Monday, June 22, 2009

Because I Said So

Because I Said So
By Brenda Black

I vowed I would never say it. Surely I would be smarter, more articulate. Shear determination would trump any momentary weakness to spew those predictable, hollow words. Then I had children. And on more than one occasion I sharply spouted the parent mantra “Because I said so!” in shrill frustration.

We expect our kids to just do what we tell them, without debate. We long for compliance not “tude”. Instead, we get stubborn opinions and temper tantrums. Now tell me, how do you think God feels? Not about our kids' reverence towards us. Rather – what does the Father of mankind think about our lack of submission to his authority.

I would hate to think that my God stands with his loving arms folded tightly across his chest, fuming out a mandate through clenched teeth while I protest peevishly. Yet, I must admit, I have done just that. I stubbornly deny his guidance. I question his purpose or wonder out loud about his timing.

In order to cease this on-going and amply immature power struggle, I must first rightly define my humble place and God's marvelous omnipotence. In 2 Chronicles 20, King Jehoshaphat stood up in the assembly at the temple of the Lord and declared the difference.

"'O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. O our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying, “If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.”

"'But now here are men from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, whose territory you would not allow Israel to invade when they came from Egypt; so they turned away from them and did not destroy them. See how they are repaying us by coming to drive us out of the possession you gave us as an inheritance. O our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.'" (vs 6-12)

Here it is in a nutshell: God is the Father and Ruler of All. He is Powerful. The Lord is our Leader, Savior, Friend, Protector and Judge. And where does that leave us? Under his authority and dependent on his provision!

That is a great place to be whether we realize it or not. For the Lord is able to win the wars we encounter if we follow his leadership without question. Just as he did for Jehoshaphat, the Lord will do for us.

“He said: 'Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's. Tomorrow march down against them...You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.'” (vs. 15-17)

Now what if Jehoshaphat whirled on his heels and flipped his Jewish locks in the face of God as he refused to do what was just told him. I hate to think of the outcome. For the sake of the Israelite nation and for our sake each time we read the story, he did not.
“Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the Lord. Then some Levites from the Kohathites and Korahites stood up and praised the Lord, the God of Israel, with very loud voice.

“Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa...Jehoshaphat stood and said, 'Listen to me...Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld.'” (vs. 18-20)

Jehoshaphat's obedience rendered the Lord's miraculous rescue instead of inviting a disgruntled God's chastisement for a wayward son. As his army began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against their enemies and they were defeated. “And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.” (vs. 30)

Our God's wise counsel is sufficient. When he speaks the instruction “Because I said so,” we ought to heed and obey. The only good thing that will come of such submission is blessed protection and peace. Isn't that why we want our children to obey as well.

No comments: