No Take Backs
“So all the officials and people who entered into this covenant agreed that they would free their male and female slaves and no longer hold them in bondage. They agreed, and set them free. But afterward they changed their minds and took back the slaves they had freed and enslaved them again.” Jeremiah 34:10-11
Did you ever have that friend growing up who would convince you to trade something he wanted from you, for something he had that appeared of value? That friend who would convince you your life would be better if the trade happened? That friend who grew up to be a top salesman for his organization? That friend who could probably negotiate world peace? That friend who, a millisecond after you made the trade, declared with a prideful declaration, “NO TAKE BACKS!!!”?
Know that guy?
What a punk.
God doesn’t do take backs either. Not because He is a selfish little middle school bully. Because He knows the moments after obedience can be the crux of where trust and commitment collide. He doesn’t do take backs because He wants us to trust Him.
Sometimes – not all the time, but sometimes – obedience can be easy. Doing that “thing” we know we should do can simply be that “thing” we know we should do and we do it.
Sometimes – not all the time, but sometimes – obedience can be easy. It’s the post-obedience that’s hard.
In Jeremiah 34 we see Israel slave owners obeying God by releasing their slaves on the 7th year. God called for it. They obeyed the call. But if you continue reading, God’s people quickly took their slaves back. Obviously they didn’t want to do life without them. The obeying God part was easy. It was the aftermath that was difficult. Releasing the slaves back into society was a breeze. Having to harvest the field, vacuum the house, and make 3 meals a day cut into their “me-time.”
Sometimes obedience is easy. It’s dealing with the effects of the obedience that can be hard.
Walking an aisle, promising “till death do us part,” and going on a honeymoon can be easy. Staying in it year 7, 17, 27, and 37 can be very-very hard.
Signing papers to make the adoption final can be easy. Staying with it when connection and attachment are non-existent can be almost impossible.
Committing to tithe your income is noble, and good, and right, and . . .easy. Keeping the commitment when you have to decide between tithing and going out to eat is frustrating.
Telling your child you will play a board game when you get home is an easy way to get out the door. Sitting down to keep your promise after a long, exhausting day can be draining.
You get the point.
Sometimes – not all the time, but sometimes – obedience is easy. Dealing with the impact of the action post-obedience can be painstaking.
God doesn’t call us to obey so the world can see what kind of commitments we can make. He, nor the people around us, are interested in empty promises. It can be easy to do that “thing” we are supposed to do.
The question is, “Do I trust God with the unexpected or unanticipated impact of the obedience?”
Israel did what they were “supposed’ to do. They released their slaves at the beginning of the 7th year. Easy. They quickly, however, realized that obedience was the simple part. Trusting God with the results of the obedience? That was hard.
God doesn’t want any “take backs.” Not because He is some selfish child trying to make our lives miserable. No. He wants us to remain obedient as a means of trusting Him with the results of what He tells us and leads us to do. Obeying what you are supposed to do can be easy. Trusting God with the impact of your obedience can be hard.
What about you? What are you tempted to “take back”? What commitment did you make that hurts right now? Lean into the pain. Lean into it with trust, faith, belief. If the Father called you to it, He will be faithful in it, through to the other side. Don’t take it back. See what He’s doing and lean into it.