“If only you had paid attention to My commandments! Then your well-being would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.” (Isaiah 48:18)
I was driving by a church the other day, and the placard outside held these words:
Avoid the high cost of low living
The words stuck with me. I believe there are a lot of people who don’t realize that their “low living” is costing them dearly. It’s evident everywhere:
A friend of mine’s daughter is still reeling a year later after her husband confessed that he had had an affair. She has been going to counseling to deal with her grief and pain, and their marriage is tottering. Where once there was a family of four and a thriving marriage, there’s now brokenness, bitterness and mistrust.
Another friend of mine knows of a woman who established herself as a “horse rescue” but is actually an animal hoarder, and ends up starving them. My friend has been trying to shut the woman down, but she keeps running from the law, moving every few months (amazingly), and as soon as my friend manages to get some horses away from her via the Sheriff, the woman accumulates more. This woman’s “low living” is forcing her to keep moving, and affecting unfortunate horses who happen to end up in her clutches.
After buying my rental house a few months ago (in a decent area, I might add), I recently found out that my next-door neighbor was jailed due to drug dealing. His wife was left to keep the home and family of two kids afloat.
“Low living” is everywhere, and it comes at a huge cost. Those who engage in it find that they’re actually working harder to maintain their sinful lifestyle, than to follow God’s laws. When someone engages in an extra-marital affair, they find out all too soon that the resulting devastation is huge emotionally and financially. Divorce is remarkably expensive as is child support and spousal maintenance. The person who engages in an affair doesn’t always think about the fact that they may lose half of their retirement to their spouse in a divorce. Half their retirement. And the emotional toll on their children is life-long.
When someone is incarcerated due to drug possession or dealing, they impact the rest of their working lives, because few people want to hire someone with a police record.
And the woman who hoardes the horses can’t settle down for long, because she keeps trying to run from her sins.
God gave us laws so that our peace would be like a river, flowing continually through our lives. His laws are not meant to imprison us, but rather to set us free, to bring us to our Promised Land, where we can settle down and live, work and play in peace and prosperity. When we follow God’s laws, our righteousness is like the waves of the sea: constant, cleansing and comforting.
Although many people believe that God’s laws in the Old Testament are no longer relevant today, the truth is they are just as relevant today as they were the moment God uttered them. God is unchanging, and therefore His word is unchanging. And although there are many laws in the Bible, the most notable being the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20), all of God’s laws are encapsulated into one simple law which, if we follow it to the letter, will enable us to follow every other law:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart
and with all your soul
and with all your might.
When every part of our being loves our great God with everything we have, He will equip us to follow every other law without hesitation. When we reach as high as we can to love Him who is enthroned above the clouds, we will never find ourselves living low. And we will be blessed with the ever-flowing peace and prosperity of a life lived in the presence of our loving and lavish God.