Improving Strength by Improving Obedience

(Deuteronomy 11)

Lesson 13 -- third quarter 1994
August 28, 1994

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 1994

One need only look at the Babylonian, Assyrian and Roman conquests to see the fulfillment of these curses on Israel. In more recent times, the Holocaust of World War II and the increasing isolation of the nation of Israel in our day show the on-going fulfillment of these curses. They forgot God and neglected the keeping of His commandments, and they have been paying the price for successive generations.

We can see so clearly (with the tremendous objectivity of hindsight) the dangers of taking God's commands so lightly as to disregard them. At least, we can see them Israel's case. But what about in our own case? We are absolute fools if we don't learn from their experiences!

I say the church today has a multiplicity of people who live as though God's Word consists of a bunch of multiple choice options. They seem to think that the last of those options is "None of the above." Christianity is perceived as only a matter of the heart, certainly not as something which will drastically affect the life. Are you one of these? Have you "succeeded" in divorcing Christianity from obedience?

Take time right now to make a mental list of the habits which you cannot change or exchange and the sins which you cannot overcome. Maybe after a continuing lack of success you have given up the fight. Why can you not achieve a lasting victory? I believe today's lesson contains a potential answer. Note Deuteronomy 11:22,23: "For if ye shall diligently keep all these commandments which I command you, to do them, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, and to cleave unto Him; then will the LORD drive out all these nations from before you, and ye shall possess greater nations and mightier than yourselves."

I believe that when we live in disobedience to God's commands, choosing to disregard God in our day-to-day living, we leave ourselves vulnerable to defeat and frustrated efforts. Instead of possessing nations (any kind of spiritual enemy) greater and mightier than you, you will come under their control. My friend, disobedience and victory are mutually exclusive. These can no more coexist than can light and darkness! Yield to the Lord and His Word; quit fighting against Him!

I suppose it could be said that in the Garden of Eden, Eve began humanity's independent quest for wisdom. To this day, most of us want to be wise and most Christians want to display wise behavior. Have you attained to these? How often I have wished I could un-say a foolish comment or un-do an imprudent deed! It is at those times that I have wondered when I will ever mature in wisdom. I am sure you can identify with this frustration. Did you realize we can contribute to our own growth in the area of wisdom?

The Bible says frequently that David "behaved himself wisely." The Hebrew word thus translated is the same one translated wise in Genesis 3:6. This Hebrew word is used repeatedly in the Old Testament; some of those times it is translated prosper (as in Deuteronomy 29:9 and Joshua 1:7,8). I am no Hebrew scholar, but I am intrigued by this connection shown in those last three verses -- wisdom is linked to obedience!

The next time you are chagrined by your foolishness and imprudence, don't just bemoan your immaturity, don't continue trying to improve in your own strength. Improve your obedience and claim the promises made in these verses.

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