Lolly and I were driving on route 93 in Hazleton. We came to a red light and had to stop. We were a few cars back and on the inside lane. As I looked at a car on the outside lane and one car ahead, I said to Lolly, “He’s listening to the same radio station we are.” Even though I couldn’t hear his radio I knew he was listening to the same station. Lolly even said, “How do you know that ?” The driver of the other car had his window down and his arm along the rolled down window and his hand was taping out the beat of the song WE were listening to. It was not just a coincidental taping, it was an obvious taping to the same tune.
Now hold that thought while I tell you another musical story. I was driving through Jim Thorpe one day not too long ago listening to XM radio. If you have XM radio you know that there are certain areas where the satellite signal is blocked out by high hills or other kinds of obstruction. Maybe even a tree or building. This actually happens at several points in Jim Thorpe. I was listening to a song from the fifties that I was familiar with and of course as I frequently do, I was singing along. As the song went on I hit one of those satellite blind spots were the radio suddenly went quiet – but I kept on singing. The radio was actually quiet for quit a while. As I sang on, the radio suddenly once again began to play. I was intrigued with the fact that my singing was still in perfect beat with the song on the radio. Word for word, beat for beat we were in sink.
I put these two musical events together and then I thought about still a third musical event. I thought of the days I served in the army. I thought about marching on the parade ground with hundreds and hundreds of other soldiers to the music of the marching band. A good military marching song. As the music played and the command was given to, “Pass in Review” we soldiers began to march; we were all in step. Left – right, left – right, left – right. Everyone in step. Hundreds of soldiers, Left – right, left – right.
All three of these stories illustrate the unity of what THE BEAT does. It isn’t the words, it isn’t the music, it is the beat that brings the unity. Beat and Unity.
So that now brings us to our scripture readings for this morning.
As soon as I read this Sundays Old Testament Reading from the Old Testament Book of Isaiah Chapter 65, I immediately thought of a reading from the 28 chapter of Deuteronomy. Isaiah speaks of God’s blessings in the New Jerusalem, which is yet to come, while Deuteronomy speaks of receiving God’s blessing during this lifetime. What struck me most was the fact that God’s purpose and design for His creation is going to happen regardless of what we do that may affect it. “Why”, you ask? Because, He is God.
When we consider both the Deuteronomy readings along with the reading from Isaiah for today we actually discover that God wants the best for us. Even though both of these readings have to do with the Jewish people and the nation of Israel, God still wants the same good things for the true Christian Church. He never wanted any of His creation to have grief, or to suffer, or to have sorrow. And yet we experience this in our daily lives.
Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you you today, that the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth.
Now let’s stop right there for a moment. That is the blessing God wants for us but “If you diligently obey the voice of the Lord.” Diligently is the key word here. Not sometimes obey, not partially obey, not in some things obey, not without dedication and perseverance obey, BUT DILIGENTLY OBEY.
Now lets draw into this the morning reading from 2 Thessalonians 3:6. The Apostle Paul has this to say to the Christian Church:
But we command you, brethren, in the name of our lord jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us.
In other words, here is the Apostle Paul stating for the Christian Church the very same thing Moses commanded to the people as they journeyed to the Holy Land. Obedience to God. The thing to note here is that nothing has changed in all of God’s word. How do we observe and conceive this. Well it is just like the beat of a song. The fellow in the car was following the beat. My singing was following the beat. The soldiers all follow the beat.
We just need to be sure that the beat we are following is that as established by God through His commandments and rules that He has established for us. Today we should all have the same direction laid out before us that we move in unison, step by step, beat by beat, in order that we please the God we worship.
If we don’t, we discover God’s alternative. Listen again to Deuteronomy.
But it shall come to pass, if you don’t obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:
And then the scripture goes on to list all the curses that will overtake us. It’s is wise to look at the list of both the blessings and the curses. There are 52 verses of curses listed. It is interesting that there are only 7 verses of blessings listed in Deuteronomy. Even more interesting is the fact that there are only 7 verses of blessings in the scripture from Isaiah’s prophesy for the New Jerusalem.
God seems to be very specific in pointing out MANY of the curses that will befall us to be sure that we realize that these are in fact curses and not just something that happens in life. But the list of blessings is shorter because it doesn’t take much to conceive of the fact that life without curses is a blessing in itself and a big list is not necessary to understand that we are under the blessing of God.
But life is like the satellite signal that powers our radio. Sometimes that signal is cut off by a high hill or mountain or even a tall building and we pass through the shadow without hearing the music or the beat. When the broadcast of God’s word is cast into a shadow of trials or tribulations or temptations, to what beat to we then march. Is God’s word established well enough within us that we do not begin to march to the beat of a different drummer but always hear the word of God from within that has been established through prayer and reading and studying God’s word. No shadow can be cast against that which is well established within us.
Also, just like the man who was tapping out the beat on the side of his car, we must learn to associate with those who are marching to the beat of God that in unity and fellowship we walk in the blessing of God and are not walking in any shadows or blind spots that will tempt and persuade us to stray and bring God’s curses upon us.
So the question is, “Are you walking in the shadows or do you truly feel and hear the beat of God’s will and direction and blessing for you.