Wednesday, January 31, 2007

An Opportunity to Obey

Seeing temptation from God's perspective will go a long way in helping us to make advance in the battle with sin, self, and Satan.
"Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as in the day of Massah in the wilderness." (Psalm 95:8).
What does that mean? Meribah? Massah? You may be thinking, "I've never been there." Oh yes you have. We all have. Some of us are there even now!

Meribah is the place where Moses struck the rock (twice) instead of speaking to it (once). It was the place where Moses disbelieved God to prove Himself holy among His people. You see, Moses was fed up with God's people, and was given to depravity's impulse rather than God-pleasing obedience.

The worst part about any sin for a true believer is what might have been had I obeyed? What progress in sanctification might have been enjoyed? What experiential nearness to God might have been known? What progress of growth in grace might have taken place?

Every temptation is a "Y" in the road. An opportunity to disobey or obey. On this side of eternity no one will always walk the path of obedience. But that doesn't lessen God's standard! Nor does it comfort the real Christian to excuse his sin.

What is it that takes place in the moments of crisis when we turn to sin instead of to Christ? When the temptation is so real it is as if it were breathing down our neck? Surely there are many things taking place in that moment, but what is the one domino that begins our chain reaction of rebellion against God? In a word, hardening. God pleads, "Do not harden your in the day of Massah in the wilderness." Massah means, "temptation." In other words God is saying, "When the temptation to disbelieve Me arises, and your deceitful hearts conceives of another path to success, DO NOT harden your heart! In that moment turn to Me!"

The consequence for disobedience is always great. For Moses and Aaron who sinned at Massah instead of obeying, it meant never entering the rest of God in His land of promise. Who are we to suppose the price is anything less?

Massah, or temptation, is an opportunity to obey.

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