Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation. Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them. Full of honor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever. He has gained renown by his wonderful deed; the Lord is gracious and merciful. He provides food for those who fear him; he is ever mindful of his covenant. He has shown his people the power of his works, in giving them the heritage of the nations. The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy. They are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness. He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever. Psalm 111: 1-10 (NRSV)
Bob LaForge lives in New Jersey. One of his daughter plays on a soccer team. At her first-ever practice, the coach told her to kick the ball with the side of her foot rather than her toe. His daughter insisted that it was better to use her toe because she could kick the ball harder and faster, and she had always done it that way. They went back and forth for a while until the coach finally told his daughter to try it just once. Reluctantly, she gave it a try and found that she had more control and could still kick the ball far. She was convinced once she tried it.
God's commandments can be like that. We think that we have been doing fine on our own, and often God tells us to do something that is not easy or that does not make sense. We may squirm and try our best to rationalize why that does not apply to us because our circumstances are different. We may forget that God's desire is always for our good. God tells us that understanding comes from obedience. When we follow God's commands, even reluctantly, we experience the blessings that come with obedience.
Prayer: Dear God, may we always be quick to obey you. Help us remember that your ways are always for our good, in Jesus' name. Amen.