As I read through my Bible passage this morning I was struck my the phrase, " exactly as the LORD had instructed." In the sordid history of Israel there are very few times when It could be said that they did "exactly" what God told them to do. In fact, they typically did exactly what God told them NOT TO DO. In their case it was always the little things that got them; don't marry foreigners because you'll get caught up in their religion, don't uses horses in your army because you'll depend on them, don't sacrifice your children to pagan gods, don't bring idols into your living rooms, and don't eat bacon. Yikes! There are obviously more than just these, but that's a short highlight reel.
Why is so hard to do exactly as the Lord instructs us? Why can't we love our wives like Christ loved the church? Why can't we tithe? Why can't we seem to control our tongues, or our lustful eyes? Why do we struggle with reading our Bibles and praying? God hasn't weighed us down with countless rules and regulation. If you think he has, read about the people in the Old Testament (Leviticus and Numbers is a great place to start); you'll be thankful. Here's the painful truth; we are in a war. We're battling to be the people God has called us to be. Yes, there is God vs Satan. Yes, there is good vs. evil. Yes, there are angels vs. demons. But how does that play out in our lives? We too are in the battle between who we were and who we are. Read Paul and marinate on this:
18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[d] I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power[e] within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin. (Rom 7:18-25)
Read the Bible in One Year Plan: Numbers 1-2