Wednesday, September 17, 2014

But it's just a little thing

Art from Iceberg

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Exodus 16:1-16

TO CHEW ON: "Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Behold I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them whether they will walk in My law or not.'" Exodus 16:4

The Israelites had just experienced the great high of crossing over the Red Sea and watching the Egyptians perish. But from that high they soon plunged to a low when they needed water and the water they eventually found was bitter. Their reaction: they grumbled and complained against Moses.

Would we blame them? Yet Moses' response to their grumbling shows that this was no frivolous thing: "Your complaints are not against us but against the Lord" (Exodus 16:8).

A little while later, remembering their Egyptian diet and comparing it to what they now ate now, "...the whole congregation complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness" (Exodus 16:2). God sent manna to satisfy their hunger. It was food that had an interesting side purpose: "And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them whether they will walk in my law or not." The "quota" was enough for each day and double that amount on the day before Sabbath so Sabbath was a day off. How they followed those instructions was God's test.

These are such little things—grumbling and complaining, not following instructions. Haven't we all been guilty of doing something similar?

Jerry Bridges in his book The Pursuit of Holiness says,

"We do not take some sin seriously. We have mentally categorized sins into that which is acceptable and that which may be tolerated a bit .... Andrew Bonar said, 'It is not the importance of the thing, but the majesty of the Lawgiver that is to be the standard of obedience .... Some, indeed, might reckon such minute rules as these trifling. But the principle involved in obedience or disobedience was none other than the same principle which was tried in Eden at the foot of the forbidden tree. It is really this: Is the Lord to be obeyed in all things whatsoever He commands? Is He a holy Lawgiver? Are His creatures bound to give implicit assent to His will?'" - Jerry Bridges, The Pursuit of Holiness, Kindle Location 110 - Bonar quote from Andrew Bonar, A Commentary on Leviticus, 1846, reprint 1972, p. 218 (emphasis added).

And so when God convicts about some little thing let's not try to wriggle our way out of dealing with it, giving the excuse that it's too insignificant to be concerned about. Rather, let's do the needed thing—make it right and change our ways because of the worth of our holy, majestic Lawgiver.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for these examples of how you test us in the little things. Help me to live with a sensitive conscience before You today, quick to change my ways where You apply pressure. Amen.

MORE: "The great disposition of sin underneath"

"When I get into the presence of God, I do not realize that I am a sinner in an indefinite sense; I realize the concentration of sin in a particular feature of my life.... The conviction is concentrated on—I am this, or that, or the other. This is always the sign that a man or woman is in the presence of God. There is never any vague sense of sin, but the concentration of sin in some personal particular. God begins by convicting us of one thing fixed on in the mind that is prompted by His Spirit; if we will yield to His conviction on that point, He will lead us down to the great disposition of sin underneath. That is the way God always deals with us when we are consciously in His presence" - Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, July 3 reading (emphasis added).

I believe Chambers has put his finger one of the reasons little things aren't really little at all. It is because they are symptoms of our real condition. They are the one tenth of the iceberg jutting above the surface, hiding the nine tenths of that "great disposition of sin" underneath."

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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