The Three-Course Meal of Listening to God’s Word
A meal is full of choices; so is the Word of God for us.
Deuteronomy 3 says: 15 “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. 16 If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. 17 But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. 19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore, choose life, that you and your offspring may live, 20 loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”
Imagine a three-course meal of listening to God’s Word.
(1) Course One: The Presentation
Moses’ presentation echoes what other prophets do: they present the options. God gives us great opportunity but reminds us, with warning, of what it is like or going to be like if we don’t follow His counsel. His Word sits us down and draws our attention to the rest of the meal. What we do here sets the stage for what the rest of the meal is going to look like. Do we hear or let it pass us by?
God is careful that His presentation brings to bear what we need to hear. If the presentation is bad, it clouds the rest of the conversation. Course one of a meal does the same; if it’s bad, it sets up a possible disaster for the rest of the meal, and that is very hard to overcome.
(2) Course Two: The Choice
The meat of the meal. We must decide if we’re going to reject the good advice of God or submit, in obedience, to the leaning of the Holy Spirit. We’ve been prepared with the Word of God and it’s time to settle in and ask God to help us weigh what we’re going to do. In some cases, it’s evident what we need to do, but in other places, not so much. God’s presence makes all the difference.
I think there is great power in thinking through the heavy decisions we have from the Lord as a main course. The struggle we have with obedience doesn’t have to be overbearingly negative if we choose to see it as a happy part of living in the grace of God. I personally like steak or other meaty opportunities, and so I choose to look at following the Lord as being on par with the main course. It is a happy opportunity placed before me, not something I have to slave through to get to the dessert.
(3) Course Three: The Promised Blessing
There is a great reward to following the Lord. “I hate dessert” said nobody ever. The promised blessing may not be a tangible one, but nonetheless, it is a blessing from God and helps us more than we often realize. If we look at the blessing of God like dessert, we might just want to follow the Lord more fully.
What if we looked at God’s Will for us in this manner? Would it change our perception of what it means to follow Him? It might give us a metaphor for greater enjoyment of submission. Why don’t we give it a try? Amen.