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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Clean Your Room

It was a reasonable request – at least from where I stood. My desire fueled my mouth to form it. I didn’t understand the outburst. I was fairly certain there were others from Georgia to Thailand uttering the same simple appeal at the same exact time.

“Clean your room.”

“Please.” I threw in for good measure and because my mama taught me everything goes smoother with good manners.

But from the looks on my daughter’s face, she didn’t agree with the “reasonable” part of my petition. Her eyebrows scrunched low and her mouth was set in a straight fine line. The unrest in her attitude was not only from my request, but because my request didn’t include her brother, as well.

“But-” she started, “He helped me.” Meaning her one and only brother “helped” her make the mess, and he should have to “help” pick it up. “Just pick it up,” I told her pointing resolutely to the piles of Barbie dolls, dress-up clothes, stuffed animals, Hot Wheel cars, and pillows.

“Hmmph.” My five-year-old daughter stomped her feet and jerked her body towards the disarray. She began to toss and pitch toys here and there. When she found something belonging to her brother, her eyes would squint low as she marched across the hall to his room to throw the item on his floor with another, “Hmmph.”

Her body was going through the motions, but her heart was lying on the floor kicking its feet. Was I still happy with her actions?

True obedience comes from the heart.

King Saul was told to “go attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them.” (1 Samuel 15:3 NIV) Saul did wipe out the Amalekites as he was told. Only, “the soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the Lord.” (v. 21) Saul was specifically told to destroy all of the cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys. Instead he saved the best of them for a sacrifice.

Was the Lord still happy?

"Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king." 1 Samuel 15:22 NIV

I’d say that was a pretty clear answer. Sometimes we think we are fooling God because we are doing the “right” thing, but in our hearts we are rebellious. Saul was arrogant and made a sacrifice to God only after he erected a monument in his own honor for the defeat of the Amalekites – the defeat God placed in his hands.

My daughter cleaned her room, but her obedience was in deed alone. How clean are the rooms in your heart? Do you have piles of rebellion? Stacks of self? Or scatters of attitude?

Well, you know what I’m going to say. And I think I’ll take my own advice.

“Clean your room!”

Visit Carol at sheep to the right!

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