When All Else Fails, Read the Instructions
Several months ago my wife, Betty, came across a Rubik's Cube that had been stored for several years. She put it out on the coffee table and I started to try and solve it but got nowhere. So I dug out a booklet of instructions and tried again. The Rubik's Cube is solved one layer at a time and I soon learned to solve the top layer. Then I followed the instructions and the diagrams showing how to move the cubes for the middle layer. I would almost have it corrected when the colors would get messed up. I figured the instructions must be wrong for I had followed them very closely. This happened several times with each time I would get further along before it would be messed up again. Finally I had the top and middle layers corrected and felt good about getting that far along.
Then I followed the instructions to correct the last layer. As I turned the cubes this way and that, closely following the instructions, the layers would again get messed up and I had to start over again from the beginning. Very frustrating! This went on for several weeks.
One thing I learned was I could not follow the instructions while carrying on a conversation. I had to concentrate to prevent mistakes. But the main thing I learned was I had to follow the instructions WITH UNDERSTANDING. The Rubikís Cube is a complicated toy and the instructions are also complicated. After I understood the instructions I was able to place all the cubes in their right places.
Our Christian life is the same. The Bible is our instruction book for how to live on this earth. If we fail to follow its instructions and apply them to our lives we will have to answer for it and receive God's discipline. The accounts in the Old Testament are written for our example. A couple of those examples are about men who messed up because Godís instructions were not followed. And because they did not follow the instructions with understanding they were harshly disciplined.
Later they were again without water and this time Moses was instructed to speak to a rock and water would flow out. Moses was angry at the Israelites and struck the rock. Water did come out but Moses was punished by not being allowed to go into the Promised Land because of his mistake. Why would this little mistake bring about such a large punishment?
The rock and water were types of Christ. He is the Rock from whom we receive the life giving waters. Paul writing to the assembly in Corinth wrote: "And all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of a spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christt." 1 Corinthians 10:4
The first time Moses was to strike the Rock to show that Christ had to be struck for the Living Waters to be released. This was a type of His being put to death. But the second time when Moses struck the Rock he ruined the type God wanted to show to His people. For after Christ was killed, buried and rose again He was not to be put to death again. Jesus died once for the sins of mankind and that sacrifice is sufficient for all sins, past and present. It is unnecessary and wrong to crucify Christ again and again. All we need do is to approach the Rock and ask and the life giving waters will flow. The writer of Hebrews under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote:
THE UNNAMED PROPHET:
The prophet from Judia returned to Bethel and as they sat at the table, the word of the Lord came to the prophet who had brought him back. He cried to the man of God who came from Judah, "Thus says the LORD, 'Because you have disobeyed the word of the Lord, and have not kept the commandment which the Lord your God commanded you, but have come back, and have eaten bread and drunk water in the place of which he said to you, 'Eat no bread, and drink no water'; your body shall not come to the tomb of your fathers.'"
The prophet from Judia then started back home and a lion killed him on the way. The lion did not eat the man or harm the donkey he was riding. When the old prophet from Bethel heard about his death he went to the place, put the body on the donkey and returned to Bethel. There he buried the prophet from Judia in his own grave and mourned for him. (Read the complete account in 1 Kings chapter 13.)
OUR INSTRUCTION BOOK:
Therefore I urge you, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. Don't be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:1,2
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Revised June 2000. Scriptures changed to The World English Bible.