Obeying the Holy Spirit

Over the 40 years that I have been reading the bible I’ve found it helpful to look at the Old Testament with New Testament eyes. The story of Exodus in particular lends itself to this kind of interpretation.

It is not difficult to see an analogy between the way God through Moses & Aaron leads the people of Israel out of Egypt, through the Red Sea into the wilderness (and eventually over the Jordan and into the promised land) and the spiritual journey of anyone who is born again. We too are taken out of a kingdom of darkness and slavery into a kingdom under the rule of God through the seemingly impassible barrier of our sin. We wonder through this life like in a wilderness and eventually we pass through Jordan into the next life. Pentecostals are inclined to vary the picture and say that passing through the Red Sea is being born again and crossing over the Jordan is being baptised in the Spirit with the wilderness being the experience of unfilled believers. Personally I think the beauty of having a direct relationship with God through Jesus Christ is that no one needs to teach another brother (or sister) about these things since the Holy Spirit can teach us what we need to know. A lot of controversy could be avoided if we all just heard the things God wants us to hear instead of arguing about the exact meaning of this Scripture or that.

Which brings me to the real point of what I wanted to write today. If you continue with the analogy in Exodus, the first thing that God says to the people of Israel after they pass through the Red Sea is this:

He said, “If you will listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who heals you.” (Exodus 15:26)

Many Christians claim healing as a right as a result of the cross quoting Isaiah 53:5 but in this case at least the promise of healing is conditional on obedience. Jesus said about Himself that He only did what He heard His Father say to do (John 5:19-20, 30) and we have the privilege of being able to do the same once we are born again.

This was God’s first command to the people of Israel after they passed through the Red Sea and it was given before even the 10 commandments. We need to listen carefully and obey not the letter of the law but listen to the Spirit who gives it. Because we can if we are born again. How amazing is that!

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