“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” Mark Twain

For Your Own Good

And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good? Deuteronomy 10:12-13 NIV

 I will often say that my favorite book of the Bible is whichever one I happen to be reading. There is so much richness in God's Word that I find blessings and a message I need in every book.

So, when I tell you how much I am loving my current trek through Deuteronomy, and how it very well could be my favorite book of the Old Testament, you might want to consider my track record. But even if it isn't my favorite next week, the amazing verses, and message from the Father, continue to bless.

His Words never return void. His instruction is always best. His commands are for our own good.

Yet sometimes I don't believe it.

There are moments in by Bible reading (more often, it seems, in the Pentateuch) when I come across a  rule or commandment that seems completely arbitrary.
  • Why are we not to boil a goat in its mother's milk? (Exodus 36:24b)
  • What is wrong with weaving clothing of two different types of material? (Leviticus 19:19b)
  • Why were the Israelites to wear tassels on their garments? (Numbers 15:38)
I don't know the answers to these questions - and many others. And even if these particular rules were for those before the Cross only (as many argue) - it doesn't make the asking any less important or relevant. Why?

When my kids were babies, I did several things to them that, in their opinion (if they had been mature enough to HAVE opinions, of course), were likely arbitrary - or even nasty.
  • I  took them to the doctor - and let strangers poke them with needles multiple times.
  • I forced them to stay in a cage (aka crib) for hours against their will.
  • I (gasp) wiped their noses.
  • I wouldn't allow them to crawl across the street to get that cool ball that rolled away.
By their understanding, I was guilty of cruel and unusual punishment - at the minimum. They could not comprehend my adult understanding of these decisions. To them, I was mean, maybe selfish, and almost definitely exasperating. But I knew their frustrations - and mine - would be worth it in the end, because I was doing these things for their own good.

Sometimes, I wonder the very same things about some of God's instruction as my kids probably did (and likely sometimes still do!) about mne. Why this trial, God? Why must I be without ___? I don't see any possible way this will benefit anyone.

But I do not have the mind of God. I cannot see how these rules or circumstances help me - or anyone else. But just because I do not see it doesn't mean it isn't true. In fact - it most definitely IS true. Because God never does anything arbitrarily - and all things WILL work out for good (Romans 8:28).

Even if I can't see it, I can trust that it is so. Because He loves me, and will never leave or forsake me.
We're discussing this here, and at Living by Grace on Facebook. Won't you join us?

Scripture Stories: Timeless Truths

Graphics courtesy of Christians Unite


  1. Loved your analogy of you as a parent operating in the best interest of your kids, even if they didn't/don't understand it. What a great reminder to always trust God's heart even when I don't understand His hand. :)

    1. Where would we be without assurance that His heart is ALWAYS trustworthy? Thanks for stopping by, dear Jen.

  2. Thank you for sharing exactly what I needed this morning! <3

    1. <3 So glad i could bless you, dear Rita.


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