Sunday, August 19, 2007

Some things never change!

Well, at last I’ve read through Deuteronomy!

It wasn’t easy. In the past week, I’ve written a women’s ministry newsletter, hosted a wedding shower for 35, and gotten two college-aged kids back to school. (Go Cougs!) And in the midst of all this, tried to enjoy a twice-yearly visit from my oldest son.

Exhaustion gives me a new rule with my devotion: Read until something snags you. Whatever it is – the magnificence of God, the faithfulness of a Biblical character, the stupidity of God’s people – once I grab hold of that snag, I look at it closely and let the Holy Spirit use it to shape my life.

That’s the way I’ve been reading this week. It works; try it! I have one more entry from the book of Deuteronomy.

Near the end, we read of some remarkable contrasts. Moses, (clearly the book’s author –consider his use of “I” and “we” in the early chapters) writes an entire chapter about the wonder of God. In one of my Bibles, I have the page folded, indicating that I wanted to memorize the entire passage. (Unfortunately, folded pages indicate intent, not action)

Listen to Moses’ words… “I will proclaim the name of the LORD, how glorious is our God. He is the Rock; his work is perfect. Everything he does is just and fair. He is a faithful God who does no wrong. How just and upright he is.”

Amazing words, aren’t they? Especially considering these came from a man who has led a million people for more than forty years, AND YET, because of one “small” mistake, has been denied the honor and satisfaction of leading them into their promised land. (Numbers 20:12 “But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust me enough to demonstrate my holiness to the people of Israel, you will not lead them into the land I am giving them.”)

Those consequences always seemed harsh to me –like God was having a bad day, or hadn’t had enough sleep. But Moses called him absolutely fair. Interesting?

I think that Moses understood God in a way our culture – even our contemporary Christian culture – has lost. Moses understood God’s HOLINESS. God’s commands are not “suggestions;” his instructions are to be followed exactly as they are given. Moses had not obeyed, and he understood that disobedience came with a price.

This is one of the benefits of reading the Old Testament. God has NOT CHANGED. He is an awesome God, who demands obedience, expects perfection and who punishes fairly. We Christians have become so focused on the Grace of Salvation, that we think God has somehow changed… that he winks at sin, that he doesn’t expect us to keep our commitments, or follow him with our whole heart.

And while Grace enables us to obey, and covers all our sin, God does not change. He insists that we take him seriously. That we respect his instructions. That we obey with our whole heart. Moses’ story tells me there is no room – even under the umbrella of grace – to plan disobedience, expecting God to forgive us after we have enjoyed the pleasure of sin. While grace has purchased our eternal salvation, it does not always prevent us from experiencing the consequences of disobedience.

The Good News? God has not changed. The bad news? God has not changed. Take him seriously. Obey him wholeheartedly. If your heart doesn’t want to obey, ask for a change of heart. Now THAT is a prayer he loves to answer. Bette


Peter Davidson said...

Bette- This is a very nice blog that you have created. Have you had a chance to look through the many testimonies of our Savior at You may appreciate this. God bless! -Peter

Miriam Cheney said...

Hi Bette!
So wonderful to visit your new blog and visit the scriptures with you. I love it! Tried to write you at the address on your webpage and was informed it did not like recipient. ? hmmm

Anonymous said...

Hi Bette, I so appreciate the reminder to take God seriously. Setting His way and His will above my own at first seems awful. My pitiful human nature puts up a tantrum and rebels at acting against my emotions. But I am witness that, in the end, He rewards such sacrifice with joy and a changed heart indeed!