Sunday, April 27, 2008

Verse of the week -- I Samuel 15:22

Obedience has become a hot topic in our household recently. What does obedience look like? Why should we obey? What happens after disobedience? What type of attitude does obedience require? In the process of discussing these many questions I have often turned them back on myself and challenged the level of my own obedience to the Lord. True obedience shows a respect, trust, submission to, and a relationship with the one we obey.

As He often does, God has continued to give me a workout on this topic and brings it up in a variety of settings and situations throughout my day. He constantly pricks my thinking in this regard. Bible time with the kids, my own quiet times, radio, preachers, random conversations. He just keeps talking. And I continue to listen, and realize just how much I still have to learn about what I had classified as a childish topic.

The people of Israel followed Moses out of Egypt with little knowledge or expectation of what the road ahead looked like. Of course, "the grass is always greener" fit their thinking quite well. Many times while following God's leading they complained. "Remember Egypt? The land of milk and honey, cucumbers and onions, the land of plenty. We had it so good! And, now we have nothing!" Umm, slavery. Remember? You were slaves, held there against your will, pursued when you did leave, forced into hard labor,your babies put to death. Oh yeah, how could anything compare to the bounty of those days?!? It is so easy to look at that and scoff, and yet I realize that I do the same thing.

I started thinking, what are my 'Egypts'? What prior season in my life do I recall with irrational blessings? What future season do I glorify? The negatives that may surround me at the moment seem so glaring, surely nothing could be or has been this bad, right? The magical memories of the past and the distant dreams of the future glimmer with a golden hue.
Remember those days, when I had time for . . .?
Or, think about when I will be able to . . .

So easy to fill in those blanks with things that may never happen, or may have looked very different in the reality of the present. On the outside, Israel looked obedient. The followed. They packed up at a moments notice and went wherever the fire or cloud led them. And still, they grumbled. God gave them food every day, God revealed His law to them and began to teach them what following Him really looked like. What an exciting time to be a part of the nation of Israel. Yet, God had to judge them time and again for their grumbling and lack of true obedience.

How often in my own life do I look like I am obedient, but God sees a different attitude in my heart? It is comparatively easy to go to church, read my Bible, pray, teach my children about Him, even give my money for His glory, rather than to humbly obey His way and respond to His constant teaching and convicting in my life. I Samuel 15:22 says, "
Samuel said, "Has the LORD as much 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."

Whether my current season in life offers more blessings or more challenges than other times in my life is irrelevant. Regardless of circumstance, I must obey. With a heart of gratitude and joy for His salvation, appreciation and recognition of His current blessings, a quickness to hear and respond to Him. Obedience isn't always easy, but it is required.

"Samuel said, "Has the LORD as much 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."

~I Samuel 15:22~

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