Partial obedience is still disobedience. I am not sure who first quoted this, but I here it often from my friends with small children. 🙂 This is the phrase that has been on replay as I have been reading the accounts of Israel as they moved from a united kingdom to a divided kingdom to a conquered kingdom. There were kings who blatantly wanted to choose other forms of worship and governing styles that opposed the One True God and His way. Then there were other kings who seemed to want to choose what was right according to the Lord, yet seemed to always fall short. A common statement made, “And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD…Nevertheless, the high places were not removed.” There were great efforts to restore the temple according to the design that God provided. There were idols removed and priests restored to proper positions. Yet with every king, the whole picture was that the high places were not removed. They made all these great efforts to honor God, but didn’t finish the job. Not finishing the job didn’t necessarily affect their personal lives and what they could see. Not finishing the job effected the generation that followed each one.
This has made me see a bigger picture. My sin affects me. I can feel the consequences of my sin as my pride breaks and there are sometimes messes that I have to address. I can see and feel the consequences of my sin and how it affects others. That is even more humbling as other people are hurt or their lives are interrupted in helping clean up a mess or simply having to deal with the consequences of my actions or words. But now to see that my sin can affect the next generation brings it to a whole new level. Maybe those of you with children see this easily as the little ones mimic what you do. But to see how leadership leaves a legacy that directly impacts the hearts of those that follow causes me to step back and seek the Lord with a greater desperation.
The truth is that good intentions are not enough. Having good intentions makes us feel better about situations, but it does not change the situation or improve the circumstance. God’s heart is for life to go well for us. It’s amazing how quickly we see His guidance as either restricted or unnecessary. I am humbled by how quickly I asses with my own eyes and make decisions that I think are best, when the truth is that I am rationalizing what I want to do out of convenience or what seems best to me in the moment. To go the extra mile, or two sometimes, to ensure that I am doing it God’s way doesn’t always make sense to me. But can I trust in the long run it is for my best and best for the next generation? Can I humble myself and desire to please God first and foremost?