My father was a strict authoritarian. When he told me to do something, I knew that I had better start moving. Unlike what one of his parents expected of him – I think it was his father – he did let me finish hearing what he was saying before I started moving. He did not like telling my brothers or me to do anything twice. A third time meant that we were in trouble.
What kind of obedience does God desire?
You might think my dad was hard on me. Mom expected the same, but she did not seem quite as stern in her methods. She was more willing to let me ask a question before I got moving.
If it’s true what they say – children think that God is like whatever impression they have of their father, my father certainly portrayed a sense that God expects obedience.
And thou shalt put the staves into the rings by the sides of the ark, that the ark may be borne with them. The staves shall be in the rings of the ark: they shall not be taken from it.
The ark was not to be touched. Only the poles were to be touched. Yet in this next passage Uzzah tried to help God out. He did the forbidden.
And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah: and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drave the new cart. And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab which was at Gibeah, accompanying the ark of God: and Ahio went before the ark. And David and all the house of Israel played before the LORD on all manner of instruments made of fir wood, even on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals. And when they came to Nachon’s threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God.
2 Samuel 6:3-7
When I read this passage, I cannot help but wonder how many of us would have reached out. We may have reached out to help God out. We may have reached out as a reflex because we did not want the ark to fall. Either way, we would have been in the wrong.
How many times do we think to ourselves that what we are doing is almost what God expects? How many times do we realize that we fall short, yet we do not change or even desire to change? How many times do we make excuses because of the feelings of others?
God does not change. His expectations for obedience remain the same.
Today’s challenge is to realize that God is more authoritarian than perhaps we’d like to acknowledge. He desires our strict obedience. Take a look at your life, and decide where you need to make improvement. We all fall short. God knew that we would. When you accept Jesus as your Savior and make Him Lord of your life, it’s not permission to fall short, but it is your forgiveness, mercy, and grace.