Action-Reaction-Consequence, By Kelli Zaniel

“Stop jumping on the ottoman!” my momma shouts from the kitchen. “It’s dangerous!” Ignoring her warning, my 8 year old, disobedient self proceeds to pull the brown and yellow floral, over-sized ottoman into the center of the room (please don’t scream for the fashion police because hunny that was “in” back then).

I scoot the ottoman out of parental sight and smack dab in front of the fireplace. I talk my baby brother into joining me in my quest to jump up on the ottoman and back down again. Up and down and over again until, “clunk and splat,” happens.

What went “clunk and splat?”

It was my brother’s six year old head banging the edge of the fireplace. A long drawn-out visit to the emergency room and several stitches later, my not so pleased momma sits us down. “I told y’all something bad would happen if you disobeyed me,” she explained.

Have you ever made a bad decision that hurt not only you but someone else?

If you have ever been disobedient you know it looks something like this: instruction–action–reaction–consequence.

Long ago, the children of Israel were all too familiar with this process. God provides specific instruction. Their reaction shows what they believe about God. Obedience= victory, deliverance, and great intimacy with God. Disobedience= defeat, shame, and separation from God.

The town-folk in Jericho were worshipping idols and following the pagan god, Baal for years. As God led the Israelites into the promise land, they were able to defeat the evil forces of Jericho along the way. God’s one instruction– when the walls come down in Jericho you must set apart all the gold, jewels and other fine things for the Lord (see Joshua 7:1).

One man decided to keep some of the “dedicated things” for himself. Did he really think God wouldn’t notice? His disobedience angered God and the whole tribe paid for it with their lives.

Just like the children of Israel, my disobedience came at a heavy price. My elementary school brain processed only the fun and not the consequence. As a result, I got a swift kick in the pants while my brother sported a new red, crusty scab across his forehead. That day I, like the Israelites, received a lesson in disobedience 101.

When God calls us to do something, how we respond affects not only our lives but others too. If we don’t respond in immediate, uninhibited obedience, a life that should have been changed, wasn’t; a person in need of food, didn’t get fed; or a child in need of a family was left alone.

How will we respond today?

“Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them turning, either right or left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study the Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so that you will be sure to obey everything written in it,” (Joshua 1:7-9, NLT).

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One Response

09.29.10

So true… and I much prefer the blessings of obedience over the consequences of disobedience! Love you!!

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