By: Cindy Morrone
“Don’t do that!”
“Careful! You’re going to hurt yourself!”
These are warnings, we still find ourselves exclaiming to our girlies. Perhaps the exclamations are not as often as they grow older but necessary even now. Sometimes they have responded in annoyance with this direction, with a perception that we are trying to hinder their experience or pleasure.
Oftentimes, we can be found thinking that same way about our God. For in the Bible there are many, “You shall nots…” God commands us to not have any other gods before Him, make for ourselves an idol, misuse His Name, murder, commit adultery, steal, give false testimony, and covet. And He commands us to remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy and to honour our Mother and our Father. (Exodus 20)
So many commands, so many to dos and not to dos. And how do we perceive these commands? Are they restricting or are they liberating?
Samuel a judge, prophet and priest found himself waving a warning to God’s people when they asked for a king to lead them, and this story can be found in 1 Samuel. After Samuel prayed to the Lord about their request, the Lord laid out some very specific consequences for this direction. Things like the king will take your sons into his army, daughters as his servants, take the best of your fields, vineyards and olive groves, cattle and donkey and a tenth of your grain (1 Samuel 8:10-18). And “you yourselves will become his slaves.” (1 Samuel 8:17)
“But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.” (1 Samuel 8:19 & 20)
“….we will be like all the other nations….”
Why such a warning? Was it their asking for a king that could be so detrimental to them and/or their reason/purpose/heart motive in the asking?
The answer is found right at the start of their request in 1 Samuel 8: 6-9 “But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD. And the LORD told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them, but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do.”
“…..but they have rejected me as their king.”
God’s people did experience direct fulfillments of these warnings as can be read in books of the Bible, found after Samuel. And we too can go through profound consequences when we don’t obey God’s holy commandments; when we reject God’s lordship in our lives.
What spoke to me most about this story in my time of devotion was our heavenly Father’s mercy for us. He clearly lays out what is for our best; it’s right there in a Book, readily available. He knows our heart and our motives and even knows what we will choose. And sometimes those choices are made in rejection of Him; our Abba, Father. Yet still, He warns and outlines consequences.
I can choose to fill my loneliness and hurt with something other than my God and resting in His presence, but it is not what is best for me…..
I can choose to lash out at someone, not forgive or hold an offense, but it is not what is best for me…..
I can choose to look at someone else and compare myself or my life to another’s, but it is not what is best for me…..
I can choose to keep myself busy, all day, every day and occupy to the nth degree, but it is not what is best for me…..
I can choose in obedience to give my heavenly Father, lordship over my life and allow the Holy Spirit to guide and direct in the Truth and live in freedom and liberty!!
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)
Dear Heavenly and Gracious Father,
All glory and honour are Yours!! Thank You Lord for Your amazing mercy. Thank You for warnings and directions because we know that they are meant for our good; for our protection. Let us not be like rebellious children with the perception that You are constricting us. We ask for changed hearts that love, serve and obey You. Thank You for Jesus’ sacrifice and we pray all this in His name. Amen.