I had gone for over a year without giving in. But, a couple of weeks ago, as I forlornly passed the SPAM aisle in the grocery store during my weekly visit, one of the little cans called out to me, “Pick me! Pick me!” It was such a cute little can. It was dressed in “25 Percent Less Sodium.” The display of it contents was pictured so enticingly.
I whispered out loud, “But, what if Nurse Ratchet finds us out?” Nurse Ratchet is the resident watchdog at the Branch house. She is death on anything that poses a danger to my current state of health. She watches my pillbox like a hawk. She pushes her perceived home remedies on me like a dictator. She is the Big Brother of all my dietary activities.
But, in that moment of weakness, I yielded to the temptation. I took that little can and buried it deep in my cart. At the house, I concealed that little can in the turntable rack in the cabinet…and, I left it there in the dark….until two nights later…when Nurse Ratchet was asleep.
For some reason, I could not sleep myself. So, I decided to get hungry. I sneaked down to the kitchen, opened that can of SPAM, and sliced about half of it for a sandwich with gobs of mayo and cheese!
I put the rest in a bowl, and hid it in the back of the frig in a corner behind two cans of Sprite Zero and cottage cheese. I thought it was safely concealed till I could consume the rest.
The next evening, however, as The Nurse was fixing supper, I heard her call sharply, “BRANCHIE!” And, I knew I was had. It was bad. That is all I have to say about that.
But, there is something I stated above that captured my own attention: “I decided to get hungry.” In retrospect, I did not have to get hungry. But, I knew if I got hungry it would justify in my mind eating some SPAM. I also thought I could get by with it, for, surely, The Nurse would not find it.
That is the same attitude we all seem to have when it comes to obedience to God’s will. Has it occurred to you that God’s will is always best for our lives? Why, then, do we connive to circumvent it? It is simply because we decide to do so. To make matters worse, we think that the Lord (or others) will not find out about it.
We see this in the account of Achan at the city of Jericho. God made His will perfectly known. The Israelites were to take nothing in the spoils. The silver and gold belonged to God. These were described as “accursed things.”
But, in the end, Achen came across a “Babylonish garment,” a certain amount of silver, and a certain amount of gold. These items Achan took and hid in the ground in his tent. Despite the instructions of God, Achan decided to get covetous. Achan said that when he saw the items, “I coveted them, and took them, and hid them in the earth.”
Achan was probably mesmerized by what he found. “Who would know? Who will find out?” he thought. But, God knew. Achan’s disobedience affected the Israelites next venture, and it eventually cost Achan personally when it was found out what he had done.
If we know what God’s will is, do not decide to go against it. God has beneficent purposes related to it. His eternal wisdom is involved with it. Besides, it saves us a lot of grief in the long run just to be obedient concerning it.
In the mean time, if you happen to see me gazing forlornly again in the SPAM aisle at the grocery store, either, take my hand and lead me gently out of it. Or, just crack me up side the head! While the Scripture says it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God, it is just about as bad as falling into the hands of The Nurse.
Pastor Ron Branch lives in Mason County and is pastor of Hope Baptist Church, Middleport, Ohio.