Just as the LORD had Commanded

Then the sons of Israel went and did so; just as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.

Exodus 12:28

How thorough is my obedience?

This verse is a challenge to the halfhearted obedience I’m so often guilty of. The sons of Israel, who are the undisputed champions of halfway obedience, get this particular ordinance very, very right. How is this different than any other ordinance of God?

This one shows something about God that the others do not. This one is a picture of salvation and how it will be accomplished.

In Israel’s history, they will get many things horribly wrong. But this Passover is something that is either done right or not done at all, as far as I can see.

Jump to Revelation 3, where Jesus tells the church at Laodicea to either be hot or cold; obedient or rebellious and the picture gels even more in my mind.

It’s not that God ever wants anyone to be rebellious, but open rebellion is better, in many ways, than halfhearted obedience. My halfhearted obedience mars the picture that God is creating through His people. He is painting the portrait of His love using the canvas and hues of people and I am one of those hues. If I am not consistently one color; not consistently obedient or rebellious then I’m an awfully difficult color to work with and God, in His artistic wisdom, may remove my colors from the portrait so that the image is not ruined. Israel, with the Passover, had a color to add to the picture of God’s love for us all and just how far that love was willing to go.

So it is that I find two reasons for full obedience. The first is the obvious: obedience to God’s commands is a way of showing that I love Him. Since I am inconstant (we all are, if we’re honest), this will not be consistent. The second is the more compelling: to tell the truth about God through the picture He is creating. As a husband, I am part of God’s picture in the form of marriage — I am to love my wife as Christ loves His church. A tall order if ever there was one. As a man, I am a part of that aspect of the image God is crafting. As a father, I am now the pattern by which my daughter will frame my Father God when she seeks to understand Him and why I follow Him. I need to be a good husband, a good man, and a good father in order to not lie about God through my actions. The alternative is outright disobedience, because halfhearted obedience disgusts God more than either obedience or rebellion if Revelation 3 is any indicator.

 

Lord God, please give me the strength to make my decision to do just as You have commanded and the endurance to see that decision through. I know it will not be an easy thing, but better wholehearted determination to obey accompanied with honest failure than halfhearted anything.

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