SHEPHERD TO SHEEP
(Lev 26:3-4) ‘IF you walk in My statutes…4 then I will give you rain in its season…
IF. It’s a small word with a big implication. It introduces a conditional clause. If I do this (conditional) then that will happen (consequence). God told Israel that they would be blessed IF they obeyed His commandments. But IF they disobeyed His commandments then His displeasure would fall upon them. But IF they confessed their sins then God would have mercy on them. You see a lot happens in life when we finally decide what we will do. Will we go God’s way or our own way? Maybe to help us decide we need to take a big look at that small but powerful word…IF.
First, it is important to make a differentiation between the unconditional love of God and the conditional promises He has made. Our salvation is secure in Christ. There is no iffyness about that. But when it comes to life in Christ there are certain conditions placed before the fulfillment of some of God’s promises. (2 Chr 7:14) IF My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (1 John 5:14-15)
God has given all of us a free will. He loves us so much that He has placed within us the ability to make choices. He will never force His love on us. Forced love upon someone is not true love. It is manipulation and strangulation. Love loves and patiently waits for the object of that love to respond. Otherwise there would only be a robotic response which could not be termed true love.
But if you think about it, having volition comes with great responsibility. What if I don’t choose when I should? Or what if I choose wrongly? There are consequences to our choices. Think about all the lousy choices we have made in our lives that have come back to haunt us. If we could only go back in time and change things and make better decisions. But God is such a forgiving God that He has mercy on us for the wrong choices we have made and will work everything toward the good for His glory! (Rom 8:28; Psa 130:3-4)
Thank God that He will help us make the right decisions in life. (Phil 2:13) for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. And sometimes life comes down to certain hard choices that we know we must make. (Mat 26:39)…“O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”
IF. What a word! Two letters. One syllable. Easy enough to remember. Sometimes it all comes down to choices. (Deu 30:19) ... I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.