Fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones.
In Deuteronomy 11, Moses reminded the Israelites of the choice before them: obey God and experience His blessing, or disobey God and experience His discipline. And you and I face that same choice today.
God’s blessing in our lives sometimes means material prosperity. I think we run so far from the prosperity gospel that we miss an important truth: God sometimes blesses those who follow Him with material prosperity. I think about a couple in our church who made what for them was a very substantial commitment to our mission campaign. After they made that commitment, God blessed them with a promotion that helped them fund the commitment they had made. Does God always do that? No, but sometimes He does bless our obedience with material prosperity.
Sometimes the consequences of obeying God include harmonious and fulfilling relationships with other people. Sometimes God’s blessing means a protection from evil and calamity in our lives. Sometimes God’s blessing results in peace of mind no matter what is happening around us. God says, “If you obey Me, there are real, tangible benefits you will experience.”
Psychiatrist David Larson made a career out of researching the positive benefits of a spiritual life. He found, for example, that people who describe themselves as religious have markedly lower incidents of heart attack, arterial sclerosis, and hypertension. Religious people are less likely to abuse alcohol and drugs. People who regularly attend church have lower rates of depression, higher overall well-being, and longer lifespans.
Dr. Larson concluded, “In essence the studies empirically verify the wisdom of the book of Proverbs. Those who follow biblical values live longer, enjoy life more, and are less diseased.” Proverbs says, “The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may avoid the snares of death” (14:27), and “Fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones” (3:7-8).
Do you want God’s blessing in your life? Then obey Him; make Him first in your life. There are real benefits in this life to doing so.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “New Year . . . New Choices” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2015.
David Larson, as quoted in Philip Yancey, “Health and the God Factor,” Christianity Today, October 7, 1991, https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/1991/october-7/health-and-god-factor.html.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org