"then Moses stood in the gate of the camp and said, Who is on the Lord 's side? Come to me."
And all the sons of Levi gathered around him.
And he said to them, "Thus says the Lord God of Israel, 'Put your sword on your side each of you, and go to and fro from gate to gate throughout the camp, and each of you kill his brother and his companion and his neighbor.'"
And the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And that day about three thousand men of the people fell. And Moses said, "Today you have been ordained for the service of the Lord , each one at the cost of his son and of his brother, so that he might bestow a blessing upon you this day." (Exodus 32.26-29)
I sat for quite some time, thinking about this. When Moses asked, "Who is on the Lord's side?", not one of those men knew what it would cost them to make that choice. From what we read, it cost them the lives of their companions and neighbors, and it possibly cost them the lives of their own brothers and sons. These men chose the Lord first, then received their orders, and obeyed them. We don't read of any of them disobeying the order given. How it must have cost them!
After reading in Exodus, I went directly to 1 Samuel 13.
"And the Philistines mustered to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots and six thousand horsemen and troops like the sand on the seashore in multitude...
When the men of Israel saw that they were in trouble (for the people were hard pressed), the people hid themselves in caves and in holes and in rocks and in tombs and in cisterns, and some Hebrews crossed the fords of the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead.
Saul was still at Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling. He waited seven days, the time appointed by Samuel.
But Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and the people were scattering from him.
So Saul said, "Bring the burnt offering here to me, and the peace offerings." And he offered the burnt offering. As soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came. And Saul went out to meet him and greet him.
Samuel said, "What have you done?"
And Saul said, "When I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines had mustered at Michmash, I said, 'Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the favor of the Lord .' So I forced myself, and offered the burnt offering."
And Samuel said to Saul, "You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the Lord your God, with which he commanded you. For then the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you."Here is a cost of disobedience. My heart breaks as I read these words. So many things happened as a result of Saul's disobedience - the kingdom was taken from his hands and given to another, his life and the lives of his sons were taken, but far worse than anything else, as we read further we find out that Saul never enjoys God's presence again. In just two chapters we read, "And Samuel said, “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams." (1 Samuel 15.22)
(1 Samuel 13.5-14)
What jumped off the pages at me especially is how that for both obedience and disobedience there is a cost. It doesn't matter whether the thing is small or big - whether the choice seems insignificant or not. It is each person's choice whether or not to obey, but then it is not our choice what the consequences of our choice will be.
I don't choose the right thing every time. Often I give in to my selfish desires, without even thinking that there are consequences.
|I took a picture of our Choice Gleanings calendar. I thought it kind of tied in with what I'd been reading.|
Thinking further, I thought how all throughout the Scriptures we read of God's love for mankind. We can be sure without a doubt that He knows all about love and its cost.
In Isaiah 53.3-5, we read, "He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed."
"For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God," (1 Peter 3.19)
In John 3.16, it says, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."
"Jesus...who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12.2)In John 14, we see that it is full of verses that speak of a believer's love and obedience. That if we truly love Christ, we'll keep his commandments. John later writes, "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome." (1 John 5.2-3)