When you think of the law, what comes to your mind? Is it a picture of a judge who presides over a court ruling? Do you think of a police officer who holds the responsibility of protecting citizens from harm? If you thought of these two figures of authority, then you have the correct view in terms of what represents law and order. However, within a system of law that is working properly, there must be an element of obedience. What does obedience encompass concerning law?
For laws to establish order and for such laws to be effective, they must be followed. Laws are put into place in order to create a system of orderly conduct, and to avoid chaos. A nation without laws is a nation that operates in lawlessness which leads to an existence of negative consequences. In a society that is governed by law, most do not actively disobey to the point of being arrested because they understand that laws are put into place to protect their well being.
While laws that were instituted by humans were designed for our protection, God has also established a standard and His own set of laws that are to protect us. An example of what disobedience looks like can be found in 1 Samuel 15. Samuel was called at an early age to be a Prophet to the nations. In this chapter, Samuel tells King Saul (Saul was anointed to be King over Israel) to completely destroy a group of people called the “Amalekites”. The Amalekites were a nation of sinful and wicked people, who God had given King Saul the order of destroying for their assault against Israel.
In verse 3 it says:
(NIV) “Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.”
So King Saul begins by destroying the Amalekites in verse 7 while also taking Agag (King of the Amalekites) alive. However, notice what it says in verse 9:
(NIV) “But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs—everything that was good. These they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed.”
It was God’s original order to Saul in verse 3, that Saul kill everyone and everything leaving virtually nothing behind. But as we see in verse 9, King Saul, and his men take what is good which are the sheep, cattle, fat calves and lambs. Essentially, by taking what was left, Saul was acting in disobedience to what God had said. In verses 16 – 22, Samuel begins an exchange with Saul when he tells him of God’s displeasure. Basically, in these verses Saul attempts to justify his disobedience. In verse 21, Saul uses the justification that his men took the animals left behind so that they could use them as burnt offerings unto the Lord.
However, even with that justification, Saul acted in disobedience. So, Samuel gives Saul the final word of judgment in verses 22-23.
(NIV) “But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.”
In the end, King Saul was removed as King over Israel for his disobedience. Saul believed that what he was doing was right in his own eyes, but he chose to defy what God had given him to do. As a result, his kingship was over. Often times we in our own lives, live in disobedience unto God. Whenever we are blatantly sinful and reject the warnings and words of God, there are consequences.
Just as Saul experienced his dethronement, we too are open to God’s judgment if we disobey. By nature, humanity is prideful because of being born into sin. So, naturally we are inclined to reject the authority of God in our sinfulness. However, when we do so, we are open to God’s judgment and to negative consequences.
We are living in a global society that promotes secular humanism and living as you see fit. However, Proverbs 3:7 says not to be wise in your own eyes but to shun evil. The reason is because when we live under our own guidance apart from God’s, we will always suffer the consequences. We are seeing a society all around us that is degenerating because of the sin that is being promoted.
Sinfulness is active disobedience unto God, and it is the very sin that God will not stand for. God is a Holy God and it is His will that we follow after His ways and not our own. Those who are secular humanists try to institute the very idea that obedience unto God isn’t necessary nor is it best for humanity. That is because secular humanists shun accountability which means that one can do what they feel is the right thing to do without consequence.
However, God shows us daily and throughout scripture that any person or nation that openly or privately defies God will pay a heavy price. Obedience to God is paramount to the success and stability of our lives because He puts His standards into place for our protection. Why is it that premarital sex or fornication as scripture says, is something to flee from according to 1 Corinthian 6:18? Engaging in fornication causes various illnesses, in addition to tying the souls of two individuals because of how sex is a covenant. It causes not only physical damage but also emotional damage which is why Paul says to flee from sexual immorality.
Why is it that God instituted the commandments of “thou shalt not kill” and “thou shalt not steal”? Simply because, engaging in either of these acts is sure to create negative consequences. The other reason is because the root of stealing and even killing is based out of sinfulness which is against what God desires for each of our lives. The point is that God desires that we live in obedience unto Him, because He knows the negative consequences that can occur if we do not follow what He has said. The other reason is because obedience shows our love for God.
John 15:10 says, (NLT) “When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.” Basically, when you follow God in obedience you are proving your allegiance and love for Him. This is how you know that your devotion to God is authentic – when you walk in obedience. The first step to obedience is to surrender your life to Christ. By accepting Christ’s sacrifice in the pardon of your sins, you are a step closer to protection from negative consequences. Obedience is indeed better than sacrificing your well being. Choose Christ, and ensure your protection through obedience to God.