“Now the angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim And he said, ” I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land which I have sworn to your fathers; and I said, ‘I will never break My covenant with you, and as for you, you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars. But you have not obeyed Me; what is this you have done? “ Judges 2:1-3
I remember just the other day, my 4 year-old disobeyed me. Again. When I confronted her about it, she said: “I’m sorry, mommy. I’ll never do it again”. If my memory does not fail me, I heard that same phrase about, uh… 2 days before. Of course, my first thought was: “Yeah, never is tomorrow”, but I held my tongue. I get amused of how, not matter how old we are, the fabric of our behavior tends to be the same: one of disobedience. I cringe at the fact that I have to repeat myself one hundred times to my little children regarding what they should and shouldn’t do. I get upset that they just don’t seem to get it. And then God, in His amazing longsuffering and grace, holds up a mirror to my face: “Hello, there! Are you any different?”
The story of the people of Israel is amazing: God delivered them out of bondage through an amazing sequence of miracles: the plagues in Egypt, parting the Red Sea, providing the manna in the desert, victorious wars against much more powerful enemies, the surprising fall of the walls of Jericho. Yet, they continuously doubted, compromised and disobeyed.
And so is our story: just like Israel, God has delivered us over and over again. He has been Jehovah Jireh, God our Provider, Jehovah Rafa, our Healer, our Strong Tower in times of trouble. Can you look back in your life and count the numerous times that He showed up and delivered you? I certainly can. And yet, at the same time, when we are facing trials, many of us have a hard time acting on the belief that He will show up again. Our tendency is to take matters into our own hands, thus not realizing that we are indeed building altars to the gods of self-indulgence: our timing, our things, and our plans. I can’t help but imagine God saying: “what is this you have done?”
Just like for Israel, the awesome covenant that God made with us requires only two things from us: to love Him and obey Him. All our good works and church activities together cannot make up for not fulfilling our part in the Covenant He made with us:
“Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.” 1 Samuel 15:22
When God gives us an instruction, we are never to second-guess Him. He says, “Give this up!” – we are not to ask why or rationalize why on earth it makes no sense to do or not do what He is instructing. As children, we should say: “Yes, Lord.” That’s what I so hope my children will eventually learn to do: simply obey. No excuses or questioning. Period.
“ Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not to your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths”. Proverbs 3:5-6
There is a place in our walk with God where the rubber meets the road. It’s the place where our worship songs are not just a feel-good moment – they become our hearts’ songs. It’s the place where my Bible is indeed the Living Word, and instead of complaining and taking matters into my own hands or trying to figure a way out of my trial, I write anchor Bible verses on post-it notes so I can remind myself of the God of the Covenant: My Maker, Savior, Deliverer, Provider, Strong Tower, Healer. My Daddy, Abba Father.
The place where the rubber meets the road is where my faith surpasses my reasoning. It’s where my obedience does not always make sense and it will not always be popular. It’s where my obedience may mean I lose possessions, positions and friends.
The place where the rubber meets the road is where when God says “Do it”, I get up and start moving. And when He says: “Be still”. I sit back down and remind myself He is God (Psalm 46:10). The place where the rubber meets the road is where my faith is tested and where my rough edges are sanded. It’s the place that I get on my knees more often. It’s where I feel His presence more real than ever. It’s where I grow the most and it’s where I get closer to Him. It’s the exact place where God wants me to be.
What are the trials that you are currently facing? Are you so busy trying to get out of the place of your trial, that you will miss the blessings God has for you if you withstand the tribulation with Him? Do you realize that God may just be waiting for you to be still, to worship Him for who He is in spite of your circumstances and trust Him?
May we remember today that God’s part on His covenant will never change. He has eternal blessings, provision and protection for all His children. May we remember today that ultimately, all He requires from us is love and obedience. Period.
Dear Lord, I worship You today for who You are. I praise You because the Covenant You made with me in Christ Jesus will never change. I pray You forgive me for the times I try to take matters into my own hands and step out of Your will. I pray You will strengthen my faith and open my spiritual eyes, just as You did to Elisha’s servant, that I may see the chariots of fire lined up to fight my battles for me. I thank You for the strength that You give me when I reach out to You. I pray that You will teach me to be still and not move until you tell me to, even if it’s very uncomfortable. Guide me and teach me to obey You, that I may keep my part in the Covenant that You made with me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.