Saying “No” To Untold Favor

Considering the latest frenzy of the Powerball contest,  can you imagine having the winning ticket and not going to the effort of cashing it in? Or what if an investment of a lifetime came along, giving unimaginable potential to  your future, wouldn’t a “yes” be your response?

Some opportunities need to be weighed for the pros and cons. God did this for the Israelites in Leviticus 26 as He completed giving instructions to them as His chosen nation. Although it was as simple as a math equation that even I could understand, there are times that the potential of what God required and offered did not seem appealing enough for the right decisions to be made. Sinful hearts full of rebellion can complicate most anything.

After He laid out His expectations of them, he gave them motivation and perspective to help them in the decision making process. He knew He was establishing this new relationship and as a Holy God, there were great expectations of His people. But those great expectations brought with them great reward, as well as great consequence if not obeyed. He laid it out for His people in a simple manner.

If they obeyed, He would look on them with favor. If they did not follow His commands, He would set His face against them.

Boy, that is a sharp distinction! Either God would be for them, or against them. As blessed the concept of Almighty God being personally and powerfully for me, equally frightening is the thought of Him being personally and powerfully against me!! Who would actually choose that?! The Israelites did…..and so have I.

I don’t know why it seems so easy to choose to disobey God and His commands rather than obey Him. It reminds me of what Jeremiah says in chapter 17:9-10. “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.”

For the Israelites, this brought about cycles of judgments in their history that God used to bring them back to Himself in repentance. For myself, I suffered life long regrets over some of my choices. God disciplined me and I too returned to Him in repentance. I did not continue in the long term cycle of disobedience that the Israelites did but my season was long enough! I saw that left to my flesh, what I could get myself into. And it was ugly!

That season was enough for me to know that I wanted less of me directing my life and more of God. He is the best thing for me AND my life. In any life, there is only enough room for one to sit upon the throne of authority. I think He planned it that way from the very beginning. He allows us to choose for ourselves who we will follow, our flesh, or Him.

We see the destructive path life took when Adam and Eve usurped God’s authority in their life. We will see it play out time and again in the life of the Israelites. Having seen it in my own life, it was enough to teach me that I did not want to say “no” to His favor any longer.

The best for me, for all of us, waits in the safety and purpose of God’s commands. His “look of favor” to waken me in the morning, and the peace it gives me at night when I drift off to sleep is what I call a blessed life! Yes, seeking to abide by His commands is worth it indeed!

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