Keeping our part of the bargain

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your ways straight.” (Proverbs 3:5)

God made a covenant with Israel in Exodus 19:4-5. “You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey Me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all the nations you will be my treasured possessions.” Basically, it was to bless the Israelites through whom the world would come to know Him. On the other hand they promised to love Him with all their heart, soul and strength. After Moses reported this to them; “The people all responded together, we will do everything the LORD has said.” (Exodus 19:8)

When they did, they would expect to receive physical and spiritual blessings. The Children of Israel had not always comported themselves like they should however. Many a times, they had tried God’s patience and had angered Him. For their disobedience and for turning their backs on Him, God would deliver them into the hands of their enemies. Whenever they were in captivity and had reformed, God would have mercy on them and forgive them. 

On one particular occasion, God had asked Moses to send twelve spies on a reconnaissance mission to the Promised Land so they could have a foretaste, a firsthand experience of what was awaiting them. They returned from the visit with a bad report concluding that God wanted to exterminate them; for if they went into that city where there were only giants, they would be crushed. They said to Moses; “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw the descendants of Anak (giants) there.” (Numbers 13:27-18)

The instruction God had given to Moses was to send some men to explore “the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites.” (Numbers 13:2) The land was already theirs. It was a question of ‘blowing their minds’ with the beautiful and lush landscape, not to mention its agricultural produce – a cluster of grape had to be carried by two men on a pole. God had always called Canaan a land flowing with milk and honey and that was exactly what they had witnessed.              

It was one thing for them to have seen with it with their own eyes, but the statement they made, their declarations did not tally with the confidence of people who should have trusted God. For they concluded: “We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” (Numbers 13:33b) Can you imagine? They belittled themselves in the eyes of their enemies when where they had the backing of God’s word— “... the land ... which I am giving to the Israelites.” In essence, they were saying that God did not love them enough to have thought of sending them on a suicidal mission. How could such a thought have crossed His mind!

Two from among the reconnaissance team, Joshua and Caleb, urged them to go and take up the city there and then, trusting in God’s ability and faithfulness to accomplish what He had said. Because they spoke this way, they were nearly stoned to death.

The Children of Israel were ‘a stiff-necked, grumbling and difficult to please group of people. On this count however God would have smitten them dead if Moses had not pleaded with Him for mercy. “The LORD said to Moses and Aaron: How long will this wicked community grumble against me? I have heard the complaints of these grumbling Israelites. So tell them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the LORD, I will do to you the very things I heard you say: In this desert your bodies will fall–-everyone of you twenty years old or more ... who have grumbled against me.” (Numbers 14:26-28) He pursued: “Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb and Joshua.” (Numbers 14:30)

Like the stiff-necked Children of Israel we also have neglected our part of the bargain. We have failed numberless times to give credence to the word of a righteous, Almighty, All-Knowing and Ever-Present God. We are baffled by the strength of our adversary – ‘who hears the name of the LORD and tremble’ or by the adverse situation and circumstances we encounter, forgetting that no one or nothing is greater or more powerful than Jehovah Yahweh. 

To prosper in life, we need only obey the word of God and not sidestep it. Repeatedly, we are reminded that obedience is better than sacrifice. Seeking God’s kingdom before anything else matters a great deal to the Father. Blessings will overcome us when we are obedient. “But seek first the kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)

The Bible teaches us that His laws are not burdensome. In other words, God is not out to put obstacles in our way; on the other hand, the devil does. 

In instances when we find it difficult to obey or put into practice God’s instructions, let us get down on our knees and pray that God will grant us the strength and grace to be obedient. In so doing we will build for ourselves confidence and trust because God never fails; and moreover He never comes late.

TRUST and OBEY for there is no other WAY to be happy in Jesus. 

Author: Galandou Gorre-Ndiaye