July 18, 2012

Amazing abundance

The biblical theme of blessings for obedience and curses for defying God is particularly strong in the Old Testament. While the New Testament emphasis is on the grace of God as expressed in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, this principle remains true. It is God’s way of teaching His people the importance of walking with Him. 
I am a forgiven person and share in the grace of God, yet because of this reality, I’ve learned that sin is harmful. When I disobey God, it isn’t the wrath of God that I suffer, but the consequences of sin. 

That is, the punishment for sin that I deserve fell on my Savior, Jesus Christ, so because of Him, I escape the wrath of God. However, that does not mean that I can do whatever I want and get away with it. Sin still has consequences, even forgiven sin.

Disobeying God results in impaired judgment, unwise choices, destroyed relationships, even poor health. It is for my sake that God does not want me to sin. It is for my own good that I do what He asks.

Today’s verse is from a section in Isaiah about what happens when God’s people ignore Him. It also speaks of the blessings of obedience using farming images.
Happy are you who sow beside all waters, who let the feet of the ox and the donkey range free. (Isaiah 32:20)
In those days, seed was sown beside the wet areas and if the water did not dry up or flood and wash it away, it germinated to produce crops. God says those who follow Him will not only sow their seed beside all waters, but they will be happy. This word can also be translated as blessed.

Besides that blessing, those who love God will be like a farmer whose yield is so abundant that his livestock can range free — eat wherever they want. 

I can recall my farming family’s consternation if the cattle got into the wheat field or the garden. This gives me a vivid picture of what God means by this image. His blessing for obedience includes such abundance that the cows can trample the corn and eat the cabbage — because there is so much of it!

Lord, I often feel as if I’m the most disobedient of Your children, and I do suffer the consequences of that foolishness. Yet because of Jesus and the righteousness that He gives, I also enjoy the happy, abundant life that He promised. I am so blessed. Thank You.

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