“Ready, set, stay”! What a tricky thing to say to a dog who is ready to pounce. How deceptive a last word of an, otherwise, familiar phrase.
But there it is. The one word that changes the entire result. The command that challenges the familiar and one that tests the true focus and obedience of a dog.
Our German Shorthaired Pointer, Moses, has his fair share of tricks he has learned over the years. One such trick involves running and leaping as high as possible in an attempt to reach a tree limb. Moses is able to run about as fast as a cheetah. He has also been known to jump higher than any dog should be able to jump. When we discovered this talent, we would encourage him to obey our request to run and leap only when commanded to do so. We would say “ready, set, go”! He would then run like the wind and leap as high as possible to reach a tree limb.
Over time, however, we realized that he was performing not because he was listening, but because he was able to predict what we wanted. He had become so accustomed to this game that it was no longer a test of his skill but just a display of his athleticism and memorization. That is when we decided to test his listening skills by changing a keyword in such a familiar phrase. We wanted him to obey rather than to just perform.
As you can imagine, it took quite a few tries for him to comply with this request successfully. After some confusion, surprised looks, and do overs, Moses finally learned to literally listen before he leaped.
When commanded to “ready, set, go” he would run and do his thing. When told to “ready,set, stay”… there he would sit until commanded otherwise.
What a difference one word can make.
Deuteronomy 4:2 says “Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you.”
Pretty clear, huh? Scripture tells us on several occasions to be careful to obey what is written. It warns us to take heed before we disrespect the written word of God by adding to or taking away from it. We are to do what is commanded of us, nothing more, nothing less.
For those who make it a habit of using scripture to make life more convenient, I say to you be careful. To attempt to adjust scripture to mean what you want it to mean is to walk through some dangerous territory.
We see it all the time though don’t we? Society has called what is unholy holy. Our world has trampled on the meaning of righteous living. I dare say that many pulpits are filled with pastors who will water down truth so as to not offend others.
Is it any wonder that our nation is in the shape that it is in today? We should not be surprised that it seems as though the hedge of protection around our country is slowly being lifted. Because maybe, just maybe, it is.
Adding to or taking away from scripture has dire consequences. It creates lukewarm churches, lukewarm Christians, and ineffective living. On a larger scale it has created false religions, deceived people, and caused judgement when there could have been mercy.
Listen closely to what the Lord speaks to you through scripture and through prayer. One word can make all the difference.
“And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.”- Revelation 22:19