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Obedience – Pull Up A Chair

~1 Samuel 15:24 And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.

According to our text, King Saul was more afraid of his own people and what they thought than he was of God.  God was clear on what He told Saul to do but yet Saul decided to only do what was convenient and leave those parts of God’s commands aside because of the conflict he felt it would cause with the people.

Everything in Scripture is there for our benefit – there is something in there for all of us.  (2 Timothy 3:16) Saul didn’t do anything that we haven’t already done ourselves, however. In fact, at times I find myself wondering what people will say if I write about a certain topic.  If I haven’t been in the Word as much as I needed to be, I find myself fretting over what my friends and family will think if I speak against something in which they have different views.  The “key” words in today’s text for me were “I have sinned.” Yep, that’s exactly the root of the problem for me.

I can’t only serve God when it is convenient for me!  Am I a wife and mother only when I feel like it?  Absolutely not!  Then I should not be a Christian only when I feel like it or when everything coincides with it.  When I know the definite will of God, I should be quick to accept it and hold on to it despite what my friends and family think.

The world may be against everything I stand for in God’s Word but I must stand nonetheless!  It is better to obey than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22).  Obedience is the root of our salvation:  we obey the prompting of the Holy Spirit and we get saved.  We obey the Spirit’s still small voice when we sin and repent.  We obey the Word of God when we are taught to stop doing something we are doing.  However, isn’t it the nature of man to make excuses as well as add to the process?  For example, if I fall under conviction over music I’m listening to, do I make the excuse that other Christians are listening to this type of music?  As well, do I try to be overly involved in church ministries at the expense of my walk with God?  God still desires obedience – this has not changed since the time of Saul.  The sacrifices we make “in the name of Jesus” are not acceptable in God’s sight if we are disobeying.  I cannot continue to go against God’s Word but yet teach a Sunday School class.  The latter does not make up for the former! When we know God’s will, nothing we do short of obeying Him is going to be acceptable.  This is where the rubber meets the road for Christian growth.

Lord, help me to be obedient no matter what – help me to heed your Holy Spirit the moment He prompts me!

Have Thine Own Way
Adelaide A. Pollard

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me, I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway!
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me.

~1 Samuel 15:22 And Samuel said, 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.

The religion of my youth was filled with “try too’s” and failures. As much as I tried to be good and not to sin, I failed daily. The guilt was unbearable! Granted, I found myself in the confessional trying to appease my guilt but I always turned around afterwards and repeatedly sinned. Obedience to my “faith” and its teachings was impossible! Why? Because I had not received my new nature. My inner man was not sincerely interested in walking with God or living for Him. I was not willing to repent. I merely wanted to have religion but did not want to practice it with sincerity nor did I desire true repentance. This was no different than the sacrifices offered in Samuel’s day for sin. I was no better than those that the Word is referring to in today’s text! I did my religious duties but was not obedient to the point of salvation nor was I willing to let go of my sinful ways.

This soul is no different than Cain of old whose sacrifice was of his own creation. He chose to disobey God – and the Word tells us that he never repented, even after God confronted him with his sin. God gave him the opportunity to repent, but Cain chose not to do so! Choice – do I obey God or not? Do I repent or not? It’s left up to the individual as God does not force His will on us! So how do you know whether you are practicing religion or not? The Word says that you must repent and believe:

~Mark 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

Simply believing does not do it. The devil’s believe but that does not make them Christians!

James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

Repentance is the key! Repenting means a turning away from the former sinful life and living for God! This is true conversion! Without repentance one will be no better than Cain with his own idea of religion and no obedience! That is why the devils will never enter Heaven! Rebellion thrives when there is no obedience!

Once we desire to repent from our wicked ways and are truly born again of the Spirit of God, our desire will be to obey God and His Word. We will not always be successful and we will be filled with remorse when we do sin. But we will not stay in that sin and will be quick to get back on the path. This daily renewal of the mind, this obedience to God’s Word, is what God wants from us.

~2 Corinthians 4:16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

~Ephesians 4:23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

~Colossians 3:10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

God does not want sacrifice – He wants obedience! Putting obedience to practice daily will change that inner man. He will grow from a tiny mustard seed to a strong tree in his faith! Let your obedience speak for your actions and not the sacrifice of Cain. It is this obedience to repent and believe the Gospel that converts the soul and renews the spirit!

~Mark 12:33 And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.

One cannot put this verse into practice without true conversion. Without obedience, there is no repentance. Without obedience, there is no salvation. Without obedience, one is offering the sacrifices of Cain.

The Catholic Church teaches:

“Holy Mother Church is extremely concerned for the faithful departed. She has decided to intercede for them to the fullest extent in every Mass and abrogates every special privilege in this matter” (Vatican II, The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Apostolic Constitution on the Revision of Indulgences, V, Indulgences not Attached to Things and Places, Norms, 20, p. 87).

“The Church offers the Paschal Sacrifice [the Mass] for the Dead so that … the dead may be helped by the prayers and the living may be consoled by hope” (Vatican II, The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, General Instruction on the Roman Missal, VIII, Masses for the Dead, 335, p. 197).

The Scriptures say:

~Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

There is no hope for the unbeliever after death according the Hebrews 9:27.

~2 Corinthians 5:6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:

~2 Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

God is clear that once we die, we go into His presence. To the unbeliever, presence before God means it is a time of judgment and condemnation. But to the born-again Christian, there is no condemnation at our death. We do not go to purgatory – we do not go anywhere else but Heaven to be with Christ.

~Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

How can sacred tradition and magisterium totally contradict what God’s Word says? Who do you obey?

~Acts 5:29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

Why would a loving God, full of mercy and kindness, keep hidden such an important thing like salvation? Why would He leave His Word to be interpreted by only a few when His Gospel message is open to all? Why would God only allow topics of such importance as salvation and eternal life in the hands of men? Would He not at least record it somewhere in His Word? He has – yet the catholic church is bound and determined to bind its members in chains and place them under a yoke that Christ freed them from!

When in doubt dear catholic reader, open the Word of God and be freed!

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(1 Sam 15:22-23) And Samuel said, 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. (22) For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king. (23)

Here’s a story that I hope will help to understand what God is trying to teach us in these two verses.

It was 4:30 in the afternoon and my son, Adam, came inside after playing on the swing set. The little guy was full of energy and ready for a snack. Since I was going to be serving dinner at 5:00, I told him he could not have a snack.

I went back to preparing dinner. As my back was turned, Adam snuck a cookie out of the cookie jar and made his escape. I guess a “case of the guilts” got the best of him because he came into the kitchen and asked me if he could help me set the table. At first, I didn’t realize what was going on. I was so proud of him that he would volunteer to help his Momma! I gave him the napkins and the cutlery he began his task. I suppose helping Mommy made him feel better about his disobedience because he promptly went to play with his brother afterwards.

When I called everyone to the table to eat, I noticed chocolate around Adam’s mouth. Now I could understand why he had asked to set the table. He was feeling guilty and he figured he could ease his conscience by doing something nice for me.

“Adam,” I asked, “Did you take a cookie from the cookie jar when I told you not to?”

“No, Mommy.” he responded.

“Adam, you are lying to Mommy and God’s Word says this is a sin. Not only did you lie to Mommy but you tried to do a chore to help you to feel better, didn’t you?”

As he bowed his head and squirmed, he responded “Yes, ma’am!”

This was the perfect time to teach my son that obeying is better than trying to do nice things to make up for a sin. So I responded to him, “The Bible says, “To obey is better than sacrifice, Adam. Do you understand what that means?”

As Adam shook his head, I began to tell him what God was teaching us in these Bible verses. I explained to him that the Jews would offer sacrifices over and over so God would forgive their sins. But God said it was better to obey Him right from the start than to offer sacrifices to Him. God is very pleased with you when you read your Bible, when you obey your parents, and when you go to church. But He is more pleased when you obey Him right away. So God would have been more pleased if you would not have taken a cookie and obeyed me than He was when you set the table.

“So, Adam, do you understand why it is better to obey?” I asked.

“Yes, Mommy! It makes God really happy when I obey right away, right?”

“Oh yes, Adam! God loves obedience more than the chores we do.”

Ah, the mind of a child! But are we not all like this? How many “Christians” out there think that if they go to church or work at the soup kitchen, it will out weigh the fact that they lied or cheated on our income taxes? These good deeds are “sacrifices” in the eyes of God. God is pleased with obedience, not with the sacrifices that we think will cover or make up for our sin.

God’s Word is to be obeyed – His will is to be obeyed. It is repeatedly stated so that we can understand. (Act 5:29) Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. It is never right in God’s eyes to change His Word or replace it with what we think is better. No one has the authority to make changes to what God has recorded in the Bible. No one, not even the pope. (Rom 2:11) For there is no respect of persons with God. If it were O.K. for the pope to do so, then this verse is a lie. We know that God cannot lie and what He says goes! He won’t change His Word. (Num 23:19) God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? The catholic church places the pope on an equal basis with God – he is the Vicar of Christ – Christ’s replacement on earth. So the catholic church is teaching that God IS a respecter of persons. But His Word says differently in Rom 2:11. How confusing to the poor dear catholic soul! It is a cruel god who would want his children to be so confused. This cannot be the God of the Bible who is full of mercy!

Our God wants obedience. God is pleased with obedience. In fact, He loves obedience more than the actual sacrifices that we make on a day-to-day basis. After all, if we are obeying God and His Word, are we not placing our all on the altar for Him? Are we not fulfilling His desires? What a blessed hymn that is by Elisha Hoffman:

Would you walk with the Lord,
In the light of His Word,
And have peace and contentment alway?
You must do His sweet will,
To be free from all ill,
On the altar your all you must lay.Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid?
Your heart does the Spirit control
You can only be blest,
And have peace and sweet rest,
As you yield Him your body and soul.

After we accept Christ as our Saviour, we can only grow spiritually by giving up worldly lusts and forsaking sins that lead us away from sweet fellowship with Him. It is this yielding of ourselves (sacrificing ourselves – giving ourselves over to righteousness rather than sin by being obedient to the Word) that gives us peace and sweet rest. When we have sinned, we feel guilty and we feel distanced from the Lord. However, the moment we forsake our sin and confess it, we can move forward with the desire to be obedient to Him. The sacrificing of ourselves is a direct result of obedience to the Word. They go hand-in-hand. When we obey God’s Word, we are yielded to Him and we forsake sin.

But to the unsaved, it is not so. Their sacrifices are actions due to their sin. They disobey God’s Word and sin, then they do sacrifices (good deeds, moral deeds, penance, etc.) to make up for their sin. This is what does not please God – their sin is a result of disobedience to His Word. One can only obey God if one is truly born-again. The Christians’ sacrifices are due to their obedience to the Word of God! Yes, they continue to sin but the born-again believer sins less and less as he grows in the Lord.

To the unsaved, this type of obedience is foolishness. (1 Cor 2:14) But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. To the unsaved person who is a moral person, it is a chore – he has to work at being good because it does not come naturally to him. He works to please God; he sins; he performs ritualistic sacrifices (like going to church or doing a good deeds or penance); he thinks he has been cleansed by this and, thus it goes on and on – a vicious circle.

The Apostle Paul told the Galatians that they had started out well. But they got caught up in the works and strayed from the truth of the Word. In fact, it was a person who led them astray! (Gal 5:7) Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? He also exhorted the Thessalonians that God would take vengeance on those that were not born again and who did not obey the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Furthermore, Paul defines exactly where this Gospel could be found in verse 14 with the words, “this epistle”! Since God desires us to obey His Word, would He not have clearly outlined in His Word the hundreds of teachings that catholicism, mormonism, etc. teach if they were truth? (2 Thess 1:7-8, 14) And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, (7) In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: (8 ) And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. (2 Thess 3:14)

It is way too important a matter to hold people accountable for obedience to something if one does not clearly outline what they are to obey? How can you obey the laws of the highway if there are no posted speed limits? It is the same with the Bible. God would not require us to be obedient to His Word if there were additions and subtractions continuously changing what He meant. That would be cruel. It would leave His children not knowing what direction to go! It would be the same in your own homes if you kept changing the rules for your children to follow or even having different rules for different children, wouldn’t it?

God does have clear guidelines and they do exist today! (Jas 1:5) If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. God promises to give us wisdom as we read His Word so that we can understand it the way He intends it to be understood. It is not the wisdom of man that we are to rely on because man’s heart is wicked. God is no respecter of persons. We are to obey Him, not man. (Jas 3:17) But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. Notice that wisdom comes from God above and that His wisdom is pure! This wisdom from the Word given to us will produce a Christian who is merciful to others, a Christian who displays the fruit of the Spirit and a Christian who is not a hypocrite.

A hypocrite says he’s a “christian” and gets drunk on the weekend yet he goes to church on Sunday acting as if he is the perfect “christian.” The hypocrite says he’s a “christian” yet he compares his spirituality to others and figures he’s better than they are. However, the born-again Christian who lays himself on that altar of sacrifice, is growing in the Word of God, he is producing the fruit of the Spirit in his life and the “world” cannot point a finger of accusation because he does not live the life of a hypocrite. The Book of Proverbs states, (Pro 16:7) When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him. The unsaved can see that there is something different when they are around a born-again believer who is obeying God’s Word and is yielded to Him.

So, where are you today? Are you obeying God and His Word or are you playing the sacrifice game? God’s Word says that disobedience to God’s Word is like the sin of witchcraft! God does not delight in disobedience nor will He wink at it. He gave us His Word to guide us and you are without excuse. In fact, the price is high if you place anyone or anything above God’s Word. Verse 23 says that if you reject God’s Word, He will reject you. This same God is a jealous God (Ex. 20:5) and He will not share His Throne with anyone nor will He allow His Word to be compromised. Is the price of rejection (eternity in hell) worth it? In the wise words of a dear senior saint,

Eternity is too long and hell’s fire too hot to reject being born again.

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One cannot be submissive without obedience – one cannot be obedient without being submissive. They go hand-in-hand, don’t they?

Our children are commanded to obey. We are commanded to obey God. We are commanded to submit ourselves to God. Woman are commanded to submit themselves to their own husbands. We can glean much if we read verses dealing with this topic and applying it to our lives. If we practice true biblical obedience and submission, how can an unsaved husband or disobedient husband to the Word help but see God’s goodness through our actions? If we, as wives, are not obedient and submissive to our husbands, how can we expect our children to be obedient to us? If we’re not practicing what we preach to our children, are we not hypocrites?

But if ye will not obey the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then shall the hand of the LORD be against you, as it was against your fathers. (1Sa 12:15)

When we know that God wants us to do something, yet we don’t do it, we are being disobedient. We are sinning. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. (Jam 4:17) Therefore, if God tells us to submit to our own husbands in all things, and we don’t submit in one little area, are we not sinning?

And Samuel said, 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. (1Sa 15:22) We can play the game of sacrifice all we want, but if we disobey in one area, we are not a delight to the Lord. Let’s say my husband tells me to do something I don’t want to do. Instead I make up for it by going the extra mile in doing other things for him – that is the game of sacrifice rather than obedience. I may have all the warm fuzzy feelings in the world because I did all those extra things for him, but I did not do what he asked me to do.

But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you. (Jer 7:23) When we obey, God says it will be well with us. We will have peace in our homes and foremost in our hearts. Women are emotional creatures. God made us that way. If we are trying to be a yielded vessel to God, we know automatically when we are not doing right. We do not have that peace that our actions are what God wants. We lie to our own selves when we say that we are doing the “right” thing yet we know it is not our husband’s will.

Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. (Col 3:20) Don’t expect your children to obey you if you don’t obey/submit to your husband. Your children do not have to witness your unsubmissive spirit – it will be evident in other ways and you will reap with disobedient children. When your children are disobedient, look inward – examine yourself first. Are you a submissive wife? If you are, then deal with your children accordingly. If you’re not, then deal with yourself accordingly. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. (Gal 6:7)

Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: (Col 3:22) Obedience and submission is such an important lesson for us to learn. Without it, there is chaos. That is the reason the world is in the shape it’s in. We have lost our singleness of heart (purity of heart – separation) and our fear of God. We do not see our disobedience as sin. We think we know better or have more wisdom than our husband. But the Word does not say to submit only when we think it’s right.

Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; (1 Pe 3:1) Why would Peter say this? The “conversation” of a meek and submissive wife speaks volumes to her unsaved or disobedient husband. He does not need the Word. He sees the Word in action by her submission!

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. (Eph 5:22) Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. (Col 3:18 ) Twice Paul commands the wives to submit their own husbands. Take notice and obey. To do otherwise, is sin.

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (Jam 4:7) When we submit ourselves to our husbands, we are submitting to God’s will for our lives – as unto the Lord. God did not create us to rule our homes. No matter if we could do a better job than our husbands can, it is not our place to rule and go against his wishes. We do not have the God-given wisdom and discernment that God gives to men. We were made to nurtur, not lead. We women are emotional and do not base our decisions on logic as a man does. The devil will whisper in our ear and say that we know better but we should not succumb. We are to resist the devil – submit ourselves to God by submitting ourselves to our husbands.

Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband. (Eph 5:33) The word reverence is only ever used in Scriptures as it relates to God, a king, superiors or our husbands. That should tell you something. Noah Webster says reverence means:

…to regard with fear mingled with respect and affection. We reverence superiors for their age, their authority and their virtues. We ought to reverence parents and upright judges and magistrates. We ought to reverence the Supreme Being, his word and his ordinances.

If a woman willingly submits to her husband, she reverences him. She shows him that she gives him the respect he rightly deserves. He should not receive it only when he earns it – his position as husband and head of your home says he deserves reverence. This is God appointed and God commanded. Without this order, there is chaos in the home.

Godly submission, obedience and reverence are our goals in life, ladies. We are to practice, practice, practice! When you go against your husband’s wishes, can you honestly admit that your heart and your home are at peace? Honestly? If you are experiencing strife in your home, look to your heart first and see if you are being the submissive wife God has commanded you to be. Only then will you know for sure. If you’re not, repent and ask forgiveness from God and from your dear husband.

If you are submitting to your husband as unto the Lord, God will give you grace during your trial and will provide for every need you have. He does not forsake us!!!