Faith, Favor, Falling Part II
In Part I of Faith Favor Falling, we talked about how God instructed Moses to SPEAK to the rock, however, Moses disobeyed and struck the rock instead. We learned that in the past, God had Moses strike a rock but God was moving in a new way this time around.
Recap: Disobedience does not always appear evident. Disobedience is not always blatant. Sometimes disobedience looks like following instructions.
When we keep operating the way God instructed us last time or in our last season when He has given new instructions, we are operating in disobedience.
We miss the mark when we don’t recognize that God is doing something new. God is always moving. We must keep up!
Now although Moses struck the rock instead of speaking to it, God still moved...He still performed the miracle. However, by dishonoring God, Moses lost the honor of leading the people of Israel into the Promise Land.
We can’t confuse God moving with God being pleased. God is faithful, even when we are not. He keeps His Word for His Name sake. Just because God performed and took care of the Israelites, didn’t mean that Moses wouldn’t have a punishment.
Just because God forgives us, does not me we are exempt from the consequences of our actions.
As I’ve mentioned before, I believe we sometimes get a little slack with obedience because we know that we have a safety net called grace. However, Grace isn’t a license to binge on sin, and forgiveness doesn’t free us from the punishment for our disobedience. Grace and mercy keep us from getting all that we deserve but some consequences still follow. Our parents forgive/forgave us for our disobedience but we still get/got grounded. Some of the things we are facing now or have missed out on aren’t an attack of the enemy, they’re us having to deal with the consequences of our actions.
God told Moses that he “failed to treat Me as holy in their presence.”
The people of Israel didn’t know what God had instructed Moses to do so they were not aware of his disobedience...but here’s the thing. It doesn’t matter if the people see our disobedience, are aware of our heart’s posture or know when we dishonor God. Whether public or private, God holds us accountable. We must have spiritual integrity.
How did Moses not treat God as holy? By not following His command. Holy means to be morally and spiritually excellent. Had Moses revered God as such, he would have followed His way.
God is morally and spiritually excellent. There is no fault in Him. His ways are morally and spiritually excellent. There are no faults in them. When we choose our way over God’s way, we are saying with our actions that His way isn’t excellent, that we have found our way to be better. However, the Word tells us:
““For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways.” This is the Lord’s declaration. “For as heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
Isaiah 55:8-9 HCSB
That’s it. God’s ways are superior. When we divert from His path or tweak His instructions, no matter how good we think our reasoning is, we are no longer walking in excellence.
Let’s take a look at Saul in 1 Samuel 15. He can teach us much concerning this.
“...The Lord sent me to anoint you as king over His people Israel. Now LISTEN to the words of the Lord.”
“...go and attack the Amalekites and completely destroy everything they have. Do not spare them...“
Listen - To take notice of AND act on what someone says; RESPOND to advice or a request.
Listening requires action. God’s instructions require a response. That response is our obedience. God’s Words aren’t still or stagnant, they move - just as we should when we near them.
God doesn’t talk just to hear Himself speak. He is intentional with every word and command He gives. If He says something, He means it and there is a reasoning behind it. That reasoning is to bring Him glory and is always for our good.
So after Saul received the word from the Lord, let’s see how he responded:
“Saul and the troops SPARED Agag, and the best of the sheep, cattle, and choice animals, as well as the young rams and the best of everything else. They were not willing to destroy them, but they did destroy all the worthless and unwanted things.”
1 Samuel 15:9 HCSB
God instructed Saul and his troops to NOT SPARE, but that is exactly what they did. God commanded that they COMPLETELY DESTROY EVERYTHING but that is exactly what they did not do.
Saul and his troops were only “obedient” as far as they were willing. But the gag is, partial obedience is still disobedience. Saul “obeyed” God with the worthless things, the things which He didn’t care about. However, that which he saw value in, he decided to manage his own way. He was not willing to give up those things.
Our obedience to God is better than whatever we are having to give up or are seemingly losing.
“Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel, “I regret that I made Saul king, for he has turned away from following Me and has not carried out My instructions.”...”
1 Samuel 15:10-11 HCSB
What are you holding onto that God has already instructed you to destroy?
In what ways have you turned from following Christ?
How have you not carried out the Lord’s instructions?
These are questions we should ask ourselves. Disobedience is dangerous. We must evaluate ourselves to ensure that we are honoring and following that which God has instructed us. It pains God to see our disobedience - to see our conscious decision to turn from Him- even though He is aware of it before our doing so.
Saul’s disobedience brought about serious repercussions. Catch Part III of Faith Favor Falling to see the outcome of Moses’ dishonor and Saul’s defiance.