Seeing Past the Smoke

Deuteronomy 1:39 “Moreover, your little ones who you said would become a prey, and your sons, who this day have no knowledge of good or evil, shall enter there, and I will give it to them and they shall possess it.”

Observation: The early chapters of Deuteronomy describe the Israelites poised at the edge of the Promised Land. They were finally ready to enter after forty years of wandering in the desert as the nation waited for the rebellious generation of adults to die off or to be killed by God (see Deut. 2:15). In today’s reading, God was reminding the people that one of the foolish justifications their parents had used for their disobedience to God was “concern” for the safety of their children. 

God’s response nearly forty years later is that not only will those little ones be kept safe by Him, but in fact, they are the very ones who will have the privilege of crossing over into the land God had first made available to their parents two generations earlier.

Application: It is painful to remember so many times in the past when I have tried to justify disobedience to what I knew God was saying with the claim that it was “for the benefit of my family,” or even more stupidly, “to serve the Lord.” I remember many lonely nights in motel rooms as I traveled the nation when our children were young. My speaking and working supposedly was to earn a living for them or to help the needy children of the world. The reality was that the Holy Spirit was wooing me to treat as higher priority my family’s need for my daily presence.

I suspect I am not alone in living by such an ill-advised priority system. Though I may blow smoke about how “I’m doing this for you, for us,” God sees through my real motives perfectly.

Finally, through my wife, Cindy’s, illness God got my attention and wrung out of me the need to succeed in the world’s eyes by making a radical change in my lifestyle. He taught me that nothing is more important than obedience to Him in even the smallest detail.

Prayer: Father, I pray that these lessons, once learned, will not have to be repeated. Forgive me, Lord, for each action I have taken to pursue notoriety or fame or impact beyond the field You have provided for me to labor in.

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