June 13, 2017
No Time like the Present
And they rose up early in the morning, and gat them up into the top of the mountain, saying, Lo, we be here, and will go up unto the place which the Lord hath promised: for we have sinned. And Moses said, Wherefore now do ye transgress the commandment of the Lord? but it shall not prosper. – Numbers 14:40-41
Have you ever noticed that when people are told they are not allowed to do something, suddenly that activity seems much more appealing to them? Sometimes my wife and I use this concept on our children. For example, if the kids are hesitant about whether they want to spend the night at Grandma’s, and my wife and I feel like we could use a break, we might say, “Well, maybe we shouldn’t let you go tonight.” All of a sudden they know what they want: “I’ll go—I want to go to Grandma’s!”
In a way, this is similar to what happened to the Children of Israel when they came to the Promised Land. They refused to enter when God told them to go in, but after He banned everyone twenty years of age and older (except Caleb and Joshua) from entering, they had a change of heart. However, God was not just trying to manipulate the Israelites; He meant what He said. Moses told them it was too late to change their minds, and if they tried to go in, they would not prosper.
Those of us who have been attending church services for a while have probably heard testimonies of people who did not respond to God’s call until they stopped hearing it. The realization that God’s invitation for salvation is not necessarily open-ended put fear in their hearts and caused them to take it more seriously. We thank God for His mercy extended to them, but there will come a day when the door of opportunity closes for good. Those who have not made their peace with God before that time will certainly wish they had.
There is no time like the present to obey God’s instructions for us. This is true not only of His call to repentance, but of everything He asks us to do. Once we are in Heaven, I have a feeling we will look back and wonder why we ever doubted God, or ever hesitated to obey Him. At that point, our chances to witness to others will be over, the time for consecrations will be past, and our efforts to be “faithful over a few things” will be done.
Let’s listen and obey God now, while He is prodding us, not when He stops.