1 Chronicles 22:11-13    “Now, my son, the LORD be with you, and may you have success and build the house of the LORD your God, as he said you would. May the LORD give you discretion and understanding when he puts you in command over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the LORD your God.  Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the LORD gave to Moses for Israel.  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or discouraged.”

These instructions King David gave to his son, Solomon, as he prepared to ‘hand over the reins’ are typical of many other commands throughout Scripture.  They follow the pattern, “If you are obedient in doing X, blessing Y will certainly follow.”  When we read such things we can easily fall into the trap of thinking that the blessing is a ‘REWARD’ for the obedience, and this leads to ‘moralism’ and the error of ‘works righteousness’.

The secret of avoiding this serious and damaging error is to keep in mind that we are ALL helpless sinners who depend on God’s grace to enable us to obey him, and that every ‘blessing’ is always a GIFT of his GRACE.  We note that David uses phrases like, “The LORD be with you” and “May the LORD GIVE you discretion and understanding”.

The Apostle Paul summed it all up like this as he refers to Israel’s fundamental error throughout their history: “Since they did not know the righteousness THAT COMES FROM GOD and sought to establish THEIR OWN, they did not submit to GOD’s righteousness.” (Romans 10:3).

It is also good to keep in mind that whenever God says: “If you do ‘X’, blessing ‘Y’ will follow”, he is merely stating a FACT, not giving a PROMISE.  God has graciously given us all his ‘commandments/statutes/precepts/etc’ as the ‘Manufacturer’s Instruction Manual’.  HE is the one who designed and made us, and is therefore in the best position to tell us how to operate for maximum efficiency and smooth running, and minimum maintenance problems.  Our sinful hearts are not always good at recognising this simple logic, and we have to find out the hard way!  And sadly, I, for one, am also a ‘slow learner’ who too often needs multiple experiences of ‘the hard way’ before I really ‘learn’!