The price of neglecting the instruction manual
I begin my writing of this blog with a slight handicap. I am having to type with one hand (the ole’ hunt and peck method) while holding a bag of ice to my swollen face with another.
This morning as I was musing over which topic should begin my blog-journal, I had the Brilliant idea to simultaneously remove the unwanted hair from my upper lip and chin. Seriously, I am a woman on the move and I am oh, so completely capable of multi-tasking. Hello? Have I not raised four children and a husband? The banishment of my unslightly-menapausal-furry upper lip and chin should not be much of a stretch. In fact, I also began listening to my voice mails while taking a quick perusal of the new and improved box of hair removal cream instructions. yadah, yadah, yadah…. Remove makeup, check. Apply liberally, check. Don’t rub in, check. blah, blah, blah… Leave on no more than…Oh! I missed a call from my daughter! She’s on her way to the airport and will be arriving today at 3:30pm. I can call her back while this cream works on my face. Hm…. doesn’t even burn or sting… maybe it’s not going to work. Let me rub in a bit more while the phone is ringing…..”Hi Sweetie! Yes…. I am so excited too”….. (you get the drift).
After the phone call, I realized I had NOT made note of the time I applied the concoction to my face. So I grabbed a wash cloth and scrubbed off a little area. Oh, that looks good… let me scrub some more. And the hair all came off, miracle of miracles! I rinsed with cold water. Wow! Great. Now I can move on with my preparations for the blog while I clean the rest of the house and prepare for my daughter’s arrival. Wait… what is that stinging sensation? Ouch… my face is burning…. no, it feels more like it’s ON FIRE! I looked in the mirror and to my HORROR I saw red raw lips and puffy swollen skin everywhere I had applied the cream. What gives? This stuff doesn’t do what it says it does! It’s supposed to be gentle on your skin! I grabbed the box again. I read: Remove all makeup and apply to clean face, Check. (well, I wiped off my makeup, but that counts right)? Do NOT leave on for more than 5 minutes, Check…. well, it didn’t seem like more than 5 minutes… 10 at the most, possibly 15, but probably not more than 20. It was a pretty quick call and it didn’t take that long to change my sheets and start a load of laundry. Did it? DO NOT RUB. Oh, well…. got me there. Yikes, I SCRUBBED it off! Hmm. I guess that’s why I look like a 747 crash-landed on my lips and chin.
Have you ever felt like you forgot to read your instruction manual? That even with your best intentions, you realize that you aren’t really paying attention to the guidelines printed on the back of the Box?
“My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my saying. Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh. ” Prov 4:20- 22
Health to my flesh is exactly what I need this morning!!! The Bible is God’s instruction manual for us. It is His Word to us. In it, He reveals to us how to live our lives in intimate, face to face relationship with Him and with others. We are instructed not to depart from His Ways, His teaching. (Not to disregard or make changes to His Ways). If we do, there are consequences. I did not follow the instructions that the manufacturer gave for easy, painless hair removal. I went my own way, playing fast and loose with the instructions. The result was a swollen, numb and blistered face. When we refuse to follow the instructions, (go our own way, play fast and loose with HIS Ways) we will end up with much worse than a swollen, numb and blistered face! We end up separating ourselves from the Presence of God.
You will have no other gods before Me. Ex 20:3, Deut 5:7
The Hebrew word here translated “before” is paniym. Which literally means “FACE”, with the thought being, don’t let anything get between you and the face of God. He doesn’t want ANYTHING OR ANYONE coming between or in front of or separating us from His Presence! When we go our own way, we are allowing our actions (or our reactions to our circumstances) to put up a wall between us and God. That’s not what He wants for us. He wants closeness.
Have you ever felt this way? Ever felt so overwhelmed with life circumstances that you put up a wall? You retreat, or shut down, or give up? Or maybe things are just so confusing that you can’t even seem to find God at all. Does He even hear you, or care? You are not alone! Each of us face times like these. Sometimes life is too difficult and confusing to even put into words. We may not even be able to find the “instructions”, let alone follow them! Moses was in a place like that, (see Exodus 33). God told him that there was a place right next to HIM, where Moses could take a stand, (be firmly established) and be protected. It is a place of intimacy. Once Moses was tucked into that place, the cleft of the rock, The very Presence of God Himself passed by him, but didn’t destroy Him. The next thing we see in Exodus 34 is God instructed Moses to re-cut two stones so that God could rewrite HIS WORDS onto them for the instruction to His people. God tucked Moses into that place of safety, He protected him, THEN He gave Moses instructions for living. He can tuck us into that place too, and once we are there, safely sheltered away from anything that can destroy us, we are ready to hear His Instructions. Moses told God that unless God went with them, that Moses wasn’t going anywhere.. Not the Promised Land.. Not anywhere. We need to grasp ahold and not let go of that! What good is a land flowing with milk and honey if it doesn’t have the Presence of God? No good at all!
“My son, keep your father’s command, And do not forsake the law of your mother. Bind them continually upon your heart; Tie them around your neck.When you roam, they will lead you; When you sleep, they will keep you; And [when] you awake, they will speak with you. For the commandment [is] a lamp, And the law a light; Reproofs of instruction [are] the way of life”, Prov 6:20-23
“Lord, today I pray that we each will stand in the shadow of Your wings; sheltered and hidden from the storms of life. May we dwell in that place of safety where we can rest, and You can instruct us. And may we experience today the overwhelming peace and security that only You can offer. May we call to you and hear Your answer to us. Let your words be life and health to our flesh”!
Today we choose to BE FACE TO FACE with You”.
Until next time, stay safe, and don’t forget to read the Instructions!!!