If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD; Then the LORD will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance.
The history of mankind and his relationship to God seems like a continual series of “could have beens.” Eden was so perfect, and life could have been so wonderful for Adam and Eve and their children dwelling there all of their lives. Their work was sweet and their fellowship sweeter, but they disobeyed, and so sin entered in and brought thorns and shame and separation. In Noah’s day, men were thriving. Life was good. But they wouldn’t listen to God, and so the flood came. What things were lost forever that could never be restored? What could their lives have been if they had obeyed?
Of course, the nation of Israel could have had such a blessed existence. They had God so close at hand, so involved in their lives, their battles, their hearts. They could have dwelt in harmony in the promised land, safe from their enemies, flourishing and thriving, abounding in fruitfulness. All He had promised was theirs for the taking, every need met, and God Himself among their camp. But instead their continual disobedience prevented God’s hand of blessing and brought much suffering for them for a long time. And there was no one to blame but themselves.
May we not get to a place in our lives where we wonder what could have been, but instead experience the abundant, thriving, blessed life that God has ordained for us by living in obedience to Him. Our obedience keeps us close to God, in a right relationship. It keeps us strong because His power is upon us. It keeps us growing because we are ever learning from Him. And when we stay within the boundaries He has set for us, we have His best within them, His protection around them, and His presence near to us.
God has spelled things out very clearly. He has told us ahead of time the consequences for both our obedience and our disobedience. He has equipped us with His Word, but we have to make those decisions for ourselves. We have to decide whether we’ll follow Him or not and how close we will choose to dwell. Let’s not make choices that will only leave us with regret, but embrace the blessedness of a life lived in humble obedience to our Lord.