The Better Choice

I am in seated in a room full of people.  Most of the people in the room really do not want to be there, including me.  Most of us are in this room for the first time so we are a bit uneasy, uncertain of what will happen or what is expected of us.  A man walks to the podium in the front of the room and proceeds to welcome, thank and instruct us on what is expected of us.  One simple instruction he gives is to look at the number we have been assigned as we entered.  He tells us to listen for our number to be called and when and if it is, he asks us to respond out loud so he can hear and then see each person whose number has been called.  Pretty simple right?  How many times do you think he had to repeat that simple, specific instruction?  How many times do you think no one responded when their number was called?  Since this was a pretty average group of adults he repeated this instruction no less than 6 times.  I lost count of how many times he asked individuals for an oral response.  Do you people not listen or did you just decide that his instructions did not apply to you? This experience just reinforced what I already knew, people do not follow instructions!

God expects our obedience and His instructions are simple and specific.  Exodus is full of clear instruction given by God directly to Moses.  Moses was responsible for: delivering God’s instructions to the Israelites and, for making sure that the people followed God’s instructions exactly.  In chapters 39 and 40 of the Book of Exodus the people were crafting the garments for the High Priest, anointing the High Priest, assembling the tabernacle and anointing the tabernacle.  There were many, detailed and exacting requirements and each one needed to be completed in a specified order.  The people obeyed  God’s instructions through Moses EXACTLY.

I cannot help but think how many times I fail at obeying God’s exact instructions.  How often I worship something other than God.  I worship my comfort or reputation, I worship stuff, I worship my ease and comfort.  I am shamed by the times I behave, or talk or think unloving thoughts about others.  Those times I put myself, my wants before the needs of someone God has placed in my path, the times it is easier to turn aside from helping because getting involved in others pain is so messy.

These verses also remind me that God notices obedience, the phrase, “just as the Lord is commanded” is repeated 18 times in 76 verses.  Once or twice would have been enough to make the point but multiple repetitions tell me that God highly values and recognizes every act of obedience.

Obeying God is actually simple, just follow the instructions, but it is not easy.  I am grateful for God’s grace; that He repeats instructions and is patient with me as I learn to hear and follow His voice and only His voice.

Samuel said, “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,  1 Samuel 15:22