Do you think a dog would prefer the nub of a used bone, or an enormous, flavor-filled new bone? I watched in amazement this past week as two family dogs bartered, begged, and stole the nub of a bone between them. Several times, I attempted to distract the nub-less dog with an enormous bone that was given at Christmas. I had no takers.
I realized a great spiritual truth in watching the nub obsession. The Lord desires to bless us abundantly, and He is able to do so. However, too many times, we ignore Him and latch on to something so much smaller, convinced that it is better than what He offers. I know. I’ve done it.
How can we cooperate with the Lord in receiving His best for us?
Jesus mourned over Jerusalem, saying, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling” (Matthew 23:37, NASB).
We have to believe the Lord desires the best for us, that He wants to bless, care for, and protect us, the way a mother hen shelters her babies under her wings. We have to choose to trust Him. That’s faith. We must decide to believe Him and then receive His best.
Esau was given that choice . . . and he grabbed the nub. Coming in hungry one day, he found his brother Jacob preparing stew. He was “famished,” so he told Jacob to give him “a swallow of that red stuff there.” Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.” We are told “Esau despised his birthright,” so he sold it for a single meal (Genesis 25:30-35; Hebrews 12:16, NASB).
As the firstborn, Esau received a special birthright that entitled him to unique privileges and blessings. All he had to do was embrace and live in light of what he already had; instead, he chose to give it away. As children of God, we have a birthright as well, being born into God’s family by believing and receiving what Jesus has done for us (John 1:12). We must be careful that we don’t act like Esau, despising our birthright and grabbing something temporary of this world. We must choose each day to believe in and embrace the eternal blessings of walking with the Lord.
We also receive God’s best when we do what He says, when we obey Him. He tells us in Deuteronomy 10:13 that all His commandments and instructions are for our own good. He tells us, “Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you will be My people; and you will walk in all the way which I command you, that it may be well with you” (Jeremiah 7:23, NASB).
Like any loving parent, God provides commands and instructions in order to bless and protect us. We are blessed when we seek to know what He says (by reading His Word) and then choose to do it, to live by it. We are not to be forgetful hearers but effectual doers of the Word; the Bible tells us that when each of us does that, then “this man will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:25, NASB).
We miss out when we “settle” by choosing to go our own way instead of following God’s instructions. We get the nub instead of the gigantic bone. King David learned that truth. When he sinned and committed adultery with Bathsheba, the Lord told him, “I anointed you king of Israel and saved you from the power of Saul. I gave you your master’s house and his wives and the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. And if that had not been enough, I would have given you much, much more. Why, then, have you despised the word of the Lord and done this horrible deed?” (2 Samuel 12:7-9, NLT).
David traded the “much, much more” of God’s abundant blessings for some temporary pleasure that yielded a world of painful consequences . . . for himself, his family, his community, and his nation. Worst of all, David was told, “by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme” (2 Samuel 12:14, NASB). David’s actions caused others to say ugly things not only about David but also about David’s God. What a tragedy. Our actions speak about who we are and Whose we are. That’s why obedience is so important.
When we choose to believe and obey God, we can anticipate blessings. We can expect the “much, much more” that always comes with the Lord. We can and must look ahead to the abundant life Jesus died to give us (John 10:10).
We see this in Lamentations 3:21, NASB: “This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I have hope in Him.’ The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him. It is good that he waits silently for the salvation of the Lord.”
The writer is looking for, anticipating, and expecting good things from God, because he knows God is good. We must cultivate the same anticipation of God’s blessings.
Today, I found my daughter Sarah’s dog Henry chewing on the nub. I decided to do a little test. I brought out the gigantic bone. Henry dropped the nub and leaped about 5 feet in the air toward the huge bone. Minutes later, he was chomping on the abundant delights of the mega bone.
May we choose to do the same!
Question: How have you experienced God’s abundant blessings after believing and obeying Him? Comment at the link below.
Susan Jane King