Chocolate Smears and Noisy Sheep

This was my great-grandson, Cameron (age 4) and his very sharp Dad:

            Dad:   Cameron, did you take that piece of chocolate on the table?

            Cam:  Oh, NO, Daddy!

            Dad:   Are you sure? I think you have smears of chocolate around your    


            Cam:  No, it wasn’t me. It was Bunny (little brother).

            Dad:   Really. (Pause.) Well I guess we should take Bunny to the

                        hospital right now, because he’ll be really sick. There was cat poop

                        on that chocolate!

            Cam:  (pause) (pause) Daddy! Daddy! Take me to the hospital QUICK,

                        because I just ate cat poop!!

When you’re four, you’re not yet very good at this lying business. It seems like a great idea, and a neat way to stay out of trouble! And sometimes it even works!! Unfortunately, as we age, we find we are able to get better and better at it, and more able to justify it to ourselves. All the little so-called white lies; all the lies of omission, where we leave out some of the truth. And even more common, the dishonesty of disobedience.

One of my favorite stories is in 1st Samuel 15. Samuel was a prophet, who had been dedicated to God in infancy, and as an adult ministered to King Saul, the first king of the Jews. God, through Samuel, sent word to Saul that He wanted to settle the score with the Amalekites, who had mistreated Moses and his people during their journey. So God commanded Saul to take his army and utterly destroy every one of the Amalekites, including all the livestock. But Saul and his men liked the looks of the fat cattle and sheep and goats, and so only destroyed the weak and sick ones, and brought the rest home with them as plunder. This greatly grieved God and He told Samuel that He was sorry that He had ever made Saul king. Samuel went to find Saul.

 When Samuel finally found him, Saul greeted him cheerfully. “May the Lord bless

you”, he said. “I have carried out the Lord’s command.” But Samuel nailed him.

“Then what is all the bleating of sheep and the lowing of cattle I hear?” Samuel demanded.

Samuel faced Saul with his disobedience to God’s command. And he said this:

“What is more pleasing to the Lord:

     your burnt offerings and sacrifices

     or your obedience to His voice?

Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice,

     and submission is better than offering

             the fat of rams.

Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft,

     and stubbornness as bad as

              worshipping idols!”   

I would hate to have to count the times I have almost been totally obedient to what I knew God wanted me to do. Or the times I have been stubborn.  Or the times I have refused to submit.

Dishonesty has many facets. We may not lie about the chocolate on our face, which anyone can see.  But how about the disobedience and the rebellion that is hidden in our hearts, that no one can see? No one, that is, except God.