Holy Obedience


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Holy Obedience

Eight Months.   Ten Plagues.  Why?  Because the journey to freedom for enslaved people starts with two heart-based decisions.  The decision to be made holy, and the decision to become and remain obedient.  Had Father just rushed through the Deliverance, His people would have never been able to grasp what deliverance costs or what it necessarily calls us to—a radically new life.

Delivering Israel out of bondage and slavery took about 8 months, as God released plague after plague on the nation of Egypt.  The first three plagues, as you recall, impacted both the Egyptians and the Israelites.  It was important for Israel to understand the reality of the plagues…

But soon, God was protecting the land of Goshen and the People Israel from the plagues as they became more intense and devastating.  In doing so, He was purposely picturing for us what Holiness really is…

To be “Holy” is to be “set apart.”  Abba was setting His people apart and helping them see and feel the reality of Holiness.  The slavery they had been trapped in… The pagan deities that surrounded them… The sense of shame and guilt and worthlessness that defined them…  These all had to be set aside as He set Israel apart.

Holiness is not optional for Father’s Children.  A decision—or many decisions—must be made in our deepest being to consciously choose a new way of life and living that rejects the idols, the bondage, and the guilt/shame/worthlessness that we are in enslaved to as long as we live in and draw our sense of value and meaning from “Egypt.”

At the same time, God was teaching Israel of the necessity of Obedience.  Pharaoh’s disobedience was displayed as an eternal warning to all who resist God.  The Plagues were an eternal picture to those who attempt to live in two places—”Egypt” and the “Promise Land.”  You can’t live in bondage and freedom at the same time…!

Israel also learned that obedience to the Father was the only way to escape the bondage.  Obedience to God’s instructions—particularly in the Passover, (a Plague to Egypt; a Promise to Israel…!) was the key to freedom!

It is interesting to me that Israel’s salvation—as graphically pictured in the Passover—came AFTER 8 months and 10 plagues worth of exposure to Holiness and Obedience—to prepare the people for Salvation…

We call that preparation “Prevenient Grace.”  I wonder, if in our rush to get people saved we forget that the Holy Spirit needs to prepare hearts—to lay a foundation so that a Blood-washed soul can successfully exit their “Egypt” and enter into a lifestyle of Holiness and Obedience?!

Perhaps the great weaknesses of the American Church is the short-circuiting of the Spirit’s preparation.  Holiness and Obedience are rare commodities in the American Church scene.  We seem to hope that people will choose holiness and obedience without the Holy Spirit’s preparation…  We seem to think that holiness and obedience will just arise in a person because the Blood has been applied to the door-frame of their lives…

If only it were that easy or automatic!  But Papa does not force obedience or holiness on His Children.  These we must choose for ourselves.  The Holy Spirit prepares…  The Blood of Jesus causes death to Passover us even as His Presence passes into us.  Meanwhile, Father awaits our response.  Will we choose to be set apart for His purposes?  Will we choose to be obedient to His will for our lives?

This New Covenant we are under allows the Spirit to work in us and the Lord to fashion us in ways the ancient Israelites couldn’t fathom.  Yet the picture remains.  Holiness of heart of life is not optional.  Obedience to the Will of the Father is not optional.   Without both, we will soon return to Egypt…


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