“And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead.”Exodus 12:29-30
Just before Rebekah and I were married, we went to the pet store to look for a dog. We saw a cute little puppy and immediately fell in love with him. We brought him home and named him Chino, and that little dog grew into a 70 pound beast. He was quite the shedder and his khaki-colored hair glowed on our forest green carpet. He was a great dog when he was not tearing out our window screens or eating our shoes. We dealt with his nuances as he was a loyal dog, and while he matured from his destructive puppy phase, he still had a problem that we tried everything to break him of.
I was installing the sprinkler system in the back yard one day when I happened to look up just in time to see my dog walking on top of the six-foot wall. He caught my eye and paused like he was a statue, hoping I would not spot him up there. I yelled at him to get down and he quickly obeyed, but this would not be the end of his antics. We soon learned that our dog was a jumper, and as soon as we left the house, he apparently left as well. I still to this day am not sure where he went or what he did, but he seemed to have no trouble scaling that wall.
I bought fencing that was higher than our gate, but he figured out where the fence was and would simply jump onto the wall and walk over to the back gate and get out. It seemed my dog was always one step ahead of me, and even though we added another row of blocks to the wall, our attempts were futile. We were at our wit’s end. We decided to get a shock collar for him to curb him of his escaping one and for all. In no time, he experimented with the range of the barrier and just prepared himself for the shock that he knew was coming. At first, I was trying to be nice with gentle shocks, but eventually had to turn it all the way up. Nevertheless, he still would find the boundary and brace himself as he jumped and took the shock. I would like to say the max setting stopped him in tracks, but he would get to the edge, take the shock and go on with his adventure. Although this deterrent worked to a certain extent, it did not stop my dog altogether from still doing what he wanted to do, even if that meant pain for him.
Much like my dog, Chino, I have also been one to get as close to the edge of the rules as possible. I would always look for loopholes in what my parents said, and tried to argue the letter of the law. Although laws look black and white, there is usually a way in which you can argue your point. My parents would tell me where the line was, and I would get as close as possible to the line, and oftentimes go over the line and pay the price for it. I tested what they had said and my backside proved that they meant it. I never won in the Mendez Court of Appeals. If the warning my parents gave me went unheeded, my judgment day came. I was not able to use excuses, and I always regretted not obeying what they had said.
God had warned Pharaoh many times to let His people go, and Pharaoh ignored God and tested Him to see how far He would go. It took God taking the firstborn of all the Egyptians to get Pharaoh’s attention, and this final act by God caused Pharaoh to finally listen to and obey the Word of God. God means what He says, and He will always do what He says He will do. We will always suffer the consequences when we do not obey God and attempt to test Him on His Word.
Where are you today friend? Are you testing God? Are you taking heed to the “shock collar” moments He has given you in your life or are you hoping that He will simply look the other way? God is always true to His Word and we will always suffer the consequences for our disobedience. Romans 6:1-2 states, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid (certainly not). How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” May we not test God and may we stay far away from sin before it is too late. Pharaoh and the Egyptians found out the hard way that God means what He says. May we be obedient to our loving Father and reap the good consequences of living for Him.