Importance of Obedience
How does God regard obedience to His word?
"Hath 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 hearken than the fat of rams." 1 Samuel 15:22.
To what are rebellion and stubbornness likened?
"For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry." 1 Samuel 1:23.
What excuse did Saul make for his disobedience?
"I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and thy words; because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice." 1 Samuel 15:24.
NOTE: The fear of the people is the great hindrance now to obeying the voice of God. Men know better than they do. It will be said to such by and by, as it was said to Saul, "The Lord hath rejected thee."
How strictly does God require His commandments to be kept?
"Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish aught from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you." Deuteronomy 4:2.
Who was sent from Judah to Bethel with a message from God?
"And, behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the word of the Lord unto Bethel: and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense." 1 Kings 13:1.
What did king Jeroboam invite the man to do?
"And the king said unto the man of God, Come home with me, and refresh thyself, and I will give thee a reward." 1 Kings 13:7.
What reply did he return to the king?
"If thou wilt give me half thine house, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place; for so was it charged me by the word of the Lord." 1 Kings 13:8, 9.
Who also dwelt at Bethel?
"Now there dwelt an old prophet in Bethel." 1 Kings 13:11.
What did this old prophet say to the man of God?
"Then he said unto. him, Come home with me, and eat bread." 1 Kings 13:15.
After hearing his refusal, and the reason for it, what did he say to the man of God?
"He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the Lord, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water, But he lied unto him." 1 Kings 13:18.
What effect did this persuasive statement have upon him?
"So he went back with him, and did eat bread in his house, and drank water." 1 Kings 13:19.
What was the result of his yielding to the lying importunities of the prophet?
"Thus saith the Lord, Forasmuch as thou has disobeyed the mouth of the Lord, and hast not kept the commandment which the Lord thy God commanded thee, but camest back, and hast eaten bread and drunk water in the place of the which the Lord did say to thee, Eat no bread, and drink no water; thy carcass shall not come unto the sepulcher of thy fathers." 1 Kings 13:21, 22.
NOTE: The history of this man shows how unsafe it is to trust the counsel of those who speak contrary to the express command of God, even though they may affirm that an angel from heaven has spoken to them. God gives His word so plainly that no one need mistake.
Where was the priest to obtain the fire with which he offered incense in the sanctuary?
"And he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the Lord." Lev. 16:12.
What two priests ventured to disobey this instruction?
"And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which He commanded them not." Lev. 10:1.
And what came of their disobedience?
"And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord." Lev. 10:2.
NOTE: Should such a matter, trivial though it might seem, be left unpunished, in a little time strange fire would be the rule instead of the exception, and finally the worship of God would be entirely changed, so that God Himself would not be recognized. Those priests might have reasoned as some do now concerning God's commandments: "What difference will it make whether I carry out the strict letter of the word, or not, as long as I am honest?" But one is not strictly honest who, knowing what God has said on a certain point, chooses to do differently from what the commandment enjoins, no matter how much he may try to believe himself honest. God demands implicit obedience to all His commandments.
For what purpose were these Old Testament examples written?
"Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." 1 Cor. 10:11.
In view of these examples, what ought all to do?
"But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." James 1:22.
Who only will enter the kingdom of heaven?
"Not everyone that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven." Matt. 7:21.
To whom does Christ liken the man who obeys the word of God?
"I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock; and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock." Matt. 7:24, 25.
To whom does He liken him who hears, but does not obey?
"And everyone that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand, and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell, and great was the fall of it." Matt. 7:26, 27.
NOTE. - How important it is that one should obey even what may seem to him a small or unimportant command of God! Be sure that God does not say one thing and mean another. A large part of the world transgress, each week, the fourth commandment. But how can such meet their record in the judgment when the precept reads so plainly, "The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord?"