“And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken (listen) to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee. And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.”Exodus 15:26-27
When I was a kid, I did not do well in school. My grade point average was around a 1.5, and that was a good year. I thought of myself as a dumb kid, but I did little homework and during class I daydreamed of hitting the game-winning shot or making a touchdown in the Super Bowl. My papers dripped with red ink and I almost always had to have them signed by my parents. I would be scolded and warned to do better in my school work, but I could not seem to get over the hump. I did not listen to the voice of my parents and my neglect made my backside glow like Rudolph’s nose.
I was, however, motivated by gifts and prizes, so my mom offered to buy me a Happy Meal for every ‘A’ I got on my spelling test. In the 80s, Happy Meals were a big deal and it was a treat to get one, so I was all on board to study for spelling. I received my first ‘A’ in Spelling (which was long overdue), but I only did well enough to get my Happy Meal. My mom raised the stakes and told me I needed to get a 100 percent going forward. I studied even harder and after that, there were very few weeks when I was not face to face with a cheeseburger and a small fry. I began to look forward to those Spelling tests because I could not wait to get that special treat on Friday.
I did not listen to my parents as I should have, but when I did, I reaped the rewards and blessings of doing so. I have also done this in my spiritual life and did not listen to the voice of God and instead sought to go my own way. While on my own path, I even felt comfortable in my sin. At times when faced with the consequences of my sin, I made some external changes, but it did not bring about true change because there was no heart change. Just as I was motivated by a Happy Meal instead of being motivated to obey my parents because God said so, my motives were not what they should have been.
I am encouraged by this promise God gave to the Israelites because it demonstrates God’s law of sowing and reaping. If we listen to and obey the voice of the Lord, then we will reap the fruit of obedience. If we do not, then we will reap the consequences of disobedience. God wants to bless us, but more importantly, He wants us to change us. He wants to change our heart and not simply the outward appearance of what others can see. God knows our heart and He knows if we are truly being obedient to His command. Doing right always pays because we will always reap what we sow.
Where are you today friend? Do you obey just to gain the “Happy Meal” or do you obey because you love the Lord your God? How are you doing in the obedience department? Are you listening to the voice of the Lord and doing what He has commanded you to do? James 1:22-25 states, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding (observing) his natural face in a glass (mirror): For he beholdeth (observes) himself, and goeth his way, and straightway (immediately) forgetteth what manner (kind) of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed (what he does).” May we not be only hearers of the Word, but may we be obedient to what God has commanded us to do.