by Alan Stewart
I have learned the hard way it is best to not even pretend that I am the most mechanically inclined person on planet Earth. Several years ago, I had a watch that simply needed the battery changed. I worked for quite a while just to remove the back on the watch, but once it was removed, I had the task of finding the microscopic battery inside. When I tried to remove the battery, a most amazing thing happened: nearly thirty pieces came flying out of the watch. I worked diligently and tediously like a brain surgeon to put all of the tiny parts back in place, but I never could get the watch to work again. Although the watch was still very beautiful, it lacked something that would enable it to function properly: inward order.
I wonder how many of our lives could be described in the same manner? Outwardly, things are well decorated and attractive, but inwardly there is chaos and confusion. It is a life that is missing divine order. From Genesis to Revelation, the subtle principle of divine order is God's glue, holding all things within the boundaries of His will. During creation, the Lord gave order to the universe. When He ordained the home and marriage, the Lord established order. When the tabernacle was erected, the Lord gave Aaron and his sons order.
Divine order is much more than structure and organization. Whether it is Abraham and Elijah laying "the wood in order," or Manoah seeking to "order the child," divine order brings peaceful confidence and certain direction to our lives. Without divine order we are destined to repeatedly pursue attractive pathways that will only lead to a dead-end.
What evidence should be found in our lives to give indication that we are walking in divine order? A life with divine order will walk with an honest heart. In Psalm 119:133, the psalmist writes, "Order my steps in Thy word." The word "order" carries the idea "to permanently fix and apply." A few days ago, my son showed me a picture he drew of Peyton Manning. I was startled at how well he had done for an eight-year-old. However, once he went to bed I made the discovery he had overlaid his paper on the cover of the magazine and copied the drawing. Perhaps that is the idea the psalmist had in mind. An ordered life is a life that is cut and copied directly from the mold of Scripture.
We can talk about being real and genuine, but until we fully agree with what the Lord already knows about us our life will never truly be real. The Lord asked Israel in Ezekiel 20:29, "what is the high place whereunto ye go?" What is the secret altar in your life? Divine order will not force us to live in the open so much as it will free us to live honestly with the Lord, with others, and with ourselves.
A life with divine order will work with a humble heart. In 2 Kings 20:1, Isaiah delivered the Lord's message to Hezekiah: "set thine house in order." These words did not have as much to do with his domestic affairs as they did the affairs of his heart. He was blessed with great abundance as a king, but 2 Chronicles 32:25 records, "his heart was lifted up." Simply put, divine order put him back in his place!
I have dislocated an ankle before, and it is interesting how the body will numb the pain. But, while the pain disappears, so does the ability to function. Once the joint is put back in place, there is not only motion, but there is feeling again. That is the very task Paul left for Titus in Crete when he challenged him to "set in order the things that are wanting." Here "order" meant "to straighten further," and evokes a picture of a doctor setting broken limbs or straightening crooked ones. A life without order is a life that arises to fight like Samson, though unaware the power is gone! Divine order simply makes us and keeps us in a state of readiness.
A life with divine order will worship with a happy heart. In 1 Corinthians 14:40, Paul defined the boundaries of pure worship when he wrote, "let all things be done decently and in order." The word "order" here means "to arrange in a fixed succession of rank or character." When I think of the abundance of shallow and unsatisfying worship today, I wonder if we have made worship about us rather than God. We have an "order of worship," but there seems to be no order IN our worship! When our focus of worship is in order, then we will discover our priorities, our motives, and our dreams will be in order as well. In Job 10:22, amid his deep struggles Job saw death and life "without any order." Life was like a million pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, where all the pieces looked the same.
In such times, tears obscure our vision and a broken heart paralyzes our movement. May we never forget we serve a Lord who puts rhyme into the poem of our life, and adds rhythm to the songs of our heart. When we need it most, He can make these old lives of ours tick again!
© 2005 Alan Stewart
Alan Stewart pastors Rechoboth Baptist Church in Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee