I call Heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His Voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days.
The Lord tests the hearts.
For You, O God, have tested us; You have refined us as silver is refined.
In terms of success, we serve an if--then God. If we obey Him, then He blesses us. If we disobey Him, then He does not. From the perfect Father, what else should we expect?*
Even within the boundaries of our limited understanding, we are not wise to spoil our children: To give them freedom without boundaries, a car without a license, a license without maturity or a treat without discipline. Because treats without discipline trick both the giver and the receiver.
'Do not be deceived. God is not mocked' (Galatians 6:8). Neither is He tricked. Because the real Giver is God. Depending on our choices, He gives us a bounce-back result--greater than we're expecting. For obedience, it's rewards. For disobedience, it's punishment--the least of which is waiting.
The children of Israel endured delayed success in their journey from Egypt to the Promised Land. An eleven-day trip became a forty-year trial--because of their actions and behavior. They failed many tests.** Therein, they were destined to repeat them until they passed or died: tests of tolerance, faith, self-denial, humility, courage, loyalty, patience, vision and love.
What if every choice we make is a test? Like what to eat, wear, say or do. Like where to go and who to follow. Like whether to give, forgive or appreciate--even when it's hard. What if our choices affect not just us, but others we don't know--even our children and their children?
What if the success of actors, models and talent for Christ is more dependent on passing God's tests than man's auditions? Because if you're working for Him, it is. Personally speaking, I'd like to see you rise quickly in this field of dreams called media.
Because the lost need leaders. Without them, they complain in every discomfort, doubt in every trial, indulge in corporal cravings, brag in empty promises, drift in lack of loyalty, run in fear of enemies, rebel in prideful mutiny, speed in wrong directions, focus in familiar places, leave their true love--and die in desperation.
So let's learn from the mistakes of the children of Israel en route to the Promised Land. They're detailed in God's Test and Answer Book--more than once. Let us be enlightened and remember His lessons.
To Be Continued...
* God's blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience are detailed in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Leviticus%2026&version=NKJV; http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deuteronomy%2028&version=NKJV
In case you think obedience to God's Word is just an 'Old Testament' practice, consider these Words of Jesus: 'If you love Me, keep My Commandments' (John 14:15).
** Commentary on the tests taken by God's children, which the Lord said were tests for Him as well: http://biblehub.com/commentaries/numbers/14-22.htm
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Field of Dreams series.