What better word than OBEDIENCE for the O in the ABC’s of Christian Living?
Saul, the first king of Israel lost his throne because of disobedience. You can read an account of his disobedience in 1 Samuel 15. Through the prophet Samuel God sent word to Saul that he should attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belonging to them. He should not spare them, but “put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.”
This sounds like a cruel order, but it was punishment “for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt.” The way we treat Israel is serious business. It was defined from the beginning when God called Abraham to be the father of this people.
“I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse” (Genesis 12:3). We could expand on this but the point here is about Saul and how he went about the order. He was to destroy everything, but he and the army spared their king and the best of the sheep and cattle.
When God told Samuel about this disobedience, “Samuel was troubled, and he cried out to the LORD all that night.”
What was Saul excuse? He told Samuel that the soldiers had “spared the best of the sheep and cattle to sacrifice to the LORD.”
Obedience is #1! Here is how Samuel responded to Saul’s lame excuse:
“Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king.”
After this disobedience the prophet Samuel never saw Saul again though he mourned for him. The saddest words are these: “And the LORD was grieved that he had made Saul king over Israel.”
Since Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice on the Cross we don’t have to do the kind of sacrifices Saul and his soldiers were thinking about. But more than any of those sacrifices God honored obedience. Jesus learned obedience by what he suffered “and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him” (Hebrews 5:8-9).
Because of Adam and Eve’s disobedience we were all made sinners, but “through the obedience of the one man [Jesus] the many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19).
Jesus “humbled himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:8). Such great and abundant love! Because of his love, we love him. How do we show our love? “This is love: that we walk in obedience to [God’s] commands” (2 John 6).
Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command… If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.” (John 14:15; 15:10-11).
This is not a heavy-duty, obligated kind of obedience. We obey out of love!
The Bible exhorts us to obey
- Our parents (Eph 6:1)
- Masters/employers (Eph 6:5)
- Leaders (Heb 13:17)
- Authorities (Rom 13:1)
The Book of Deuteronomy is a summary of the Law given to Moses for the people of Israel The word OBEY appears there 30 times. That ought to tell us something. What was said the people of old is just as relevant today.
“Be careful to obey all these regulations I am giving you, so that it may always go well with you and your children after you, because you will be doing what is good and right in the eyes of the LORD your God” (Deut 12:28).
Trust and obey
For there is no other way
To be happy in Jesus
But to trust and obey.