Sometimes words really hit the mark.
The other night we were encamped at the foot of Sinai during Men’s Bible study. God had just called Moses up to Him and He said:
“…Here is what you are to say to the household of Ya’akov, to tell the people of Isra’el…if you will pay careful attention to what I say and keep My covenant, then you will be My own treasure from among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you will be a kingdom of cohanim for me, a nation set apart. These are the words you are to speak to the people of Isra’el…” Exodus 19:3,5-6 CJB.
Moses went back down and presented this proposal to the people and their response was, to the last man:
“…Everything ADONAI has said…we will do.” Exodus 19:8 CJB.
So the people were instructed to prepare themselves for their meeting with God three days hence. A boundary was established around the mountain beyond which no one was to go until the sound of the shofar.
The day came and so did God, with thunder, lightning, and thick cloud. Then the blast of the shofar and Moses brought the people out of the camp towards the mountain.
Jehovah God spoke with a voice all the ten words which were the covenant and the people heard it… everything ADONAI proposed and they had agreed would do.
It was at this very point that they began to go back on their word. They did not approach and go up to God at the sound of the shofar but instead pulled back.
And when Moses went up to receive instructions from God, while he was absent, they created a “carved image” of a calf, bowed and worshiped.
The response of a brother at the table was:
“These people honor Me with their lips,
But their hearts are far away from Me…” Matthew 15:8 CJB.
What a perfect connection, a perfect example of things people do.
As an aside, one might question: Did anything change or go differently because instead of going up, past the limits, to face God, they retreated instead? But that’s another thought.
I guess this was kind of simmering on the back burner of my mind the other day when my grandson and I were changing the oil in his mother’s car. This was meant to be a formal schooling of how to do this simple task and stress its importance. So I got to watch and he got to do all the work, every step, from assembling all the needed items straight through clean up and recording mileage and date.
And at the end, I emphasized to him the need to take care of the car. Treat it like your baby. Take care of it and it will take care of you.
So that went well and I came away feeling pretty satisfied with myself in having imparted skills and wisdom…right?
A couple days later he was completing a chore in the yard with his Gram when I came driving up. I got out and helped him move a couple heavy trash cans and while we were so working he started, in his roundabout way, to tell me how he was upset with me.
It was a couple things but the one that got me was about how we had just taken care of his mother’s car, gone through this exhaustive tutorial on care and the need for care, treat like a baby, take care of it and it will take care of you and all, and yet…
sitting there was the car I use… Well this car starts most of the time but intermittently it won’t, you never know…” Well there it sits and you don’t do anything to fix the problem. You use it and but can’t really count on it. You just told me thus and so… but shouldn’t you practice what you preach?”
Oh man! I had a few words to say that didn’t really explain anything then I went inside for lunch, sat there and fumed.
Then something inside my head says, back off tough guy, maybe there is something in what he said. And doesn’t his questioning you point to the fact that he listens to you and watches and really…isn’t that good? So…cool it with the anger. Here’s a chance to talk about nuances in applying rules because there is more to the idea that” the rules are the rules”.
But in the back of my mind simmering, was the scripture about honoring with lips but not the heart. In a sense was I “not honoring”, with my actions, what I was telling him “to honor”, by his actions?
Would he not see it maybe… that I, in my own heart, don’t think what I am asking him to do is really that important, worth honoring with proper actions, faithfully…since I don’t. Why then should he honor it either?
I’m realizing that there is nothing, not one single thing about what we say and do that isn’t heard or seen…and judged…by others and keenly so by our loved ones. And it is so important that we be able to talk to one another when there is a seeming or real situation where words and actions don’t match, that the value we assigned with words does not reflect a corresponding honor through our actions.
It is an offense. It is insidious in its subtleness and it will prevent love and respect credibility and unity…towards and with Jehovah God, Abba Father, towards and with those close and those separate…when we don’t honor the Father by saying one thing…then doing another.
Father…You are worthy to be loved…and honored…yes You are.
By Your words and actions we know it’s true.
May we not take that lightly.
Which comes first Father, to love You or honor You…I don’t know.
But may it be so that Your perfect goodness towards us inspires in us…in return… loving honor, honor with love as we speak and do…faithfully… what we have agreed with You… to speak and do.
When we fall short Father…when there is contradiction between our words and actions Father, may the line of communication between You and us be open and in use so that our worship of You would never become useless… so that the honoring of our lips would be a true expression of genuine honor that is in our hearts.
In Yeshua’s name we pray.
May God’s love be in us all.