Today’s reading is drawn from Deuteronomy 4:25-31.
Did you ever go to summer camp as a kid? And if you did, do you remember the first night when the Camp Director — I think those guys slept and showered with whistles around their necks and clipboards under their arms — stood up and announced the camp rules? On and on he would drone about not swimming alone, not leaving the camp grounds without permission, mess hall “etiquette” — something about how to scrape excess food off plates into coffee cans — and of course, the most important rule . . . no boys in the girls’ cabins. And it seemed like all the rules were for the boys and not for the girls. Remember?
The last thing the director said really sounded crazy. “If you follow these rules, you will have a great time here at camp.”
By the time the director was finished, you sat there thinking, “Hey, this doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fun. They’ve got way too many rules at this camp. Is this prison or summer camp? And what could he possibly mean about having a “good time by following the rules?”
Now, try to remember how you felt about the camp the day you were leaving. You were saying goodbye to guys you had met. You were telling each other that this was the best week of your life. You were remembering the great times you had had together. You were promising to stay in contact with each other . . . oh, sure you would!
Anyway, you had completely forgotten how you felt after the Camp Director’s rules on opening night. Only a few guys had actually disobeyed, and sure enough, they had experienced the pleasure of having their parents drive up to take them home a little earlier than planned. Following rules, you concluded, does make for good experiences. What a great lesson to learn as a youngster.
The Israelites were about to cross the Jordan River and enter the promised land. Before they did, Moses put on his whistle and tucked his clipboard under his arm for a little speech. He warned them what would happen to them if they disobeyed God’s laws — much worse than being sent home from camp. And then he gave them an incredible promise. If, in your new home, you decide to truly seek God, you’ll find Him (see verse 29).
Can there be a higher goal for our families than enjoying God’s presence? Can there be a greater reward for following God’s rules? I don’t think so.
Don’t let the laws bog you down. The rewards of obeying them — living in a home where God lives — are well worth it.