So many of us want all the benefits of Jesus. We want a sense of his presence. We want to be encouraged by his strength. We want to experience his power in us. We want to be able to speak to the mountains in our life with his authority and have them leap into the ocean. We want to be healthy and well, at peace, and content. These are all promises Jesus has given us and we want them so we can be awesome in our service to him. We want it but we keep getting in the way of receiving it. He has promised to prosper us, to shower us with these and even more blessings but we block them by our disobedience.
As I continue to explain the importance of obedience to my children I put it in terms they can understand. I ask them if they believe they should be rewarded for doing bad things? They answer no. I ask them if they believe they should be rewarded for disobeying my instructions. They answer no. See, even children understand this stuff. I explain to them that I want to bless them with all the good things I have to give them because I love them, but if I give them all these things when they disobey then I will be re-enforcing their bad behaviour and they will turn out to be bad people who do not know how to obey rules. They would be spoiled. What amazes me is that my children get it.
They now understand that when I correct them it isn't because I hate them but because I love them. They understand that if I don't correct them I will end up spoiling them, causing them to be rotten and useless to our society. I realize that there is a level of morality I am teaching them but I am not teaching them to follow the rules of man, but instead the commandments of Yahweh. You know, David taught the same thing to Solomon:
Now, my son, may the Lord be with you; and may you prosper, and build the house of the Lord your God, as He has said to you. Only may the Lord give you wisdom and understanding, and give you charge concerning Israel, that you may keep the law of the Lord your God. Then you will prosper, if you take care to fulfill the statutes and judgments with which the Lord charged Moses concerning Israel. Be strong and of good courage; do not fear nor be dismayed. (1 Chronicles 22:11-13)
In essence what he told Solomon is that he was praying wisdom for him to understand that if he obeyed Yahweh he would prosper. Simple enough for children to understand. "If you obey me good things will happen. If you disobey me bad things will happen." This is love. Correction comes from a root of love and is intended to increase not decrease a person.
Solomon started off well and indeed prospered beyond anyone's imagining. He became the greatest king on the earth and everyone submitted to his wisdom. However, Solomon did not continue in obedience. He married women that Yahweh had commanded not to marry. These women did exactly what Yahweh said they would do; they became a distraction to Solomon and he began to worship other gods. The blessings were removed and Yahweh brought in correction. Solomon's last days were spent in wars instead of the peace he had enjoyed. Because of his unrepentant disobedience Yahweh decided to divide the kingdom. Never again would one king rule over the complete kingdom as Yahweh divided it under Solomon's son's rule. It could have ended differently.
Many of us have yet to taste of the full blessing, prosperity, of our Lord because we do not give priority to obedience. We believe grace will carry us through. We do not have the maturity of a child to understand that it is our heart that matters to our Father. We may not be perfect but when our desire is to walk in obedience, holiness, his righteousness, when we give it our best effort because it is our desire to please him, then his grace covers us when we fall short. And if we fail to repentant when we fall short he will correct us so that we understand the importance to recognize when we have fallen short. This is a good thing. Even when we do fall short, the reason he covers us by grace is because our desire, our motivation is obedience. It is not the attitude of a spoiled child, "My dad loves me so he will forgive whatever I do". A child understands the difference, why can't we?
We want all the benefits of the relationship but just as Yahweh's response in the relationship of love is to bless us, our response should be the desire to obey. We need a David's heart, one that is fully for the Lord, all the time so that if we do fail our first concern is our relationship with Jesus. My friends open your arms and heart wide to receive all the abundant blessings he has planned for us, and be determined that the motivation of your heart in all matters is loving obedience in everything he has commanded.