Not long ago, my five-year-old jumped in the car from pre-school and announced, “I have a BOYFRIEND!” Her little face was glowing, and I asked how that had come to be. She explained that she chased him down on the playground and requested that he become her beau. To her delight, he agreed…on one condition. That she would do whatever he said. Ha! Well, to my surprise, this feisty, bossy little thing said she had agreed to the terms! It makes me giggle just thinking about it.
While that little scenario might make us smile, it also leads me to think about that bold condition. I’ll accept your offer if you do whatever I say. That could spell out M-E-S-S in big bold letters for most people.
But not when it pertains to God, y’all.
You see, that same little one and I were reading the story of Jericho recently in her Jesus Storybook Bible. It told about the Lord’s command, that probably sounded foolish to many, for the Israelites to march around Jericho in silence. But then, when He gave the order on the seventh day, they would yell at the top of their lungs and the walls would come crumbling down. And that’s exactly what happened.
But before any of that came to pass, the Lord spoke to Joshua and said, “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do.” Or as the Jesus Storybook Bible says, “If you do what I say, everything will go well with you.”
So what’s the difference? Aren’t they saying the same thing? “If you do what I say…” Well, they are and they aren’t…so here’s the difference.
People are sinful, y’all. When that sweet five-year-old boy set the condition for my baby, he, most likely, was thinking of himself and the joy he would get from bossing her around. But when the Lord says it, well, He’s trying to keep us from heartache that could easily be avoided. And as it is with so many things, it is not the words themselves, but the intention of the heart behind the words.
Psalm 32:8-9,11 says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control…So rejoice in the Lord and be glad, all you who obey Him! Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!”
My sweet friends, we can trust that the Lord has our best at heart. When He says that all will go well with us if we listen to Him, He means it. He wants to save us from our bad choices. He wants to save us from ourselves. My prayer is that we will all strive to have obedient hearts that long to hear His voice and seek His face today, and every day.
“If you love Me, you will obey my commandments.” John 14:15