Imagine a school classroom. Windows along one wall. Posters taped on painted cement block walls. Student desks are lined in rows facing the teacher’s desk and the whiteboard at the front of the room.
The students stroll in and take their seats. Bell.
“Hey, everyone,” the teacher says with a smile. “I really care about you guys. Today, I’m going to tell you exactly how to live your lives so that you can stay out of trouble and enjoy the fullness of life and my abundant blessings.”
The teacher pours out his heart as his instructions fill the whiteboard. He explains each thing that he writes. There are moments when his voice breaks, the tears welling up inside. He loves his students so much.
He is finished. He takes his seat.
“There it is. This is the way to live. If you follow these commands, you will enjoy life to the full.”
A student shakes his head. Other students laugh with him, cheering him on.
He stands up and walks to the whiteboard.
“Teacher, you forgot something. You should have had 11 things in this list, not 10. You forgot this crucial point.”
The student puts the chalk down and beams with pride as he high fives friends on the way back to his seat.
Not to be out done, one of his friends nearly trips in his eagerness to get up to the board. He grabs an eraser and erases an entire section of the white board.
“Teacher, I don’t know where you got that part from but that was crazy. Gone now, dude.”
Another student sits quietly at his desk. He’s not going to say anything. He’s not going to walk up to the front of the room. However, he thinks the entire board needs to be erased. It’s all nonsense to him.
The teacher looks directly at him. The student knows he has been caught in an act of betrayal. He slouches further in his desk chair.
The teacher is sad because he really does know the secrets to a good life. He’s just shared them and the students trivialized or discarded them. They are heading for certain trouble in life because they will not heed his advice.
The teacher is also angry. He is the teacher and they are the students. He has the wisdom, knowledge, and expertise and they don’t. He created the heavens, the earth, and all that it is in. He is the all-powerful and all-knowing God, the God who gave life to each of the students. He gave them intelligence, voices, eyesight, and the hands and feet they use to mock him.
Who are the students? The students are you and I. Humanity.
Imagine receiving instructions from God Himself. Face-to-face. Now, imagine telling Him that He is wrong. Imagine thinking He needs to be corrected. Imagine believing you can evaluate whether what God has said is good or bad.
This is what we do – you and I. We think we know better than God about how we should live our lives.
We walk up to the board and erase what God has prescribed for our well-being. We write our own list and hand Him back the chalk. We give Him instructions never to add anything or erase anything.
We are going to test Him. Will God be obedient to us? Will He answer our prayers the way we expect Him to? Will God give us everything we want when we want it and how we want it? If He doesn’t do as we say, we get angry with Him. We ignore Him. We rebel even more against Him. We speak poorly of Him to others. We claim He doesn’t exist.
In the process, we make a mess of our lives. It turns out that God really did know the secret for how we can live a good life. We rebelled against Him to our detriment. The things we thought were good for us turned out to be harmful. The things that God had said were good for us, that we thought were bad for us, turned out to be things we really wish we had. He was right after all.
Because of following our own prescription for life that we wrote on the white board, we now experience tough times. Dysfunctional families. Divorce. Estrangement. Conflict. Drug addiction. Alcoholism. Crime. Incarceration. War.
When we rebel against God, our teacher, we don’t wound Him. We don’t hurt His feelings. We don’t shake His confidence. We certainly don’t change His point of view. He knows we are foolish and there is no doubt in His mind. The only thing we do when we rebel from God is to hurt ourselves.
“God, I’ve lived a good life. I didn’t do horrible things. I didn’t do drugs. I didn’t get divorced. I never was in jail. I paid my taxes, kept my lawn nice, and gave to charities. Why are You distant from me?”
“Because You walked up to the blackboard and changed what I had said was right and wrong. You dared to sit in your chair and think you had the authority to evaluate me. You went about each day of your life doing whatever you felt like doing, even if what you were doing was socially acceptable. You were your own God. You didn’t need me or what I wrote on the whiteboard. You have had a rebellious heart. This is the reason I am distant from you. “
Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind and love your neighbor. Don’t challenge what God says is right and wrong for you. Do as He says and you will have His blessings. Believing and trusting that God knows more than You about what’s best for You is the #1 thing God wants for mankind.