OBEDIENCE – LOVE ‘S RESPONSE
Date published: October 29, 2012
“If you love me, you will obey what I command.” – John 14:15 (NIV)
Obedience: Not By Force
Does it happen to you too? Do you sometimes wish that God would force you to do what is right? I certainly do. I remember the time when I wanted God to use His supernatural power to get me out of some bind I had put myself in. Quietly the Holy Spirit reminded me that God had given me all the clues as well as the ability I needed to get out of the rut. It was then that I clearly understood what Jesus means when He says in John 14:15If you love me, you will obey what I command. Obedience is a choice – one we have to make by ourselves.
God does not coerce us to obey Him although as the Sovereign, Almighty God, Creator of the heavens and the earth and the Sustainer of all things. He has every right to do so. In fact right from the time of our creation God gave us a free will – the freedom to choose. God did not create us to be robots and zombies, mechanically following His commands. That will be fanfool respect – totally hollow and without substance -Kramanahobrasee. God wants us to choose to do the right. He has set us His standards and given us a conscience“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God has made it plain to them, for since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”- Rom 1:18-20 (NIV)The choice to obey is left to us.
God Deserves Obedience
Not only is God Sovereign. He is full of love and mercy as demonstrated by His sending Jesus Christ to be the propitiation for our sins: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. You see, at just the right time when we were still powerless Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for the us – John 3:16-17; Rom 5:6-8.”
He is also our Provider – Gen 22;13-14, Ps 145:15-16,our Banner – Ex. 17:15, our Peace- Judges 6:24,our Prayer Answerer- I John 5:14-15; Matt. 1:7, our Righteousness- Jer. 23:6, 33:16; 2 Cor. 5:21,our Saviour- Hab. 3:18; Titus 3:6 and LORD Deut. 6:4; Is. 45:5. If He is all these things to us then we do really need to examine the way we relate to Him. After all if people who wield authority over us on earth demand and receive our obedience how much more our great and awesome God who created the mountains and valleys; seas and deserts; trees and flowers; birds and fish and all sorts of animals on land and in the sea and human beings in His own image!!. We do need to obey Him because in doing so we demonstrate our respect, gratitude and honour to Him in whom we live and move and have our being- Acts 17:28a. It is when we choose to obey God that we have a satisfying and fulfilling life here on earth and a glorious life in eternity.
Although God does not coerce us to obey Him, He does not accept haphazard obedience. He is a Holy God whose standards are pure and perfect:
The Law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy making the wise simple.
The precepts of the LORD are right, giving Joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever.
The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous.
By them is your servant warned;- Ps. 19:7-9 11a
We cannot relate to God on our terms even if we are His children and so the Bible gives us some very frightening examples of some people who suffered in various ways because rather than obey God, they chose to relate to Him on their own terms. They did not carefully obey God’s commandment.
a. Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden and away from the presence of God. In addition they lost the joys, pleasures and contentment that they had. Instead pain, toil, death, strife and sorrow became their lot - Gen. 3:1-16
b. Nadab and Abihu, sons of Aaron the High Priest died because they used unauthorized methods to present sacrifices to God - Lev. 10:1
c. Moses did not enter Canaan because instead of speaking to the rock as God indicated, he struck the rock in anger - Num. 20:8
d. Saul lost the Kingship of Israel because instead of totally destroying the Amalekites, he kept some choice animals and captured the King alive - 1 Sam.15
e. Solomon, the wise and wealthy king worshipped other gods at the instigation of his many wives and incurred the anger of God – 1 Kings 11:9-11
Just as disobedience to natural laws spell disaster, so too problems assail us when we disobey spiritual laws.
Obedience is not easy. It takes the kind of humble, poor spirit that sees God in His awesomness to obey, for indeed many times obedience goes quite at odds with society’s notion of what is sensible.
a. Noah went quite against the grain when he chose to obey God by living righteously. He also obeyed God in every little detail concerning the building of the Ark on dry land. For more than one hundred and twenty years he worked at it, at the same time calling the people to repentance. (Gen. 6:11-22)
b. Abraham left a very comfortable life in the land of Ur even though he did not know exactly where God was sending him. He encountered difficulties but he did not falter. He even willingly obeyed God’s call to him to sacrifice his son Isaac. (Gen. 12:1-11; 22:1-15; Heb. 11:17-19)
c. Jesus laid down His glory, came down to earth to a deprived family. He was born in a manger and not in a king’s palace. He lived a very humble life, His whole goal being to do the will of his Father – John 4:34: 6:38; 9:4; 14;31.
He was obedient unto death. (Phil 2:8). As the writer of Hebrews says: Although He was a Son He learned obedience from what He suffered – Heb 5:8
There are many many others in the Bible who obeyed God including David, Josiah, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, Isaiah, Hosea, Amos, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Nehemiah, Daniel, the Disciples, Paul, Timothy, Silas, Epaphroditus, Chloe, Lydia, Dorcas, Mary mother of Jesus, Salome, Mary Magdalene, Joana, Susuana. ( I am sure you can think of many more).
To be continued
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You are graciously invited to the Harmonious Chorale 5th Anniversary Grand Concert scheduled for Sunday, 28thOctober, 2012 at College of Physicians and Surgeons (Ridge Round About, Accra) at 4.00 pm. Please come and let us thank the Lord for His infinite and abundant grace!!
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