The Pryor Times


October 4, 2012

True obedience is complete obedience

On The Go

There are many people today who consider themselves obedient, when in reality they are not.  Oh, they do some of the things they are commanded to do, but not all of them.  If they agree that they should do it, and it doesn’t bring hardship on them, they will obey.  But what about the times they are commanded to do things they don’t think they necessarily need to do?  Many make the mistake King Saul made in I Samuel 15.

God commanded Saul to utterly destroy the Amalekites, including men, women, children, and all the animals.  Saul attacked the Amalekites and soundly defeated them, but their king, Agag, was spared, as were the best of the animals.

King Saul declared in I Samuel 15:13, “I have performed the commandment of the Lord.”  But claiming to obey God is not the same as obeying God.  Talk is cheap, and it is meaningless if it is not backed up by actions.  I John 5:3 says, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.  And His commandments are not burdensome.”

Samuel responded to Saul’s claim of obedience by asking in I Samuel 15:14, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?”  If Saul had obeyed God, all the animals would have been killed.

Jesus condemns those who claim to honor Him but who do not obey Him.  He says in Matthew 15:8, “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.”  To all such individuals, He asks “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?”

King Saul did part of what God commanded, but partial obedience is not true obedience. Saul attacked the Amalekites and defeated them because he was in favor of doing those things.  But he was not in favor of killing Agag and the best of the animals, so he did not do those things.  God told Samuel that He regretted making Saul king because he did not perform His commandments.  Samuel asked Saul in verse 19, “Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord?”  Saul finally admitted that he sinned and disobeyed God because he feared the people and obeyed their voice (verse 24).

Before we condemn Saul for obeying the people rather than obeying God, we need to ask ourselves if we are guilty of doing the same thing.  Do we listen to people rather than hearing what God wants us to do?  Do we want to follow the crowd?  Do we seek the most popular religion?  Do we just do whatever our preacher tells us to do?

Jesus warns in Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.  Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”  When God destroyed the earth with a flood in the days of Noah, only a few, that is, eight souls were saved (I Peter 3:20).  And out of more than 603,000 men who left Egypt, only Joshua and Caleb were allowed to enter the Promised Land.

Saul tried to excuse his disobedience by explaining that there was a worthy objective.  He said that the animals were saved in order to sacrifice them to God.  Samuel responded in I Samuel 15:22, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord?  Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.”  

God does not accept excuses for disobedience.  Remember the words of Solomon in Ecclesiastes 12:13, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man's all.”  True obedience is complete obedience.

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