We have a new puppy, a sweet golden retriever named Lucky. Since he’s going to be a bigger dog, I want to train him to behave well. Since I’m no dog expert, we went to obedience classes. Here, they taught ways to train the dog. For example, if I want him to lay down I point my fingers straight down and tell him, “down.” The only way for Lucky to get his treat is if he actually lays down. Any other behavior, and he gets nothing. It’s very specific.
The great God we serve wants nothing more than to bless us abundantly. To receive our full allotment of “treats,” God simply asks us to be obedient. He may ask us to do something very specific, and the only way this action will actually be a blessing is if we do it exactly as God wants us to.
The Book of Numbers, chapter 20 records a time when Moses was approaching the promised land. The people of Israel were very thirsty and complained to Moses about not having enough to drink. Moses prayed to God and got the following response:
and the Lord said to Moses, “You and Aaron must take the staff and assemble the entire community. As the people watch, speak to the rock over there, and it will pour out its water. You will provide enough water from the rock to satisfy the whole community and their livestock.”
This seems to be a simple task, talk to a rock and God will provide the water.
So Moses did as he was told. He took the staff from the place where it was kept before the Lord . Then he and Aaron summoned the people to come and gather at the rock. “Listen, you rebels!” he shouted. “Must we bring you water from this rock?” Then Moses raised his hand and struck the rock twice with the staff, and water gushed out. So the entire community and their livestock drank their fill.
Wait…did Moses just smack the rock instead of talking to it? Seriously, is it that hard to follow a simple instruction?
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!”
Ouch, that hurts. One mistake and Moses doesn’t get to enter into the promised land. No treats for him!
This goes beyond just Moses not following instructions. Moses made this miracle about him, not about God.
Moses was disobedient, so he didn’t get God’s full blessing.
At times in my life, I did exactly what Moses did. Thru reading of God’s Word or prayer, God put something very specific on my heart…and I didn’t follow thru. Maybe I did part of it. Maybe I did it my way. Maybe, like Moses, I did it in a way that would glorify me instead of God. Maybe I didn’t trust the thing God wanted me to do was big enough to work.
No matter which way I did it, unless it was God’s way, I never was able to receive the whole blessing God had for me. I sold myself short by not following instructions. I was disobedient.
God wants for me to be able to enjoy His full blessing, and all I need to do is be obedient. In the same way I want Lucky to enjoy his treats. All he needs to do is be obedient.
Now, I’m not saying we are dogs. I’m just saying that at times we get very simple commands to follow…lets do it God’s way!