“But if you truly obey his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.”
In this verse, God is speaking of Israel obeying the angel (messenger) He will send to lead them into the Promised Land. This angel will relay God’s words to Israel and they are told to obey The end result of their obedience? God will conquer the Promised Land for them.
Now, I am not an Israelite and the Promised Land (Israel) is not meant for me. So that level of application is out of the question. But there is a paradigm mentioned here that I’ve noticed Christians have shifted and, I suspect, is sometimes shifted in my own mind. The paradigm? Obedience results in victory.
It’s as simple as that. Obedience to God equates to victory. For Israel, the obedience would result in physical victory in physical conflicts. However, Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus tells me that I do not wrestle with flesh and blood. My battle is not on the physical plane, so any victory I achieve will also not be on the physical plane. This also means that if there is a Promised Land for me (or any other Christian) it is of a spiritual nature.
Right. Obedience is victory. We done, then? Not entirely. See, the paradigm in The Bible is as stated. However, there’s this notion that has crept in of God being “on my side.” Here’s the thing: if I’m living in obedience to God, then God is definitely “on my side” because I first placed myself on His side by my obedience. If I’m living a disobedient life, then God is most decidedly not on my side because I have placed myself in opposition to Him. He will still, I am convinced, work all things together for my good, but “good” means something very different in God’s lexicon than in the standard human lexicon. Jesus was called a “good teacher” by the rich young ruler and responded by saying that only God is “good.” To work things together for good to me is to work out everything so that I am made more like God and drawn ever closer to God, not so that I have a pleasant and comfortable life. In point of fact, Jesus promised me difficulty in this life, not ease. So, if my life with Him is challenging and understanding how to bring my mind and flesh into obedience to Him gives me twitches, then I am very likely in excellent company.
This modern paradigm of “God is on my side.” needs to be purged from my mind. The paradigm I should be operating under is placing myself on God’s side through obedience. When I obey, then I will see victory in spiritual matters. When I obey, then I will see the blessings of love, joy, peace, patience, and the rest of their kin. Will I be wealthy? Probably not. Will I be healthy? If it best enables me to do the work God has for me and encourages my obedience to God, then I can definitely expect it. If it does not, then probably not.
Father, please change the paradigm in me that thinks of You being “on my side” and set firmly in my mind the reality that I must be on Your side. Thank You for the promise that obedience will result in victory. And thank You for being forgiving of those times when I am not obedient, even (possibly especially) when I try to be.