Best Intentions

“Then all the people answered together and said, ‘All that the Lord has spoken we will do.’ So Moses brought back the words of the people to the Lord.” Exodus 19:8

As a pastor, I try to make it a priority to visit people that are, because of circumstances of health and age, “shut in.”

This group of people often feel forgotten by the church and have a great sense of loss for all the activities they once were active in taking part in, and often leading out in, but now miss out on.

I generally enjoy these visits. Many times these “shut-ins” share exciting and interesting stories with me that I would have never heard had I neglected these visits. Often I leave feeling very blessed and thankful to have been able to make that call that day. When I leave I always promise that I’ll try and come back and visit soon.

And I mean it when I say those words. But here’s the thing, often several weeks, and even months, pass before I get back to visit with them. I’m not avoiding them; it’s just that sometimes there’s a lot asking for my time: other things I need to do, other things I want to do. And sometimes it’s not that I’m so busy it’s rather that I’m forgetful. I forget about the shut$ins, and my promise to them, when I’m making my plans so I don’t give them enough priority to get back to visit with them more often.

In short, when it comes to visiting shut-ins, my actions don’t match my words or my intentions.

In our focus text the children of Israel make a promise to Moses, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.”

That’s a big promise and Israel wasn’t lying when they made it but they, like me, weren’t able to live up to their word. The Old Testament is a litany of various times that Israel fell far short of being obedient to God’s commandments and the fulfillment of their promise.

I take great comfort in the fact that the Old Testament is also full of all the times that God was patient with Israel and all the ways that he rescued them and sought to restore them when their disobedience led them far from where he wanted them to be.

Friends, failure isn’t inevitable. But with sinners, like we are, it does seem to be predictable. It’s good to know that in Jesus we have a Savior that’s willing to suffer long and go the extra distance so that he can over come our weaknesses and save us to the uttermost (Hebrews 7:25).

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