Obedience

So, how many of you were excited when you read the title of this post?

Why is it that the word obedience causes many to cringe or maybe choose not to read a post entitled Obedience? I think it’s because obedience may mean you may have to do something you don’t want to do. Or you may not get to do something you’d really like to do. But I believe for many, a change of perspective may make it a lot easier to obey.

Let’s take a look at a passage of scripture found in the book of Leviticus.

If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments and do them, I will give you rain in due season… you shall lie down and none shall fill you with dread or make you afraid… you shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you… For I will be leaning toward you with favor and regard for you, rendering you fruitful, multiplying you, and establishing and ratifying My covenant with you. (Leviticus 26:3, 4, 6, 7, 9; Amplified)

For time and space sake, I did not include the entire passage, so I encourage you to go back and read it all. In my Bible the heading just above this passage reads The blessings of obedience. There are blessings that come when you obey. Yes, Jesus paid the price and made the way, but one of the things He made possible for us was the ability to now obey God’s Word by His grace in our lives.

But He gives us more and more grace (power of the Holy Spirit, to meet this evil tendency and all others fully). (James 4:6, Amplified)

Now, let’s talk about children and obedience. Most children if allowed to do whatever they wanted would play video games and not go to school. They would choose chips, sodas, and anything with sugar in it over vegetables, water and anything without sugar in it. But we as parents make good choices for them as they grow and require obedience because we love them and want the best for them.

When I hear the word obedience in God’s Word, I’m eager to hear what it is He is asking of me. Why? Because whether I understand it or not, whether I like what He’s asking of me or not, I know that the only reason He requires obedience in that area is because He loves me and wants the best for me.

I trust my heavenly Father. If He says do this, I know there is a blessing in it for me. If He says don’t do that, I want to avoid it, because I know He is simply watching out for me.

If you [really] love Me, you will keep (obey) My commands. (John 14:15, Amplified)

When you read that scripture, don’t think about a god who is somewhere-out-there and whose ways you just don’t understand. Instead, hear the heart of a Father Who loves His child and Who wants to bless His child.

Before thee

And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people. (Exodus 13:21-22, KJV)

The LORD  thy God, he will go over before thee, and he will destroy these nations from before thee… (Deuteronomy 31:3, KJV)

So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you. (Deuteronomy 31:6, NLT)

These passages of scripture speak of the time when God’s people, Israel, were led through the wilderness and ultimately into their promised land. They speak of very important events in history. Today, I ask you to permit me to speak of things that may seem trivial in light of these events, but that demonstrate another facet of our God.

Just yesterday I met with someone to exchange a damaged part on a product I had purchased. The person who sold me the product discussed it with the company and they were very willing to make things right, but instead of wanting to deal with it in the easiest way possible, they were asking me to do things in a much more difficult way to receive my exchange. The person that had sold me the product (a Christian) suggested I pray that the company would agree to do things the easiest way possible for me (the customer).

I calmly thanked the LORD that because of Him, I had favor.

The company said that if they did things my way, they couldn’t guarantee the new part would fit and work properly with the rest of the item. Actually, they seemed very sure it wouldn’t.  Once again, I thanked the LORD that this was no surprise to Him and that His blessing had already gone before me to bring me favor and to pick out just the right replacement part that would fit and work properly.

He knew what was coming and I trusted that He had already worked it out for me.

Sure enough, the company agreed to give me a replacement part. And sure enough it fit just right and worked perfectly.

We see in scriptures the Lord going before His people and leading them in the way they should go. I rely heavily on Him for His leading. But we must not stop short of seeing all that He is doing on our behalf when we trust Him.

He not only went before Israel, to lead them. He went before them and was taking care of things even before they got there.

I’ve shared this before with at least two people involved in difficult court cases. In both cases after prayer they found that they had favor with the court and things ended up working out to their benefit in the case.

So whether the situations you face are trivial or major, know this. The LORD your God is going before you to lead you and to work things out on your behalf. Simply follow Him and trust Him.

Blessed

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ… (Galatians 3:13-14, KJV)

The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it. (Proverbs 10:22; KJV)

The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12, KJV & Amplified):

Blessed are the poor in spirit (the humble): for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek (the mild, patient, long-suffering), for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful: for they  shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

The beatitudes as taught by our Savior. I noticed something about them yesterday. They seem to me to be the attitude of a person that walks in the love of God. Many of these states are not possible with a heart full of fear. If you are fearful, you will not be merciful. If you are fearful, you will not be able to walk in peace and help others walk in peace. If you are fearful you will not be humble and patient. If your are fearful you will be pressured to thirst after things other than God and His ways of righteousness. If you are fearful, you will not rejoice and be glad when persecuted.

Think about the times you have been full of fear. Did you respond the right way? Were you patient and kind? Or did the pressure and torment that accompanies fear push you to respond out of love?

You see love and love alone can drive fear out of a  heart (1 John 4:18). And a heart that is free from fear, a pure heart full of the love of God, is free to walk in the way Jesus described in the beatitudes. That person that knows and believes he is loved and loves God and loves others is blessed. That person walks in the blessing that is already ours through Jesus Christ.