So take diligent heed to yourselves to love the LORD your God. For if you ever go back and cling to the rest of these nations, these which remain among you, and intermarry with them, so that you associate with them and they with you, know with certainty that the Lord your God will not continue to drive these nations out from before you; but they will be a snare and a trap to you, and a whip on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from off this good land which the Lord your God has given you. (Joshua 23:11-13)
Love takes a commitment. God’s command isn’t just for “someday, when I run across that issue.” God’s commands are always relevant and applicable. If He reveals a commandment to you, and it doesn’t seem to fit your particular situation, it’s not wasted. He doesn’t want you to ignore it. He’s teaching you something. He is preparing you.
What God is teaching in these Scriptures isn’t something that is going on in the immediate time frame. It’s a “from this time forward” teaching. It’s a “pay attention” teaching.
In today’s culture, we’re accustomed to (and spoiled by) instant access. We rarely have to wait for anything. If we have a question, we Google it. If we want to talk with someone, we pick up the phone. (If we don’t want to talk with them too badly, we just send a text.) We don’t have to spend hours of research in the library, searching the shelves for the right resources then the right resources for the right information. We have instant access to information, food, connections, and the list goes on.
A lot is written and said on the downsides of such instant access, especially how it impacts our faith walk with God. People will point out that with such expectations of instancy, we’re not willing to seek God because that takes too long. I agree…and disagree. I think the culture of instancy can also teach us a very important lesson from and about God. After all, He is instant, and He’s always available.
He’s better than Google, because He has all the correct information. He’s better than wifi, because there’s always a connection. He’s better than Facebook, because He knows with whom you need to connect and when. He’s better than a drive-through, because He knows the choices you need and will customize the menu if you let Him.
I’m not saying God is at your beck and call as if He is yours to manipulate, accessing Him only when it’s convenient or deemed necessary for you. But God is always accessible, reliable, and trustworthy. If you ever want to rely on an instant anything, God is it.
That’s not to say you’re going to get what you want every time you ask God. You’re not going to get the answer you most want or the direction you think you need. You’re not going to get a quick fix or an instant healing. You’re going to continue to hunger and seek, because God gives you what so many instant things can’t: an authentic, consistently-growing, challenging, accountable relationship. He won’t fail you, ever. He won’t leave you, ever. He won’t break a promise, ever.
He provides for you, always. It just won’t always seem that way because what you think you need and what He knows you need differ. That’s one of the reasons I love the Old Testament. There is example after example of “What was God thinking?” moments followed by “Oh! That’s what God was thinking!” realizations. Moments are not dots haphazardly splattered across a blank canvas; they’re well-placed strokes that create a masterpiece.
When we have the “huh?” moments, not comprehending what God wants us to get from a teaching, we still need to listen and apply it as He leads us to apply it. Faith isn’t about fully understanding something and waiting for that understanding before deciding whether or not to incorporate it into our lives. Faith is knowing that the love God gives us and the love we live out loud in return is sustaining, truthful, and irreplaceable by anything else we can imagine fills the space in our lives.
Dear God, I want my relationship with You to be instant and constant, not in a way that projects my own unrealistic demands on You but that fits into Your character and will. I praise You for preparing me. I’m sorry for the times I don’t pay attention to Your preparation and end up ill-prepared because of it. I’m learning…because You’re teaching.