Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin. James 4:17
Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin, but since you say, ‘We see.’ your sin remains.” John 9:41
When my son was about a year old, my brother and sister-in-law gave him his first Veggie Tales video. (and yes, in those days, it was actually a videotape!) I had never seen or heard of these crazy singing vegetables and our first introduction was a Silly Songs video, leaving me a bit confused as to what this craziness was really all about. I did not really get it until we picked up a copy of Josh and the Big Wall at Fred Meyer. Actually, at first I still did not get it–OK, so maybe I was a little slow on the uptake. I couldn’t decide if French Peas throwing slushies from the walls of Jericho at the Israelites’ veggie army led by a cucumber named Larry was mocking or making light of the Bible or not. It all seemed so ridiculous and not at all like the Bible stories you hear in Sunday School. Were they being sacrilegious or funny? I was not sure what to think.
Then as we watched it for the dozenth time, something dawned on me that they never cover in Sunday School. I listened to Larry/Joshua, dwarfed by the giant wall, look up at the French Pea guards and tell them that God had given the land so they had to leave and receive only dismissive mocking laughter and overconfident taunts in return. I saw Larry/Joshua’s dumbfounded look when the angel of the Lord tells him that marching and blowing a bunch of horns is going to make this fortress crumble to the ground. I listened to him try to explain this “interesting” plan and heard Jimmy Gourd’s incredulous recap: “So we’re supposed to hop around the city for seven days, blow our little horns, yell and the walls are just gonna fall down….I’m sure that would work great– if the walls were made out of jello!” The Jericho guards could only snort in derision as the Israelites marched around the city claiming that they were going to bring the wall down by “walking around in circles.” It did not even make sense to them as they tried to explain that they were not crazy, “Our God TOLD us to do it this way.”
It suddenly occurred to me that as ridiculous as singing vegetables, slushies as weapons and an anachronistic “Wallminator 3000” missile in the middle of the ancient desert seem to me, it is about as ludicrous as the instructions must have sounded to Joshua and the Israelites. Sure, they had the faith to follow through with it anyway and see great victory… but it does not negate the fact that at least some of them must have had similar reactions to the veggie army. Upon receiving news of the plan, surely there was a “you’ve got to be kidding me” pause and some wondering looks and whispers of “Is he serious?”
Because the plan carries no hint of human logic whatsoever. No human commander would ever dream up a battle plan like this. It defies all reason and would surely be doomed to failure if God were not the author and finisher of the plan. If His hand was not on this, it would never work. The only reason to think this could work at all is if He makes it happen. Success is totally in His hands, really unrelated to the actual actions of the Israelites because it is not the marching, blowing and yelling that is going to bring down the wall, it is God’s response to their obedience to His direction even when it doesn’t make one iota of sense. He gives them a small part of the plan to carry out to demonstrate their faith in Him and their willingness to rely on Him and when they do, He brings his power to bear to bless them with a greater victory than they could ever have dreamed possible. However, it was not them, it was all Him, all along.
Too often I am tempted to take the path of the skeptical Israelites and build my own “Wallminator 3000” to circumvent God’s plan with something that seems more logical and reasonable to my brain. If this stemmed from true spiritual blindness or naiveté, God would correct my error, but I would not be guilty of sin. The problem is true innocence or ignorance is not something I can generally honestly claim; and knowing the right thing to do and choosing another because of pride, fear or selfishness is elevating my agenda and plan above God’s, telling Him in essence that I have a better idea than He does, is sin. Ignoring His heart nudges and putting myself on par with or above God, puts it right in sin’s bull’s-eye.
Being a reasonably intelligent and resourceful person, I have a tendency to get caught up in explaining things logically or trying to figure out how to justify my actions in the eyes of other people. Will it seem reasonable and logical to someone else because heaven forbid that anyone think I have gone off the deep end? So, when it seems God is asking me to do something that flies in the face of worldly wisdom and social expectation, I have been known to compromise and go along with the “temporal” solution for the sake of family peace or social correctness. I choose comfort, convenience and logic in order to gain acceptance. However, in doing so, I am failing to trust that God will take care of me if I choose the harder path, the road less traveled, in the words of Robert Frost.
I am accountable to God when I fail to trust and obey His direction, depending on my own effort, like Jimmy, Jerry and the “Wallminator 3000.” I need to hold onto God’s way, even when the world’s mockery and derision cause me to doubt that I am doing the right thing. Because if it is God’s way, it is always the right thing and will turn out for the best, whether I understand all the particulars or not. Mine is not to explain every detail, mine is to simply believe with my actions that His way is better and to draw my security and certainty from His unchangeable, unshakeable character and nature — His goodness, loving kindness, perfect wisdom and sufficiency in all things. I need to go all in for God, no backups or contingency plans. I need to walk completely in faith to the point that if God does not come through, I am road kill, trusting that whether His plan looks like the solution I expect or want or not, it is the best way and that He will bring something good from it.
I want God to be my all in all because any less is sin and I know He wants all of me, no holding back, no reservations, no hesitation, complete surrender with all humility. He wants all my eggs in His basket so that I stand or fall with Him alone, trusting that He will never fail nor let me fall to my doom. He will always be enough. I need to listen to His heart nudges and act decisively and immediately for Him no matter what anyone else may say or think, without worrying about explanations or logic. My job is to obey, not to explain God’s logic to anyone. Regardless of what the world thinks, obedience to the Creator and Sustainer of my soul is always the most logical path whether I understand the details or whys or not. It is enough that He does and He will never lead me wrong. I obey and He takes care of the rest.
Dear LORD, Thank you for being in the details of my life and working out all the particulars that I do not understand. Help me to keep my hands and head off the reins and let You be the Director of my life without interference from my doubts and fears. I give them all to You. Please strengthen my faith in You that doubt and fear would be no more but that my certainty and security would rest firmly in Who You are and what You are doing on my behalf to benefit me and my family, to do us good and not evil as you promise in Your Word. I trust You to show Yourself mighty on our behalf and multiply my little and make it enough whether I understand how or not. Let my heart rest in the sureness of Your goodness and heart to bless me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.