Who is in charge? That is the question Pastor Bart asked us Sunday as we continue our journey to escape Gilligan’s island, following the people of Israel in the book of Exodus. God has given us some commands in order to help us escape off our island. However, once the pressure is off, we often try to take over instead of following God’s commands.
The three main points of pastor’s sermon were concerning God’s Commands.
- They pertain to every area of our life. Sometimes the commands seem to be counter to the world’s standards but in all cases they are designed to benefit us.
- God’s commands come with blessings and curses. Blessings bring us abundant life, the curses bring us death. We need to examine our lives and see where we are in disobedience and bring ourselves in line with God.
- Finally, God’s commands must be confirmed by a covenant, a blood oath. Without the shedding of blood there can not be salvation. It seems that most civilizations have understood this, each having some form of blood sacrifice. Jesus has become the once and for all sacrifice. When we accept Christ’s salvation for us, we enter into a covenant with God and His commands.
And so how do we respond? For me, this always brings up the balance between obedience and legalism and the balance between freedom and lawlessness. I really don’t have a problem trying to be legalistic as I hold dearly to “It is by faith we are saved and not by works lest any man boast.” I am rather a laissez-faire type when it comes to others as well. I do attempt to live according to the standards God has set out for me, not because I believe it will somehow save me, but as a result of my faith.
There is a spot that God desires us to be in, a spot centered in God’s love. When we stand in that place we obey His commands because we love Him and want to please Him. As we stay in His love, we receive His blessings. It is here where I desire to be.
The problem we all have is of course ourselves. We eventually become complacent or over confident in ourselves and find ourselves outside of that place God wants us. We find ourselves thinking that it won’t hurt to go on that 3 hour tour outside of of God’s commands. This of course leads us to much pain and suffering, a sudden storm that gets us stuck on Gilligan’s Island.
We also cannot become prideful thinking that we can somehow follow every command of God through our own power and in essence save our own skin. We do that and before we know it, we are completely outside of God’s will and back on Gilligan’s island. If there is one thing that we can certainly learn from the people of Israel is that is is very hard to stay on the straight and narrow. God knew this and provided us our salvation through His perfect Son.
Now, we can’t blame all pain and suffering on disobedience. The Book of Job teaches us as does the Book of Exodus that sometimes God allows us to go through trials and testing that we may come out stronger in the end. Those times we may feel stranded but in fact, God is right there with us. We may still feel stranded, especially if we have people around us like Job’s wife saying “Curse God and die.” I thank God my wife is just the opposite of Job’s wife. She loves, prays, and cares for me even when I am feelling horrid.
It is very hard to let God stay in charge. It is one of those fights I have with myself continually. I identify with Paul when he writes in Romans 7:14-8:1, “… I want to do what is right but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway… Oh what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord…. So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus” (NLT).
And so, I pray that I will remain in God’s love, follow His commands, and live my life in faithful response. I thank God that He loves me even when I fail and continually draws me back to Him. I am so thankful that although I feel stuck out in the wilderness like the people of Israel, I know God is with me and leading me to the promised land.
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