Tuesday, June 27, 2017
You shall FOLLOW the Lord your God and fear Him;
and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice,
serve Him and cling to Him.
The first command is to FOLLOW the Lord your God. This word defined means to go or come after; move or travel behind; strive after; aim at. It implies that one is in front and one is behind, one is leading and one is following.
I talk a lot about following when I counsel with women. Following is one of the hardest roles of the wife and it is perhaps the most important. In Ephesians 5 Paul uses the military term "submit" when he instructs wives to follow their husbands. This means to willingly place yourself under your husband's authority.
In our context today, God is not instructing only women to follow Him, but men and women alike. We are called to willingly place ourselves under God's authority, step aside and let Him lead. In essence, this is what happens at salvation.
In our fleshly, sinful state, we were not following God but instead rebelling against Him and His lordship. At salvation we recognize our need for a savior and we willingly place ourselves under God's authority. When we accept His free gift of salvation, we are turning over the leadership to Him. Our way is to failure, His way is to life. We have a new Leader, a new Master and He is not only good, faithful and just, He is a worthy Master. He proved His love for us when He took our punishment on Calvary.
Following is an act of trust. It says, I trust where you are taking me. I trust what you are asking of me. I trust that you will not hurt me, but that you love me. When I was a young girl, my father took my older sister and I to a haunted house. I thought I was tough enough for it but as I stood outside on that cold October evening, waiting to go in, my confidence started to get shaky. By the time we entered the house, I knew I had made a big mistake. So I put my full trust in my father and I followed him...literally. I wrapped my arms around his waist from behind, dug my head into the back of his jacket and held on for dear life. Occasionally I pulled away to see if it was as scary as it sounded, and the answer is, yes, it was. In the end, I made it out of the house in one piece, much in part to my father's sheer strength of pulling me through that nightmare.
When following the Lord, sometimes it is that scary. Sometimes we have to just hang on for dear life and let Him take us where He wants to. You see, the more you know your heavenly Father, the more you will understand that His heart is for you, not against you. In Genesis, Joseph went on a journey that was miserable at times, being beaten and sold into slavery by his brothers, lied to and thrown in prison and forgotten for years. But in the end, where that road took him was beyond anyone's imagination. Only God could take this young Hebrew boy and place him second in command in Egypt. What I admire about Joseph is that through it all, he willingly placed himself under God's authority, never doubting that God was good, faithful and that He loved him and had a plan for him. It required a lot of patience and at times was even painful, but his choice to follow God brought great blessing in his life all along the way.
Colossians 3:1-3 says:
Therefore, if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on the earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
When we set our minds on the things above, we are seeking His face, seeking His will, living our lives with an eternal perspective. Jesus said it pretty simply: Follow Me. The command to follow Jesus is the starting point of your life with Christ. Willingly placing yourself under His authority - this puts order back into your life and gets you headed in the right direction.
How about reading through Joseph's story today? I trust you will be encouraged as you see God's love and care, and great provision for this man of faith.
Genesis 37, 39-45. Enjoy!