When the Captain Speaks
Then God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me.”
~ Exodus 20:1–3
It might occur at the height of tension in a submarine warfare movie. A decision must be made upon which the fate of the Western world may hang. After decrypting the encoded messages, analyzing the navigational charts, and breathing a prayer, the commander makes his decision. Reaching for the microphone, he utters the phrase that brings everyone to attention: “Battle stations!”
At this point, what would happen if all the sailors went back to shining their shoes, listening to their compact disc players, finishing their card games, and completing their maintenance tasks? In that particular movie, the Western world would be lost, obviously. But we know that doesn’t happen. The sailors hop to and the sub saves the day. But the scenario illustrates a biblical point: Hearing the voice of authority implies action on the hearer’s part.
God spoke to the nation of Israel (and ultimately to spiritual Israel, the church) in much the same authoritative way. From high atop Mount Sinai, Moses says, “God spoke . . .” And what God said after that in Exodus 20 was the equivalent of “Battle stations!” He gave the fledgling nation of Israel a basic set of laws to ensure their purity and their success as they entered into spiritual and military conflict with the nations that would oppose their heritage in Canaan.
Did God mean what he said? Yes. Historical Israel failed to keep these laws over the years and suffered serious consequences. The historical church has done the same, as do we as individuals today. We hear the voice, but we don’t always hear the message. We receive the instructions, but fail to understand the implications.
We must always obey God’s voice. The future of our personal world depends on it.
Heavenly Father, help me to know you will never instruct me to do anything that you don’t expect me to obey. Amen.
~ Ken Boa
Dr. Boa is devoted to a ministry of relational evangelism and discipleship, teaching, writing, and speaking. He holds a B.S. in astronomy from Case Institute of Technology, a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary, a Ph.D. from New York University, and a D.Phil. from the University of Oxford in England.