Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Open Defiance

I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands.  Psalm 119:60 NIV

We followed the hostess to a table in the Japanese Steakhouse. My husband and I anticipated a wonderful night out eating Teppanyaki style with our little boy and his grandparents. While the hostess turned on the iron griddle, I picked up my two-year-old son and explained how the chefs would cook our food on the table. “It will be very hot in the middle. Don’t touch!” I said. 

Before I could position him in the booster seat, he leaned over to touch the center of the table and screamed. He burned his finger. Everyone quickly set about to ease his pain, but the consequences of his defiance would smolder for a while. Disobedience comes with a price. 

Why then do we disobey? No one delights in consequences. No one seeks to suffer. No one yearns to pay the price. But when we choose poorly, detrimental consequences result. Why do we continue to make destructive choices?

The answer lies in the choices made by God’s creation in the Garden of Eden. Eve and Adam chose to disobey God, even while surrounded with abundant blessings. The prohibited tree’s fruit delightfully appealed to their sense of sight. And they figured if it yielded more wisdom as the serpent said, why not try it? Right? Wrong. Instantly they regretted their decision. Have you ever experienced similar remorse?

The allure of temptation pulls us where we assume we want to go. The stimulating sights of forbidden fruit seduce our hearts and persuade our minds. Usually on an impulse, we allow temptation to convince us of satisfaction in the moment. Once we’ve done what we knew we shouldn’t do, regret fills us. Consequences follow. Why did we do it?

Temptation causes our human struggle. Since creation mankind has been enticed by a hellish spiritual power embodied in Satan. With lies he has tried to usurp God’s power throughout the ages. He fell from heaven because he desired to surpass Almighty God. He aspired to be enthroned high above the clouds. He yearned to be God. His pride said, “I will make myself like the Most High God.”

‘Pride goes before a fall’ is an old proverb remembered for years. It actually comes from the Old Testament in the book of Proverbs. From the eighteenth verse of the sixteenth chapter it reads, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” 

Pride is a longing for unlimited glory, the glory belonging only to Almighty God, and elevates oneself above all others. The verse from Proverbs warns of pride’s consequences. It has happened to many people throughout time. It’s what happened to Satan. His haughty spirit created a disdain for God and His creatures. He desperately longed to be god above Creator God. Pride consumed him and caused his fall from grace. 

God says of Satan in Isaiah:

How you have fallen from heaven,
    morning star, son of the dawn!
You have been cast down to the earth,
    you who once laid low the nations!
You said in your heart,
    “I will ascend to the heavens;
I will raise my throne
    above the stars of God;
I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly,
    on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.
I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;
    I will make myself like the Most High.”
But you are brought down to the realm of the dead,
    to the depths of the pit. (verses 12-15)

With pride Satan exalted himself in heaven. With power God cast him out of heaven. In revenge Satan wants to destroy everything God created and loves. Because of his disdain for God, the devil desires to destroy God’s children. He wants to ruin you and me.

Whatever he can do to damage us, he will do. He is behind pride, selfishness, temptation, sin, death, and every evil of the world. He is the father of lies. He wants to prevent you, your family, your church, and the world from listening to and obeying God. He is behind the struggles you daily face. 

The apostle Paul wrote about the human struggle in his letter to the Romans. He said:

Don’t you remember how it was? I do, perfectly well. The law code started out as an excellent piece of work. What happened, though, was that sin found a way to pervert the command into a temptation, making a piece of “forbidden fruit” out of it. The law code, instead of being used to guide me, was used to seduce me. Without all the paraphernalia of the law code, sin looked pretty dull and lifeless, and I went along without paying much attention to it. But once sin got its hands on the law code and decked itself out in all that finery, I was fooled, and fell for it. The very command that was supposed to guide me into life was cleverly used to trip me up, throwing me headlong. So sin was plenty alive, and I was stone dead. But the law code itself is God’s good and common sense, each command sane and holy counsel.  Romans 7:8-12 (MSG)

Paul declares God’s law is good. God gave His law out of love to protect us from the consequences of sin and temptation. Remember what I said to my little son about the hot griddle in front of him? I even commanded his obedience with a “don’t touch” because of the possible danger to him. But he chose disobedience. Adam and Eve chose disobedience. At times I have chosen disobedience. Consequences always follow disobedience. 

Because of the human struggle, God’s law stirs up sin in us. So God planned a better way to protect us, to save us from our sins. He alludes to it in Genesis 3:15 as well as throughout Scripture. Eventually His promise of a Savior sent to save us was fulfilled. A man nailed to a cross lies at the center of redemption from temptation and sin. Salvation rests in the God-man named Jesus. 

Consider this week times of your own disobedience. Why did you disobey and how did it make you feel? No matter how bad you’ve disregarded authority and violated laws, there is a God who desires to forgive you and save you from your sins. He is Jesus Christ. Come back next week to learn more about Him. 

Love the Lord your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws and his commands always.  Deuteronomy 11:1 (NIV)

"Create in Me a Clean Heart" by Fountainview Academy......

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