Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Link Between Obedience and Feelings

Deuteronomy 28:28 says, "The LORD will strike you with madness and blindness and confusion of heart."

I was reading this verse this morning in my devotional time. By the way, just want to praise the Lord for how good He has been to me in my devotional time in the mornings lately. The context of the verse is the covenant faithfulness of God to the His people. And the promise of blessings that will flow from obedience to the covenant in every aspect of life, as well as the promise of curses that will follow those who choose to ignore or forsake God's commandments and covenant. Remember that these promises are made to His people, not the the world at large. And I noticed a link that was interesting to me.

God says that if they are disobedience, covenant breakers, adulterous in their heart toward Him, this is one of the curses they will experience. God says first in this list that He will cause them to be insane. This puts a new perspective on mental illness (this is not to say that all mental illness is caused by disobedience, just that it is a possibility). And this is so scary, because barring the intervention of God again on behalf of this person, they may never have the mental capacity (not to mention spiritual capacity) to repent and be obedient again. Verse 45 says "Moreover all these curses shall come upon you and pursue and overtake you, until you are destroyed, because you did not obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which He commanded you." Makes you want to warn those that slip down this road to diligent to obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments (v. 1), so that they might retain their sanity.

God also says that if they don't follow Him in obedience, He will cause them to be blind. This was a word that is used to indicate spiritual or religious blindness. So not only will they struggle with their own natural bent toward sin, but God will cause them to be blinder (how do you like that word). Again this is a scary judgment. And also a reminder of how much the restraining hand of God actually prevents us from sinning daily, rather than our own diligence or determination. "O to grace how great a debtor, daily I'm constrained to be/Let that grace now like a fetter by my wandering heart to Thee." We can claim no credit in our fight to see the glory of Christ, although we are responsible to seek. And also a reminder of how God is determinative in whether or not we see the glory of God in the face of Christ.

Finally, God says that if they don't walk with Him in covenant keeping obedience and love, He will cause them to be confused in their heart. This was the part that was so interesting to me. Here is another link between feelings and obedience. Basically God says that if you are disobedient, you will feel confused in your heart. Your feelings will be messed up due to your lack of obedience and covenant faithfulness. Take a relationship for example: if a spouse is disobedient to keep their covenant to love, cherish, care for, etc. the other until death do they part, is it any wonder that they spend much of the reconciliation period confused about what they want or about how they feel? This is why we must not totally rely on our feelings, but trust God to tell us what to do, and do it whether we feel like it or not. We do this not only to be right with God, but to feel right toward other things in life. Again another scary promise, and reminder of God's sovereignty even over our feelings. O God, grant us right feelings toward You, and toward others, and toward things! One of my constant prayers is that God will change my heart, and give me proper desires for Him.

And this verse is only one of 53 in the chapter that deal with the curses that will follow disobedience and breach of covenant with God. And yes, we are under the new covenant, but a covenant it still is. So let this be a reminder to us to not turn aside from any of the words which I command you this day, to the right or the left, to go after other gods to serve them. (v. 14) Ultimately disobedience, as this verse reminds us, is idolatry, 1 Sam 15:23 says, "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD..." O, Lord, rip the idols from our hearts that cause us to stray from You! And help us to walk in obedience that we may experience the fullness of the blessings of Your covenant, and avoid the outpouring of Your chastisement!

Thank You, Lord, for the richness of Your word, and the depth and breadth of your covenant! Thank You for your mercy, grace, and faithfulness to me and to Your bride!

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