Welcome to the Read Along for Daughters of the King: Finding Your Place in the Biblical Story! Today we’re covering Chapter 5. Still need to buy your book? Grab it on Amazon or Paypal.
“Do you have trouble reconciling obedience with God’s grace? Obedience is a heart issue. When Christ changes us, he gives us a heart to help us keep him first. That’s not to say we won’t ever wander. We aren’t perfect. No one is. But as a Daughter of the King, we can count on the resources of faith given to us through our good and kind King who promises to finish the work he’s begun and to give us strength while we wait.”
Daughters of the King, Excerpt from Chapter 5
“If you love Me, keep My commandments.” John 14:15
Nowhere have I felt the tension between obedience and grace more than in parenting.
Untangling the two concepts in the biblical story is almost impossible. That’s because the Bible tells us that obedience is, above all things, a heart issue.
As a mother, the burden of reconciling obedience and grace can drive me toward two parenting extremes – to overcorrect or under correct the twins when they disobey me. I’m sure there are plenty of Christian mothers who can commiserate.
Adding insult to injury is the common misinterpretation of the Law and stories from the Old Testament as merely a list of rules governing behavior. But the Law was not intended as a sign of outward conformity but of inner conformity – revealing the loyalty of an individual’s heart. Did the people worship and fear God the most? Or did they worship and fear man?
Here’s how Joshua put it to the people of Israel as they were poised to enter their promised place of rest:
“Therefore be very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, lest you turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left, and lest you go among these nations, these who remain among you. You shall not make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause anyone to swear by them; you shall not serve them nor bow down to them, 8 but you shall hold fast to the LORD your God, as you have done to this day” (Josh. 23:6-8).
In vs. 8, the word “hold fast” is the same word for “cleave” used to describe the union of Adam and Eve in Gen. 2:24. Joshua is likening the picture of our relationship to God with the intimate picture of marriage.
God requires obedience from his covenant people. But the obedience God desires is not external adherence, but an internal identity; the King wants to rule the hearts of his people (Josh. 23:11-13; 16).
It’s why Joshua followed up his admonition to cleave to the King with the following note in vs. 11: “Therefore take careful heed to yourselves, that you love the LORD your God.”
For those of us in a covenant relationship with Christ, we are called to keep him first in our lives. As the King’s daughters, we are to serve no other god – especially ourselves. Obedience is a heart issue; it involves the loyalty of the heart.
So, how do we cleave to the King? By constantly choosing to filter our decisions, emotions, thoughts, words, and actions through the grid of Jesus Christ as revealed in His Word. Through the act of cleaving to the King, he transforms us – every last part, every last thought.
Israel did not always cleave, nor do we. Thankfully though, it is not the pattern of our past choices that defines us; but rather, our relationship to the King.
Just like Israel, God redeems us out of situations arising from our own disobedience or foolishness, if we let him. He is our King, and he will never give up or turn away from his covenant promises.
Because sin is not the end of God’s story nor mine, this is my prayer for my home: that our gracious King would draw us out of the cycle of sin and help us step into that special role he has written for us in his kingdom. I pray that my boys will not only know the King’s commands, but love them as well.
Do you tend toward the parenting extremes of overcorrecting and under-correcting your kids when they disobey? How do you guide your child’s heart toward the King? Share your ideas in the comments!