LaVerna Kleffman - Obedience - Glencoe, Australia - 1995

Exodus 32:6, “And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” This was at the time when Moses was in the mount receiving instruction from God to guide the people safely. People became impatient and said to Aaron, “We don’t know what has happened to Moses. Make us gods.” Aaron asked for their gold and a molten calf was made, and they began to worship it. They built an altar to go alongside this calf. Aaron said, “Tomorrow is a feast to the Lord.” The people had nothing against this. They rose up early and killed their sacrifices, but they sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play. This feast did not have much effect on them, if any. The altar of God was set up beside the wrong thing. They sat down, went through a form but rose up to play. It made me pray that God would save us from this.

 

It came to into my mind of some who played with God and lost out as a result: Esau lost his birthright. It didn’t mean much to him at the time, and his desire to satisfy himself at the moment was more than the value of what was given to him. He saw it as just a mess of pottage. There seemed to be no feeling connected to it at this time. It was only what he wanted at the moment, and later on he wept bitter tears, but it had gone. He played with it and never got it back.

 

Solomon played with the wisdom God gave him, his riches and understanding, his fame throughout all the world. Read the first chapters of Ecclesiastes. Solomon was well aware of the power that had come from God, but he began to give his heart to seek out all kinds of things under the sun. He built gardens and said, “I did,” “I did,” but he said, “My heart was still guiding me by wisdom.” He just continued on with the wisdom God had given him. It had been given him not for things under the sun but for eternal things. He went on with what he was building and searching out and could say, “Also, my wisdom remained with me.” He felt secure with what he had received.

 

In I Kings 11, gradually he was losing what God had entrusted him with. He played the fool for too long. His heart was turned away to things God had forbidden him. Those women turned his heart away, and he began to worship their gods. He turned back from following the Lord and the Lord was angry. Solomon played with what had been given him and he lost out.

 

Samson had more strength than anyone else and he was well aware of this. When the enemy tried to find out the secret of his strength, he seemed to enjoy getting the best of the enemy. He was the stronger. Delilah pressed him until he opened his heart to her. Right away she let the enemy in and they cut off his hair. He thought, “I will go out as at other times and shake myself. He wist not that the LORD had departed from him.” They put out his eyes. He lost out but I am glad this was not the last chapter of his life. His strength returned and things were different at the end.

 

It is serious to play with these things. If God has spoken to us, don’t go on in the same old way and not take care of it, because there is danger ahead. People just went on. In I Samuel 15, Saul didn’t completely obey the voice of God. The Lord had made it clear what he was to do, to destroy the Amalekites. He destroyed the vile but kept the very best. He thought sacrifice would make up for his lack of obedience, but that does not work. Samuel had to speak to him, “The Lord hath rejected thee.” Saul said, “I have sinned...” but he was more interested in going on, and on the impression he was making on others, than in getting right himself. It was serious and he didn’t realize it.

 

Hannah, when she went to the feast every year, no change took place in her. She had suffered a lot at the hands of Peninnah and did not have any joy at the feast. This went on for years, but this time she rose up, not to play, but to pray. She poured out her heart in bitterness of soul and frustration. To pour out, we tip it down and empty it. Hannah humbled herself, poured out her soul, emptied her heart. We should humble ourselves prayerfully. When the Lord filled her there was no more evidence of bitterness or hardness, a sign of gratitude to God. She emptied her heart and did this at the feast. Maybe God has spoken, so don’t leave it till we go away. Rise up to pray and give ourselves to God.

 

In Genesis 35:1, God said to Jacob, “Arise and go up to Bethel ... make an altar.” Jacob said, “We cannot go like we are.” He asked them all to put away their false gods, to be clean and change their garments, so that it would have a right effect and there would be a blessing as a result, and they did it. Not far on the journey, two of those in the company died, Deborah and Rachel. Rachel had had the gods of her father, but would be thankful that now and for all eternity, that they were all put away.

 

None of us knows what a far reaching effect it will have if we rise up and put away the things God has revealed to us. None of us knows how long we will be here. David didn’t take lightly what God made clear to him. In II Samuel 6:8, David was sore displeased. Something was wrong and it wasn’t just the death of Uzzah who had grasped the ark when it swayed in the cart made for it. David knew the Lord was very displeased because the ark was not being carried as He had laid down to Moses, and he would go no step further until there was blessing. David did not take this lightly and was not going to take one step further while there was anything between him and God, and so caused God displeasure, because it would bring more distress in the company.

 

We cannot take it seriously enough when God puts His finger on things in our life. There could be blessing, not only for us but for those near to us, not only now, but throughout eternity.