Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "We Give Thee But Thine Own"1 (Lyrics)
Deuteronomy 4:1 – Hear now, O Israel, the decrees and laws I am about to teach you. Follow them so that you may live and may go in and take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your fathers, is giving you. (NIV)
While out walking with the dogs the other day, I experienced a moment of great concern. Some of the dogs were running along the trail ahead of me, while some were walking with me. My collie, Bonnie, was one of the ones out front. I could see that she was running back and forth across the trailhead, an action which alerted me to the possibility of another presence. As she wasn't barking or wagging her tail, however, I wondered what the issue was. Then, Sophie let loose with her alarm bark, immediately prompting me to call all the dogs back to me. Fortunately, they all came quickly, even the two that can sometimes take their time about such things.
When we reached the trailhead, the dogs were on high alert, heads up, nostrils sniffing, behaviour wary, as they scanned the trees and the outcropping of rocks. Then I heard it, the yipping cry of the coyote, tempting the dogs to chase after it, only to be ambushed by several of them, once the tempter had drawn them away. I quickly commanded the dogs to get behind me, and we turned and took the opposite path. All of the dogs obeyed, and we finished our walk without further ado. If any of them had not obeyed my word and been drawn away by the coyote's call, our walk would have had a very different and sad ending.
Evil is everywhere, and much like the wily coyote, it is always seeking to tempt us away from obedience to God and His Word. It yips and yaps about a better life if we would only do this or that: cheat a little here and there; leave what needs to be done today until tomorrow; spend, spend, spend, instead of saving for a rainy day; take what doesn't belong to us, because we deserve it more than the other fellow anyway. Yet, God's Word continually calls us to listen, to obey Him, and not to be tempted by what the world has to offer, but to take possession of the land, the kingdom that He has laid before us. This kingdom may not always give us all the material comfort and things that we may think that we should have, but it does guarantee so much more, that we will live a full and abundant life, a wide and spacious life crammed with the light of God's wisdom, love, goodness, mercy, justice, peace, forgiveness, and contentment here on earth, with so much more blessing to come throughout eternity.
Who will we listen to and follow today? The choice is ours.
Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your Word and the power of Your Holy Spirit within us that call us to obedience, that we might possess the spacious and blessed land of Your kingdom here on earth, as well as in heaven. Grant us hearts of desire always to listen and obey You quickly, that we might not be led into evil and its destructive lifestyle now or in the future. In Christ's name, we ask. Amen.