This morning my son and I were planting trees again. The first part of the process was to dig eighteen holes, and pour a bucket of water into each hole. So right after breakfast we got a wagon, filled two five-gallon buckets of water, added a spade, and headed for the field where we're planting.
While I dug the holes, my son scooped water and poured it into holes so there would be plenty of moisture in the soil when we planted the trees. The temperature was already on the rise, and I was dripping with sweat, so I wasn't in a good mood to argue with my son when he told me, "Daddy, I don't want to do this. The grass is wet, and it's getting my feet wet."
"Well, it needs to get done," I said.
"Why do we have to do it now, when the grass is so wet?"
And here's where I was tempted to use that famous line, "Because I said so." It's quick and easy to say, and doesn't even interrupt the work I was doing. After a moment's thought, though, I put the shovel down and said, "Do you know why the grass is wet here?"
"Because of the dew?"
"Mmm hmm. Come here," I said, as I walked up the hill, and out of the shade. "The grass isn't wet here. That's because it's not in the shade, and it is really hot here, isn't it?"
Then I pointed back down the hill at the tree holes, which were all in the shade. "If we wait for the grass to dry off, then all of that will be in the sunlight, and it'll be hot, and that'll make the work twice as hard."
Armed with that understanding, he agreed that it was better to do it now.
Don't get me wrong, I think that there are times that "because I said so" is a legitimate answer; I do think that children should be taught and trained that obedience is important even when they don't understand the reason for it. But I also think it makes sense, in most cases, to explain my reasoning to my children when I'm able to do so.
This is a very common pattern in scripture, and if you look for it, you'll find it everywhere. God gives an instruction, and then he explains the reason for it.
Every time you find a "for" or a "therefore" or a "because" in scripture, think about it carefully. It's likely that you'll find that God is explaining himself and his instructions to his children.
To illustrate this, I randomly opened my Bible to Philippians 4, where I read this:
The command is to stand firm, but the word "therefore" precedes the command, which suggests that in the previous verses Paul explained the reason for the command:
Why stand firm? Because we have a citizenship and a glory ahead of us that outweighs any burden or struggle that faces us now.
I encourage you to read scripture looking for these kinds of pairings, and express your gratitude to God that he didn't just say, "Because I said so," but took the time to explain his commands. And, of course, always be ready to obey, out of trust and submission, whenever an explanation is not given.