A huge piece of the Christian walk is obedience, without it we will never be able to obtain what God has for us, and we will miss out on the bigger picture. Obedience requires us to not only inquire of the Lord but allow him to lead us as well. Throughout our lives, we will have many opportunities to choose between obedience and disobedience, and those moments will be very tempting and sometimes slightly confusing. BUT with God’s grace, we will be able to discern his plans and desires for us. Obedience isn't easy because it requires sacrifice and loads of faith but it's always worth it!
Now let's examine the biblical importance of obedience.
For 40 years Moses tended sheep in Jethro until God commanded him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. God used Moses to do several miracles and minister to his chosen people. However after years of waiting to enter the promise land; Moses disobeyed the Lord and aborted his opportunity. The Lord had instructed Moses to speak to a rock and distribute the water that flowed from it, but instead, he struck the rock due to his anger.
“Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.”
So Moses took the staff from the Lord’s presence, just as he commanded him. He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank. But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”
- Numbers 20:8-12
Moses's entire generation died in the wilderness and God used Joshua to lead the Israelites into the promise land. If we disobey God and ignore his instruction; he will use other people to fulfill his plans. Because God's work must be done, and he only uses those that make themselves available to him. Moses was an excellent leader and a trusted man of God, but his moment of disobedience derailed him! Now that doesn't mean that his life was a waste, but it does mean that he missed out on the fullness of God’s will for his life. God wants us to dream with him and in order to do that, we must have faith! Our obedience isn't activated until we realize that God has our best interest in mind. He’s not trying to harm us or get us off track, he knows what he's doing!
Samuel was used by God to speak to the Israelites and consul King Saul. In 1 Samuel 15, we see that Samuel had instructed King Saul according to what the Lord had told him. But instead, King Saul decided to be disobedient. Now you may be wondering what the disobedient act was, King Saul had decided to give a burnt offering to the Lord, something that he hadn't been instructed to do. Although that may not seem like a bad thing, it wasn't the act that signaled disobedience; it was the fact that he acted against the wise counsel. Disobedience doesn't always look like sin, sometimes it may appear to be completely harmless, however, it's still derailing. The enemy will try to distract us with “harmless acts” and set traps for us to be disobedient. But we can't allow ourselves to be fooled by the Devil because he's not worth our time.
Then Samuel said, “Is the Lord as delighted with burnt offerings and sacrifices as he would be with your obedience? To follow instructions is better than to sacrifice. To obey is better than sacrificing the fat of rams. The sin of black magic is rebellion. Wickedness and idolatry are arrogance. Because you rejected the Lord’s word, he rejects you as king.” Then Saul told Samuel, “I have sinned by not following the Lord’s command or your instructions. I was afraid of the people and listened to them. Now please forgive my sin and come back with me so that I may worship the Lord.”
- 1 Samuel 15: 22-25
As a result of King Saul’s disobedience, King David’s kingdom became established and carried the lineage of Jesus Christ.
Samuel told Saul, “I will not go back with you because you rejected what the Lord told you. So the Lord rejects you as king of Israel.” When Samuel turned to leave, Saul grabbed the hem of his robe, and it tore. Samuel told him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to one of your neighbors to one better than you."
- 1 Samuel 15: 26-28
King David is known as "the man after God’s own heart", and although he wasn't perfect; he had a repentant heart and a true reverence for the Lord. God isn't looking for perfect people, but he is looking for obedience. Without our cooperation God will never use us, nor will he be able to advance his kingdom. Several people will be affected by our obedience. More than we could ever understand!
Due to sinful nature, we struggle more with obedience, than we do with disobedience. It's amazing how Christ died for us knowing that we would all have the tendency to be rebellious. Since the fall of man, humans have fought with honoring God’s sovereignty; however, that's not an excuse! We have to fight against the flesh and the sinful tendencies that come along with it. We mustn't falter from submitting to God because the opposite of obedience isn't pleasing to him.
We must be really attentive to what the Lord is speaking to us so that we can follow what he wants us to do. Obedience isn't easy, but it's key!