Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Obedience Training

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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

Have you ever raised a stubborn child, where the smallest request ended in a battle of wills? “Eat your vegetables.” “No!” “Brush your teeth.” “No!” “Buckle your seat belt.” “No!” “Stop hitting your sister.” POW!

Sometimes such battles can seem silly. Why press a child to tears for victory over a few peas or a bedtime with clean teeth? Yet the responsible parent knows that disobedience in such small things is a symptom of a deeper attitude of rebellion toward authority. When we ignore it in our children, we run the risk of them growing into rebellious adults.

In a way the Israelites were like children. They were untrained in the ways of freedom. They had recently broken free from the grip of generations of slavery in Egypt. Whether their new attitude of complaining and insolence was a pendulum swing as far from slavery as they could get (now we can do as we please!), or just the natural response of human nature to tough conditions, we don’t know. But God sensed their need for training and He started small, with basic, easy-to-follow directions about gathering food (Exodus 16:4,5).

God’s explanation to Moses of why He made such rules: “‘That I may test them.'”

[Test - nasah - To put to the test, to try, to prove, tempt. The basic idea is to put someone to the test to see how he will respond. - Dick Mills, Word Wealth, New Spirit-Filled Bible, p. 747.]

Predictably, perhaps, some failed this test by trying to keep manna overnight (Exodus 16:20), and failing to gather extra on the day before Sabbath, then finding no supply on Sabbath morning (Exodus 16:27).

On the flip side of this matter, Jesus taught that those obedient and faithful in small things would be rewarded with greater responsibility (Matthew 25:21,23).

Where do we sit in this continuum of rebellion to obedience (and qualification for promotion)? What tests are we facing? Are we passing those tests? Are we aware of what our acts of insolence and disobedience to the things of God say about our maturity and fitness for the responsibilities we have now, let alone greater responsibility?

PRAYER: Dear Father, please give me insight into how the mundane activities and attitudes of life are spiritual tests. Help me to grow in obedience. Amen.

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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