“And Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord, and all the judgments (laws): and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the Lord hath said will we do.”Exodus 24:3
I am not sure why, but when I was little, I always looked for ways out of rules and reasons to disobey them. I made my own rules that made sense to me, and I thought I could simply argue my way out of obeying the real ones. I looked for loopholes in the student handbook, and I looked for loopholes in the Mendez Family’s book of Revised Statues. I would get into trouble and try to argue my way out of it with my own reasoning and logic, but I seemed to lose every case. The defense team overwhelmed me with damning evidence, and a jury that included my mom and dad found me guilty. They would head over to the “judge’s chambers” and discuss my punishment. They would come out of chambers, and I would feel the wrath of my sentencing which was swift and memorable. I promised to never be in that situation again, but yet I found myself there more times than I can count.
There were very few times when I was not justly found guilty, but there was one time when I was truly as innocent as a brand new baby coming out of the womb. I had a friend who had been driving since he was 12, and he was year older than us because he had failed a grade. He was around 5′ 10″ in the 6th grade and looked older, so he was never pulled over even though he was too young to drive. He was the first of us to get a car, and he had an 5.0 Mustang that was about ten years old and in decent shape. At that age, you really do not care too much what the car looks like because you are just happy to have a set of wheels that are not attached to a bike frame. I had two other friends that hung out with him quite often, but my parents rarely allowed me to. They knew we were not looking for all-night prayer meetings, and they knew the four of us together would not amount to a whole lot of good. My friends asked me if I could spend the night so we could go out, but my parents denied me, so I planned to spend the Friday night hanging out in my room.
When I told my friends I could not spend the night, they came up with a brilliant idea. The idea was for me to sneak out of the house at 12:00am and to meet them down the block. The plan was set, but the more I thought about it, the more I knew it was a bad idea. I knew my parents would be disappointed in me, and I thought it was best to just obey in this instance. I wish I would have applied this logical thinking to other situations my life, but I chose to learn the hard way many times. I told my friends I was not going to do it, and they called me all kinds of names and told me I was missing out on the time of my life. I was not exactly sure what they planned to do, but I knew it involved “egging” some houses and stirring up trouble. I went to bed that night thinking over my choice, and I knew that I had made the right decision as sleep overcame me.
I thought nothing more of it until Sunday came around and I spotted a man looking angrily right at me. I knew who he was as I grew up in the church, and he was the dad of one of my school classmates. He got into my face and raised his voice and was clearly not happy with me. I got into a fighting stance ready to go at it, not really hearing what he was saying but ready to defend myself. In the midst of his angry words, I realized he was upset about me egging his house. He accused me of damaging his house and the paint on his beloved car. I looked at him and told him he was tripping and that he better get out of my face. He did not immediately calm down with my disrespectful response, but my dad walked over to see what the commotion was about, and he vouched that I was at home asleep. The man cooled down and I soon saw him talking to the parents of my other friend who was now in big trouble. I took a deep breath, and I was glad that I obeyed my parents for once. I had no regrets and I realized that obedience pays off.
The children of Israel were unified in their desire to obey the words of the Lord. I imagine that first night their sleep was sweet as they laid their heads down on their favorite rock. Our life may not be perfect, but there is no peace like the peace of obedience. If we will obey all the words of the Lord, our sleep will be sweet and we will reap the precious fruit of obedience. Isaiah 1:19 “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:” Will you obey all the words of the Lord? Will you be faithful in doing whatever the Lord commands? May our sleep be peaceful, and may we not fear man but rather fear our God. May God help us to do what is right, and may we be found “guilty” of obedience.