God has been speaking to me about obedience, and what it truly looks like. I came across a passage in Numbers 20:1-13. These verses give an interaction between Moses and God. The children of Israel are in the desert. There’s no water there, so they begin to complain and rebel against Moses and Aaron. They both went into the Tabernacle and fell before God. God spoke to them and gave them clear directions on what to do.
“You and Aaron must take the staff and assemble the entire community. As the people watch, speak to the rock over there, and it will pour out its water. You will provide enough water from the rock to satisfy the whole community and their livestock.” So Moses did as he was told. He took the staff from the place where it was kept before the Lord. Then he and Aaron summoned the people to come and gather at the rock, “Listen, you rebels!” he shouted. Must we bring you water from this rock?” Then Moses raised his hand and struck the rock twice with the staff, and water gushed out. So the entire community and their livestock drank their fill. Numbers 20:8-11
Why did Moses not follow the directions that he was given? If you look back to Exodus 17 you will find a similar situation playing out. God tells Moses to strike a rock and water flows out. I think Moses was saying, “Well, it was successful this way last time.” Moses failed to be open to the new avenue through which God intended to move. He acted on the basis of his past experience. The method worked, but the Lord was displeased at Moses’ disobedience. The measure of success in the Lord’s eyes is not the outcome of the effort, but the obedience of His servant.
But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust me enough to demonstrate my holiness to the people of Israel, you will not lead them into the land I am giving them!” Numbers 20:12
Are there places in your life where you are compromising obedience to God? Do you justify what you’re doing by saying, “Well, it’s working ain’t it?”. God wants to do something new in all of our lives, and for that to happen He requires our obedience. If you find yourself making a formula or routine out of your relationship with God, stop. Is there anything wrong with being successful? No, of course not. Should success be the measure of how well you’re serving God? No, of course not. God wants our hearts. He doesn’t want part of us. Obedience is God’s love language.
In all that he did in the service of the Temple of God and in his efforts to follow God’s laws and commands, Hezekiah sought his God wholeheartedly. As a result, he was very successful. 2 Chronicles 31:21
Seek God with all your heart and you will learn what true obedience looks like.
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