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June 16, 2014 – Isaiah 48

Click here to read Isaiah 48 on BibleGateway.com

consequenceThere’s an old saying (old in that I can’t remember where I first heard it, coupled with being too lazy to look it up) that says “most of us spend the week sowing wild oats, then go to church on Sunday and pray for crop failure.” We’ve all seen them in church. Note the man who spends all week developing mathematical irregularities in his business accounting, then makes sure to put an extra twenty bucks into the offering. Pity the poor woman who sees the two people she had been “discussing” earlier in the week talking to each other in the foyer after church. The single who “slipped” during the week, and prays that if there’s just no pregnancy this time, it’ll never happen again; the obese man who prays for a clean doctor’s report whilst planning the after-church run to Burger King; and the parent who promises they’ll monitor their kid more closely, if only those shop-lifting charges are dropped this week.

ALL I WANNA DO IS WHAT I WANNA DO

Why do we do it? Is it just part of our nature? Paul talks about knowing the good he should do, but still doing the other. We know we should spend time in prayer, but the game went late. We know we should read the Word, but that guy on Facebook is soooo wrong; he must be corrected for the good of the world. We know we should give to the poor, but those shoes are only on sale this week. We make excuses because deep-down we believe that what we “want” to do is more important than what we “should” do.

Here’s the question: do we really trust God? He gives us some pretty direct outlines for behavior throughout the Bible, along with what will happen if do or don’t follow them. Do we believe Him? Or do we think “well, yeah, but this is a special circumstance.” Yes, I know I’m supposed to submit to authority, but my boss isn’t even a Christian; I’m sure Jesus didn’t mean to submit to him. Yes, I know I’m supposed to give to the Church, but if I don’t pay this bill, they’ll cut off my cable; surely Jesus wouldn’t deprive me of the NFL. Yes, I know I’m supposed to turn the other cheek, but I can’t just let people walk all over me, right?

FATHER KNOWS BEST

The point is not “can you follow this list of rules to prove you deserve heaven,” but “if you follow these direction, you will have life fuller.” Do you believe it? Do you really trust that even when it seems crazy, God’s way is really the best? Or do you think “if only God didn’t have so many rules, life would be so much better.” Isaiah tells us today that God “teaches what is best for you…if only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river.” Can you do it? Can you follow God’s commands and trust that He knows what’s best, even when it seems “wrong” or “old-fashioned” to you?

God tells us that consequences will follow our decisions.  If we follow his directions, the consequences will be for our benefit; if we don’t, our consequences will come back to bite us in the country hams.  If we plant seeds from God’s word, we’ll harvest His plan for our life.  If we go our own way, then we’ll have to live with the results that we get, rather than what an infinite Creator has planned for us. Which do you prefer?

Will you be excited to reap your decisions? Or are you praying for crop failure?

 

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