit within me can and he will help me.
I’m just not there. But because God’s Spirit is within me, He has given me the right heart.
Yes, I’d kinda like to run.
But I won’t.
I’ll follow His still, small voice within me. I’ll stand in faith, believing he can do it. Over and over and over and over.