I’ve been reading the Bible in chronological order for a couple weeks now. I’m really enjoying becoming reacquainted with the story of Israel, though it certainly can be like looking in a painfully truthful mirror at times. This morning I read this passage:
40 And they rose early in the morning and went up to the heights of the hill country, saying, “Here we are. We will go up to the place that the Lord has promised, for we have sinned.”41 But Moses said, “Why now are you transgressing the command of the Lord, when that will not succeed?42 Do not go up, for the Lord is not among you, lest you be struck down before your enemies.43 For there the Amalekites and the Canaanites are facing you, and you shall fall by the sword. Because you have turned back from following the Lord, the Lord will not be with you.”44 But they presumed to go up to the heights of the hill country, although neither the ark of the covenant of the Lord nor Moses departed out of the camp.45 Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in that hill country came down and defeated them and pursued them, even to Hormah. Numbers 14:40-45, ESV
As I read this, I was reminded of the importance of timing in obedience. Israel hemmed and hawed over the risk of entering the land God promised them, so He told them it wouldn’t happen. They would never enter the land. Instead of recognizing the Lord’s authority, they decided to try and enter the land anyways, to their own defeat.
Obedience often requires faith. We want certainty and logical proof for obedience, but that’s not acting in faith. Even waiting for favorable conditions can be an act of disobedience.
This is a constant battle I’ve observed with children. A parent’s command is met with “In a minute…” or “Let me just finish…” Finishing on their own time, when they feel like it, hardly seems like obedience to a frustrated parent.
I’m humbled by this passage and forced to ask myself how timely my obedience is. Am I acting in faith or waiting for my own timing? I also wonder what I’m missing when I do wait. What gifts do I lose or delay?
Heavenly Father, help me to stay in step with your Spirit. Help me to obey your call, that I might enjoy the fruit of a life lived with you. Amen.