"Partial obedience is not obedience at all." -Me
Last year, at about this time, the women's group at my church was going through a Bible study by Priscilla Shirer entitled Discerning the Voice of God. While engaging in this study, the Holy Spirit began to speak to me powerfully about obedience. There were certain things in my ministry that I was ho-humming around about. You know what I'm talking about. When God has told you something, but you're going to spend more time "praying about it" just to make sure it was "really" Him. God was using this devotion, to speak to me more than just discerning God's voice, but obeying Him, and doing it immediately. I remember very clearly hearing Him say to me, "Sara, if you're not obeying me quickly, you're not trusting me, you're not obeying me at all."
I was reminded of all of this today as I was reading in Deuteronomy 1. This chapter is an account of when Moses was speaking to the Israelites about moving from the wilderness that they were in, to the promise land God had for them. Moses' first words to them were "the LORD our God said to us, 'You have stayed at this mountain long enough. It is time to break camp and move on" (vs 6-7). That verse has so much power in it. Think about it, God's people, roaming around in the desert for years, due to their disobedience and unbelief, then God speaks 1 sentence and it's time to move on. HALLELUJAH!
So on they go. They leave Mt. Siani and head through a "great and terrifying wilderness" (vs 19), to take possession of the land that God had promised them and their enemy was currently occupying. When the land was just out of reach, Moses says, "
I said to you, 'You have now reached the land that the LORD our God is giving us.
Look! He has placed it in front of you. Go and occupy it as the
LORD, the God of your ancestors, has promised you. Don't be afraid!
Don't be discouraged!'" (v 20) Those instructions seem very clear, and given their history, one would think that they would trust God at this point. However, just like us sometimes, they thought they knew better than God. In the very next verse, they say (this is me paraphrasing) "Well, uhhh, instead of that, how about we send out some of our posse'. They can scope the place out, that way we know what we're getting ourselves into." THEN their fearless leader, the one chosen by God to direct them, says "Okay, that sounds like a good idea to me." (v 23) WHAT?!?! Uhhh, Moses, did you forget what God had said? (This is a whole different blog about when leaders let self rule, instead of God rule. Hmmm, maybe I'll write that one someday too.)
Well, they did send out spy's to check out the land first. Of course, the spy's had a good report, "They picked
some of its fruit and brought it back to us. And they reported that the
land the LORD our God had given us was indeed a good land." (v 25) However the spy's also put their own opinions in there and spread around the camp that there were giants in the land. A perfect example of how easy it is to get dissuaded from the plan God has for you, by listening to the voices of others, instead of the voice of God. This sealed the deal for that generation of Israelites. They didn't get to see the promised land, but their descendents did. Except for Caleb, one of the spy's. " "When the LORD heard your complaining, he became very angry. So he solemnly swore,
'Not one of you from this entire wicked generation will live to see the good land I swore to give your ancestors,
except Caleb son of Jephunneh. He will see this land because he has
followed the LORD completely. I will give to him and his descendants
some of the land he walked over during his scouting mission.'" Not even Moses got to enter the promised land. He was their leader and he let his own fear lead him astray.
I want to be in the center of God's will for my life, I'm sure you do too. It is so vital that we get this obedience thing down. By the way, I highly recommend the Bible study Discerning the Voice of God!