THE PRODUCT OF OBEDIENCE
Obedience requires trust whether we are conscious of it or not. When I was a kid, I was devoted to Taekwondo and my favorite part of it was sparring. I remember there was a time where the masters were teaching us the superman punch and if you don’t know what it is, google it to get a clear picture of it but it is a punch where you push off the ground and for a brief moment in the air as you are in a weird lunge type formation. I most likely butchered the explanation, so please youtube it. I remember during a sparring session, that the master kept telling me to do the new superman punch technique but I was afraid to utilize it because it was not in my usual set of moves. I hesitated many times to my masters furious anger because of my disobedience in not executing the new move. I decided to obey him at the last moment of the session and just threw technique into the wind as I leapt into the air in a very dramatic anime fashion (in my mind anyways) and came down on my opponent with all of my weight into the punch. Looked ugly (or massively awesome) but it landed and though my technique was wrong, the fact that I obeyed at that very moment actually caused the punch to land anyway. It is in that moment that I realized that regardless of my inability, my trust in my master would bring about success if I but trust him.
When it comes to God, God is telling us instructions but we are not obeying and we are left wondering why things are not going well! We have been talking about obedience for the longest time in this series but it is one of the fundamental principles of a thriving relationship with the Lord. Today, let us seek to obey the Lord and take time to hear His voice in how to carry that out specifically in our lives so that we can begin to see the plans of God unfold.
NOTES ON THE TEXT
8 “You shall therefore keep the whole commandment that I command you today, that you may be strong, and go in and take possession of the land that you are going over to possess, 9 and that you may live long in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give to them and to their offspring, a land flowing with milk and honey.
Our breakthrough is on the other side of obedience. I think that the constant theme of obedience is the theme for this season because disobedience makes the road of following Jesus harder than it should be. There are many reasons why prayers may not be answered right away or the blessings in our lives may not be readily apparent but one avenue that we should explore is whether we are living a lifestyle that obeys the Lord. Now this is not a time to condemn yourself or be negative but seeking to find out what the truth is and if we find that we are not, than to repent and move forward. Again, our breakthrough is on the other side of obedience.
10 For the land that you are entering to take possession of it is not like the land of Egypt, from which you have come, where you sowed your seed and irrigated it,[b] like a garden of vegetables. 11 But the land that you are going over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, which drinks water by the rain from heaven,12 a land that the Lord your God cares for. The eyes of the Lord your God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.
Obedience begins with trust. What are we trusting in? We are trusting that when we obey, that it is good because God is good. The blessing itself is also a blessing that should not and cannot be enjoyed apart from God’s presence. One key indicator that you and I are trying to enjoy the blessing apart from God is when our pursuit of God diminishes. Are you praying less? Are you reading the word less? Are you missing services and community functions? As hard as it can be to follow God during difficult times, it is that much harder to remember the Lord during good times. God describes the land of Egypt and contrasts that with the promised land. The big difference between the two is that in Egypt, the Israelites produced food from the land through their efforts. In the promised land, the land receives rain and produces food by God’s grace and attention. The message that God is relaying is that the promise land also tells them the truth that their lives are now to be in complete trust and obedience to Him and that if they were to do it that they will experience a life that is thriving!
13 “And if you will indeed obey my commandments that I command you today, to love the Lord your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul,14 he[c] will give the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the later rain, that you may gather in your grain and your wine and your oil. 15 And he will give grass in your fields for your livestock, and you shall eat and be full. 16 Take care lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them; 17 then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you, and he will shut up the heavens, so that there will be no rain, and the land will yield no fruit, and you will perish quickly off the good land that the Lord is giving you.
Obedience leads to thriving. But the call here is to be careful. The Israelites are a desert people where in the desert, the resources are not plentiful but trust must be. To experience the provision of God in the midst of the circumstances that they are in, they are to trust the Lord and obedience is hard when the circumstances make it difficult but doesn’t excuse us when we choose not to! When circumstances are bad, we may look at what we don’t have and what may go wrong or is going wrong but consider those moments opportunities for God to show you that He is a promise keeper.
Our breakthrough is on the other side of obedience.
Obedience starts with trust in God and continuous trust.
When circumstances makes us doubt, our obedience and trust needs to be rock solid to see the promises unfold.