Reading through the Bible together

Thursday, September 27, 2012

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An over-emphasis on the “rewards of obedience” has often generated obedience for the wrong reasons. Actually, this was the problem that Israel had when Jesus lived among them. From the time of the Babylonian captivity, the Jews began obeying God for the express purpose to get God’s promised rewards. Obedience became mechanical and motivated by gain. Obedience was not a spiritual heart response to the gracious God they worshiped.

But to balance out the picture, we should never completely overlook the rewards of obedience. There is a protective element in obeying God. Just looking over this chapter we see rewards like strength, “prolonged days,” good weather, success, God’s blessing, and so on.

Deep in the heart of the chapter is the following, “then I will give you the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain…” (v.14) Of course this is referring to real showers of rain. In Palestine the early rains were necessary to soften the ground for plowing and sowing. The late rains provided for the final ripening of the crops.

Today the Holy Spirit desires to give us spiritual rain and work in us to will and do of God’s good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). Will we let it happen?

John Ash
Chinese Union Mission
Hong Kong