Wednesday, February 25, 2015
And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. (Deuteronomy 8:2 KJV)
An entire generation roamed the wilderness, and here they are told specifically why. Now, I believe God in His omniscience knew what would happen – but the people had to know, too. He could have told them before the spies were sent in, but He has provided choices to us for very good reason.
We are not automatons. We have the ability to make choices based on reasoning. We can be told something is dangerous, and still determine to try it ourselves, testing the truth of the statement as well as our abilities. Mankind has been known to draw uncrossable lines, then make a way across them. So, why limit ourselves by keeping commandments?
Because we follow someone who crossed a line that still seems impossible – resurrection. And, we know why:
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2 KJV)
All this came to mind in a lesson on Genesis 44 – Joseph’s second meeting with his brothers. The lesson and the chapter gave us three purposes for what choices we face:
To test our character, as Joseph tested his brothers character by putting the silver cup in Benjamin’s sack. He wanted to see their reaction to being judged guilty when they knew they were innocent. How would do we react when our character is tested?
To initiate self-examination, as Judah asked what they can do to prove their innocence. Yet he felt guilty, though of another crime, when in Genesis 44:16 he says “God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants.” Their guilt over selling Joseph into slavery remained.
To produce change, as Joseph wanted to see if his brothers would leave brother in slavery, again. Judah was the one who suggested selling Joseph, and here it is Judah who pleads for Benjamin – offering himself instead.
For me, the lesson goes way beyond these three bullet points, for it is Jesus, descendant of Judah, who offered Himself for me. And you. And whosoever:
That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:15-16 KJV)
When becoming a Christian – a follower of Christ – those three points are necessary. Is our character, our moral qualities, flawed? The way we can know is through self examination. What questions should we ask ourselves? The answers should lead us to Christ and a desire to follow Him. That will produce change.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:1-2 KJV)
Don’t stop here. Pick up a Bible and read the test of this one chapter to see what God inspired Paul to write about this transformed life, proving what is good, acceptable and the perfect will of God.