The Bare Soul - August 21, 2011
The Glory of God

Leviticus 9:6 - Moses said, "This is the thing which the LORD has commanded you to do, that the glory of the LORD may appear to you.

Most of us have either witnessed or participated in the following exchange. Parents will often explain to their children that if they do as they are expected, then a certain result will be their reward. For instance, some parents or grandparents will tell their offspring that if they bring home a good report card, then they will be rewarded accordingly. Some use money or privileges to motivate their brood. Of course, no reasonable parent or guardian would keep basic necessities from children, depriving them of shelter or nourishment. However, added "perks" can often be a strategy to get youth to behave in an acceptable manner. Whether this is wrong or right, it serves as a good illustration regarding how God our Father interacts with us. He would never deny us the simple necessities of life. (After all, as He said through the Lord Jesus, how much more important are we then the ravens that He watches over daily! [Luke 12:24]) While He watches over us, providing for all our needs, scripture tells us that He reveals His manifest presence primarily to those who seek to be obedient to Him in all things. Of course, the main point of obedience is humility, recognizing when we have sinned against the Lord and then asking for His forgiveness. Through humility, we then learn to grow in grace where disobedience is a seldom rather than frequent occurrence. Our objective should always be to understand what the will of God is for our respective lives, and then to fulfill it by our daily obedience to Him. Unfortunately, too many of us seek to live on yesterday's direction rather than seeking God's bidding each and every day. We find that it is often more comfortable to rely on our former counsel from the Lord rather than seeking the fresh manna that He provides morning by morning.

In our lead verse, we see Moses stating a simple principle to evoke the presence of God on behalf of the nation of Israel. What comes before verse six is important if you are studying this chapter in context. (For those who must know, it concerns specific elements of grain and animal sacrifices to be offered to the Lord.) However, for the case of this study, it is only important to note the particularity of something preceding which is identified only as "this." Regarding this adjective, it prescribes a demonstrative condition resulting in a definite outcome. That is, if it is completed as intended by God's command. How many of us struggle with doing THIS that the Lord commanded rather than doing THAT which may look good and religious? For instance, God is as likely to tell a believer to fast or not to fast, to give or not to give in a certain situation, or to speak or not speak admonition to another, just to mention a few. Our dilemma is often knowing when to act on what we might believe are "God impressions" or not to. Learning to hear the voice of the Lord is paramount regarding the type of intimate obedience that Jesus desires from His people. However, we often rely too heavily upon others to hear the word of the Lord on our behalf. Tragically, this is where many a well-meaning saint has erred and pursued after the wrong word for their respective lives. The Apostle Peter appropriately called it the error of Balaam. (II Peter 2:15) This ancient seer, who chose unrighteousness over God's righteousness, compromised his ability to hear God's voice for the prestige and power that Balak, king of Moab offered. Instead of doing "this", as the Lord originally told him (which was to stay in his own land and not journey to Moab) the conflicted prophet chose rather to do "that" which set him in rebellion against his Maker. (Numbers 22:22) Instead of God's glory being revealed to Balaam on behalf of Moab, the Lord exalted His chosen people Israel and abased the arrogance of both the prophet and the nation of Moab.

As obedience is the catalyst to invoke Yahweh's glory, the opposite is often the reason why it departs. There may not be two better examples of provoking God's displeasure in choosing "this" over "that" as the example of King Saul's presumptive sacrifice and his subsequent disobedience of the complete destruction of Amalek. Saul had learned that when he listened to the voice of God's prophet, Samuel, that God's glory was manifest in all he set his hand to do. In I Samuel 13:8-14, we read how Saul disobeys God's prophet by sacrificing before the allotted time prescribed by Samuel -- "the voice of the Lord" for Saul and Israel. By appearances, it would seem that he made a logical decision and sacrificed before the people scattered since it seemed that Samuel was running a bit late. However, as many of us know, the "good" can often be the worst enemy of the "perfect". In this case, the good decision that Saul made was born in hell itself because it was not part of God's plan as spoken through Samuel. The same can be said for Saul's disobedience in sparing some of the choice livestock of the Amalekites as well as Agag their king. Good reason would suggest that some of the prized cattle and sheep would make excellent sacrifices to the Lord, as Saul suggested to Saul. (I Samuel 15:1-21) However, God is not interested in human reasoning or logical conclusions. He is ultimately interested in strict obedience so that He can bless His people for their faithfulness. Saul failed to see the importance of hearing God's voice through the prophet, so God rejected Saul from the kingship and the glory departed from the disobedient ruler. (I Samuel 15:22-23) It would take a new king (who was currently shepherding sheep for his father) to once again restore the glory of God to Israel's throne as he became "a man after God's own heart." (Acts 13:22)

So, what must we understand to provoke God's glory in our lives and those around us? To believe that anything less than an obedient life to God will commend His glory to our lives, our families, our nation, or our world is presumptuous and unscriptural. God is not going to "side up" with us just because we profess God and tell everyone that He has purchased us with His Son's blood. Beloved, if we are not humbly seeking to live for God with all that we have, we might want to question whether the blood has had any affect on our eternal prospects! Sanctification through obedience is a requirement to see the Lord and His glory. (Hebrews 12:14) Shall we rest on our laurels and not seek God fervently, on a daily basis, for His word in our respective lives? Only as we seek to do "this", which may be different for each and every one, may we be kept safe from doing "that" which will ultimately separate us from His glory in this lifetime and possibly in the one to come. Jesus tells us that MANY will say in that day "Lord, Lord, did we not do this and that for You and for heaven's sake? (Matthew 7:21-23) The horror for many will be the realization that they sought something other than God's glory. For Christ's sake, may we all seek Him today, for He jealously desires His glory to rest upon us all!

Heavenly Father, we repent from not listening more closely to your simple, daily instructions for our lives. Speak to us again, even now, and guide us in Your obedience for our lives. Through this loving, caring relationship, reveal your glory to us and change us forever for Your Son's sake. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

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