Why Obedience Matters Today
I’ve been reflecting a lot on true obedience over the last week.
This past Sunday we started a new sermon series at Renew Communities called “It All Matters” and the first sermon was centered around one of my favorite passages — 1 Samuel 15 — where Samuel confronts Saul for opting for religious activities over full obedience to what God had directed him to do.
This morning I was reading through 1 Kings and the life of Solomon and was struck by Solomon’s downfall. You may know that the greatest issue in Solomon’s life was the women he loved (and boy does it seem he loved women), primarily the fact that he married women from other nations that worshiped other gods and ultimately set up places of worship to these gods in Israel where he himself worshiped these gods. It’s so clear in the reading how wrong this activity was but the part that stood out to me this morning was twice at the beginning of 1 Kings 11 God makes it clear that Solomon shouldn’t marry these women and yet he did anyway. You see God’s anger with Solomon in 1 Kings 11.9–10
9 The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. 10 Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods,Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command.
Here we have two of Israel’s first three kings suffering the same fate. Both had turned away from the Lord and the indication wasn’t the health or well-being of the country. It wasn’t that Israel was in a recession or that they had been overtaken by their enemies — in fact it seems that at the moment of God’s greatest frustration with both kings Israel was on top of the world and by default these two kings would have seemed as powerful as they could possibly be.
And this is why obedience matters today.
Both Saul and Solomon were men who were approved by God — God chose them to lead. They were both given favor in the world and both benefited from God’s supernatural interaction with them. They had been granted more than they deserved in riches, power and wisdom early in their leadership and God’s grace and authority had put them in positions they could never have achieved on their own — and somehow they forgot this. They forgot that the way they gained success, authority and power early on was simply by saying yes to God. They forgot that the reason they lead well and people followed was because they themselves were following God first. They forgot and somehow began to believe it was about their wisdom, their power, their authority and in following their own way they end up turning their back on God.
There is never a more important time to say yes to God than today. You will not find a day in the future or a decision you have to make tomorrow that is more crucial for you to act in obedience than the one’s you’re facing today. You may think as you read these things that you’re not really dealing with anything that important today but the decisions you make and how you make them today will set (or continue) you down a road that will determine whether your heart is turned towards God or away from Him in your later years — by then the course will have already been set.
This week I have been reminded that I am where I am (big or small) because God has brought me here. I have what I have (wisdom, influence, finances, relationships) because God has provided them for me. I do what I do because God has shown me grace and given me opportunity and none of that is because of who I am or what I deserve. I am reminded that He is God and I am not and so when I have the opportunity to say yes to God (which is pretty much every moment) I need to do it and not buy the easy lie that I’ve made it this far and so I’ll be just fine trusting my gut and doing what seems right to me.
Originally published at andrewsikora.wordpress.com on November 18, 2014.