In 1 Samuel 15 verse 22, the Bible says, But Samuel replied:
“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed is better than the fat of rams.”
Obedience is doing practically what you are told to do to the letter. In 1 Samuel 15, King Saul went against the direct instruction from God to wipe out his enemies but he decided (like we do severally) that he knows better and did things his way and of course! All in the name of the Lord. What happened to him? He lost the throne of Israel to a shepherd boy. That’s right! God sees the gem in us that no one else sees.
Discovering truth is not an issue but abiding by that truth is our major problem. I will give us more examples for better understanding.
Lot’s wife in Genesis 19 because of her lack of faith in God and her love for what they lost in Sodom, turned back (against God’s instructions not to do so) and became a pillar of salt.
Now, let us not get ahead of ourselves and think God is some domineering personality that punished disobedience fiercely and rules with an iron fist. Obedience to the word of God is for our benefits. We know the truth but we fail to abide by it even though we are aware of the consequences of disobedience.
I will be honest, I am more at peace when I know I am walking on God’s path. But each time I deliberately go against something I know God wanted me to do, it is “bye bye” to peace of mind. It becomes hard to pray because deep down I know I have done wrong and must sincerely apologise and repent.
It is the same with our earthly parents. Can you seriously go ahead and ask for anything or even have a normal conversation with your parents when you know you have offended them? For me, “NO.” This is what we do to our relationship with God when we refuse to let His word be a lamp to our feet and to light our path. We will not be able to approach the throne of grace freely because of the burden we are carrying but that is not God’s Will nor does He desire we carry a guilty conscience all our lives. Hence, he said in Isaiah 1 verse 18, “Come now and let us reason together.”
Sometimes, it is not that we do not want to obey. We would have done something wrong before shouting “dear Lord, I have messed up again.” One of my major weakness is losing my temper at times. I would have shouted or tell the truth but in the most impolite way (especially when totally frustrated by my younger siblings.) In the end, I had to apologise for handling things the wrong way.
God’s commands are not a bunch of Do nots nor are they “limited” to the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20. Just as the Ten Commandments boil down to loving God and our fellow men, all of God’s commandments are for our benefit. We show love to God by obeying His commands. Now this is driven by that love just as a lot of people desire to please their loved ones.
Fear not translates to “trust God entirely and delete stress in your life.” This is a huge relief as far as our physical and spiritual well beings are concerned.
Forgiveness means leave no room for anger, bitterness and resentment which eats into the mind, soul and body more than cancer.
Giving opens up the doors for prosperity in all areas of life and as the Bible says, it comes back to us in several folds.
At the end of the day, it all adds up to the principle of sowing and reaping (Galatians 6:7). In Deuteronomy 28 (Verses 1 to 14), the rewards of obedience is clearly outlined.
“If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth” (Deuteronomy 28:1)
At the end of the day, one is blessed in all areas, protected from enemies and grows closer to God. Then you might wonder, Job did all this and God surely blessed him but he went through tragic seasons in his life. Oh yes he did! And God surely rewarded his obedience but God allowing those tragedies does not imply that he disobeyed God. Nothing happens to us without Abba’s permission and No, He isn’t playing with our lives but making us to realise we exist not only for ourselves but others too.
Through Job’s story, many around the world especially Christians, get to know that God is indeed present in our hard times and good times alike plus if we allow Him, we will come out refined, stronger and a great encouragement to those suffering too. We can rest assure that God has our back and is cheering us on after all we are the apple of His eyes (Zechariah 2:8) and He said He has engraved us in the palm of His hands (Isaiah 49:15-16) Plus very detail of our existence is known to Him so fear not, He is with you.
Being a child of God is not an exemption certificate to suffering and pain in this broken world but a lifetime award to a life of becoming a better human being especially character wise and growing into the likeness of God that loves unconditionally.
What does the Bible say about the kind of situation where we just can’t help it (and sin against God)?
“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.”
So what do we do?
“What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
We surrender to God and allow His Word to become an integral part of our lives. By not shutting down God’s Spirit when He is correcting us or warning us in advance before a big fight. When the Spirit of God which dwells in us is given full control, we will sin less because the fruit of God’s Spirit will be manifested in our daily lives. Now please don’t get me wrong. The journey to becoming the image of Christ doesn’t not happen overnight. Temptations will come; trials will come to test and shake your resolve. Stand firm on your feet to stay quiet when you are insulted or misunderstood (at least until all is calm and you can have a civil conversation.) If you fail several times, get up and continue. The battle is not for the strongest nor is the race for the swiftest (Ecclesiastes 9:11.)
I remember many years ago when I was still a teenager and hungry for God (praying for complete restoration and greater manifestation of God’s Spirit in my life), I would be so sad when I chose some Tv program over my time for God or when I go back into a sin I promised to forsake for all eternity. Who was I kidding? It was during this time I wrote a song titled “An Angel.” It was inspired by Psalm 103 verses 20 and 21.
“Praise the Lord, you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his bidding,
who obey his word.
21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
you his servants who do his will.“
BAAM!!! I told God in that song, “make me an angel Abba. I want to do your bidding without blinking an eye! I desire to obey You to the letter but I fail miserably. It is tiring being HUMAN!!!” I still envy angels in that respect.
Hence, I realise that I need to work together with God to do His Will. God’s commands are not burdensome (1 John 5:2-4) but our flesh needs total submission to God’s power and intense soaking into His Word so that it becomes an integral part of our lives. Besides, practice makes perfect so hang in there child of God but make sure you re-prioritise. Choose ye this day whom to serve (and obey). Yourself, others’ expectations or Jehovah. The choice is ours to make. Taste and see that the Lord is good.
Obedience to God brings peace of mind and when we have peace, happiness in Christ will no longer be a fantasy or a far fetched dream. We will surely have tribulations that will threaten to suck out every piece of peace and joy we have, but through faith in Jesus, we can boldly say, “I am more than a conqueror!”