What Happened to Obedience? …Hello Hump Day readers, I hope this mid-week devotion gives you encouragement despite the topic! I’m touching on the topic of ‘obedience’ simply because there seems to be less and less of it in our society today. In fact, Al and I see it daily right here in the campground. We ask folks to leash their dogs-they don’t; we ask them to pick up the dog’s poop-they don’t; we ask them to put their trash in the trash cans that are on every site—they don’t, they leave them on the table and the Ravens make a mess; we ask them to NOT jump off cliffs but they do–we now have tabulated 5 serious injuries-broken neck, torn tendons, etc; it is well-known that Army Corp of Engineers campgrounds are alcohol-free, drone-free and gun-free, but they drink, bring their guns and fly their drones anyway (we shoot the drones out of the sky by the way as they screw up our communication from the dam to Los Alamos National Labs!).
So–what is it about obeying that people refuse to do? With permission from pastor/writer Christine Caine, I share her thoughts that are powerful and can make a difference for us all.
The Worth of Obedience by Christine Caine. Then the LORD said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men.” (Joshua 6:2). Notice the past tense of that verse. Jericho hadn’t even been defeated, yet the Lord had already given Joshua and the people of Israel the victory. The real battle wasn’t with the Canaanites in Jericho; it was in the hearts of the Israelites. Would they believe God? Would they obey His word and walk around the walls of Jericho even though it didn’t make sense?” Obedience may not always seem like a fun or reasonable option, but it is ALWAYS worth it. Because as you do what the Word of God says, as you take the risk of being obedient, God is going to be faithful to His promises.”
I think Christine’s thoughts are something we need to really think about. Sadly, the loss of obedience is not only the unbelieving people but it is well-integrated in those who profess faith in God. Like a friend mentioned to me a few weeks ago, “sometimes I wonder what God people are professing their faith in when they do _____!” Yes, we are sinners in need of a Savior and we have that, yet we skirt the obedience God demands and play fast and furious with God’s grace and mercy.
In reading the words of Joshua above, we realize this human-condition isn’t anything new! One would think we would learn from our disobedience, but it’s so easy to slip back into old ways–we often don’t even realize what we’ve done! None of us are free from the problem, but all of us have a solution: the forgiveness and mercy of Christ our Lord. The Lord forgives, and forgives and…yes, over and over again, 70 times 7 as Jesus told Peter. But my question is “O Lord, don’t you get tired of us?” The only answer I get is “I love you, you are my child.”
And it is that love that should wake us up and realize that obedience to God is not a task, but a joy to serve God who has given us everything. Perhaps if we look at obedience that way it might take the “sting” out of what we want to do knowing it’s wrong and realize what we are missing! And what are we missing—a plethora of blessings beyond anything we could even think or imagine!!
One of the cliff-jumpers will be walking with a big-limp for the rest of his life. He is only 11 and had aspirations for becoming an MLB baseball pitcher. His disobedience destroyed that as a lot of his tendon had to be removed so he could never push forward to put out a fast ball, let alone a lopper. It’s an awful way to learn at that age and it is a life-changing mistake.
We’ve all done dumb stuff and most of us have regretted it in many ways. God forgives but often that act of disobedience plays itself over and over in our brains and emotions—“why did I do that?” The redeeming part of all of our stories of disobedience is that we have a God who not only forgives but, in his words, says, “As far as the east is from the west I have removed your sin and remember it no more.” Ahhh…is that a relief or what?!!
If we want to do better with obedience we can remember the ramifications of what our times of disobedience have cost us, but re-hashing that sometimes creates more anger and anxiety. I like what Christine Cain says, “you do what the Word of God says, as you take the risk of being obedient, God is going to be faithful to His promises.”
Living with the knowledge that our God is always faithful and never breaks his promises is the hope we cling to and the wisdom we need to end our ways of disobedience and enjoy our lives living in obedience to our loving God. Like my nephew would say, “Aunt Cyndy, it isn’t rocket-science” and he’s right, it isn’t, it is doing what is right in God’s plan for us and it is life-changing every day—for the better, not the worst, AMEN.