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Lessons From Animals--"Obedience"

"Yet you have disobeyed me. Why have you done this?"
Judges 2:2b

 

My two dogs, Kasey & Annie, are well-behaved. I realize that some people, as they read that last statement, feel the need to suppress a smile--but that's my story, and I'm sticking to it. For the most part (note: "most part"), my dogs are well-behaved.

Take Kasey, for example. In addition to knowing the traditional tricks (sit, lie down, shake), her repertoire ranges from the helpful (heel, kennel) to the impressive ("Bang"--in which she flops down on her back with her paws in the air. And, with the possible exception of "kennel", I unfortunately can't take credit for any of her talents).

Oh, you wanted me to STAY in the yard?

And yet, even Kasey is not a little angel. She is an escape artist of the highest degree, and my backyard fence is not high enough to keep her in. What's funny, though, is her reaction to being caught in a moment of disobedience. In classic dog stature, her tail goes between her legs, she can't quite look me in the eye, and she sits down at my feet. In other words, she knows she disobeyed.

Aren't we very much the same? There are times when we know God's expectations for us, yet we choose to walk a different path. The reasons are varied: perhaps we're caught up in a moment; perhaps what we want becomes momentarily more important than what God wants; perhaps we just weren't thinking. Perhaps we've been influenced--if ever there was an example of 1 Corinthians 15:33, it would be Annie's (ahem) influence on Kasey.

The bad news is: God is not happy with our disobedience. In fact, He's down-right angry. The good news, though, can be found in Hosea 11:7 - 9a, paraphrased:

 

My people are determined to turn from Me. Even if they call to the Most High, He will by no means exalt them. Yet How can I give you up? How can I hand you over? How can I destroy you? My heart is changed within Me; all My compassion is aroused. I will not carry out My fierce anger…

 

The passage begins with God's frustration and anger that His people have turned away from Him (this is made even more poignant in the context of the entire chapter), and His initial declaration is, essentially, "I'm through with you!" Yet notice that, immediately, God's heart is changed--His compassion is aroused. God's love overcomes--His love is more powerful than His anger.

What a relief--because I'd hate to have to face God's anger, even though at times I would deserve to. In light of this incredible grace, I've adopted the prayer from Jeremiah 10:24--"Correct me, Lord, but only with justice--not in Your anger, lest You reduce me to nothing." At times I've adapted this to say, "Humble me, Lord, without humiliating me." Either way, the request is the same: "Be kind, Lord! I'm not above admitting I was wrong--just, please, be kind." Fortunately, He's already given His answer: "I love you. And yes--I'll be kind!"

 

 In Christ,

 

--Pastor Dan

 

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