How to turn trial and error into trial and success (Deuteronomy 27)

Whoever came up with the concept of “trial and error” is my worst enemy.

I want the right answer immediately. I want the correct strategy to reveal itself. I don’t want to fail over and over. I want to get it right the first time.

So how come I keep finding myself stumbling around like an unsteady toddler? How come I keep getting it wrong instead of right?

I know it’s not just me. It’s all of us. It’s even the people who lived in Bible times.

From the early patriarchs to the kings of Israel to the disciples themselves, all you see is trial and a whole lot of error.

Some, like the Israelites, seem to never get it right.

Why not? What gives? How do I keep from stumbling and failing through life? How do I plant my feet on solid ground?

The Good Book

What about planting our feet on solid rock? Like the Israelites did?

Or at least, like the Israelites tried. In Deuteronomy 27, God guides the Israelites through the steps to create their very own, DIY…lawbook?

What else would you call the two large stones into which the Israelites were supposed to carve God’s law (verse 3)? They even had to coat them with plaster and put them on display atop a mountain! Talk about extra!

But we know God isn’t dramatic for drama’s sake – it’s all about emphasis. He wanted the Israelites and us to know that His law is something special. It isn’t something to skim every now and then and immediately forget. God wants His people to be reminded of His law. He wants them to see it as precious.

But that’s not all there is to it. All this could be seen as nothing more than the jealous wishes of a controlling, conceited God – but God doesn’t want His people to remember His law because it’s His and He’s proud of it. He wants us to remember the law because it is good.

The message is loud and clear. Words written on stone. Preserved with plaster. Displayed up high, in something strong and permanent.

God wants us to know that His law lasts. It’s reliable. It’s sturdy. It’s durable. His law spans centuries, continents, and cultures. His law doesn’t change. His law doesn’t need to be updated. His law never becomes irrelevant.

God’s law can keep us steady. God’s law can help us get it right – the first time. It literally spells it all out for us. God’s made it as easy for us as He possibly could.

This is how to live. This is how to be happy. Forever.

“Try Me and My words on for size.”

The other day, the Christmas lights I have up in my room fell down, just a little bit.

I had them on four little hooks when I first put them up. Now we are down to two.

When the second hook fell, I cried a little. I cried because I am sleep deprived. But I also cried because suddenly I realized that I was a lot like that string of Christmas lights.

I also look okay, or at least mostly okay (depending on what you think of my decorating skills), on the outside. I might look like I have it together. I might look like I’m doing well, or at least making it.

But slowly, little by little, I’m falling down. I’m addicted to sin. I’m dealing with ugly emotions. I feel stuck in my career. I’m lonely, I feel ugly, I’m getting lazier, and on, and on, and on.

I’m a mess, and another hook just fell down. My façade is unravelling.

I’ve been trying to keep it together. Haphazardly put the lights back up. Patch things up. Give myself a pep talk. Make a plan. Set goals.

Trial and error.

But I haven’t been getting it right.

If you’re feeling like me, then maybe it’s time for us to stop coming up with our own ideas. It’s time to try the one, tried and true, Way, Truth, and Life. It’s time to get it right.

And I don’t mean try to keep His law. We’ve tried that already and it didn’t work.

Instead, you need to forsake your law. And I need to forsake mine. We need to stop telling ourselves that we know what’s best for us. We need to stop saying that we’ll do this for God, but not that. We need to stop deciding we’ll come this far, but no further. We need to stop pretending we are the only ones with jurisdiction over our own lives.

We need to stop being in charge. We need to put Someone else in charge. Someone we can trust. Someone whose timeless, treasure-filled words, straight from His very own lips, are lying in wait, carefully preserved, carved into everlasting stone, promising peace and joy and everlasting life.

We need to say, “I’m trading my law for Yours. I believe Your law is what’s best for me. Please help me to keep it, even when I don’t want to.” We need to mean it.

Surrender and try Him. If He truly is God, then we are guaranteed success.

What do you think? What is keeping you from trying God and His law?

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