If you will obey…

Have you thought about being a Christian? Are you a Christian in practice and not just on Sunday morning or Saturday or Wednesday night, depending upon when your church meets for services? God seeks people of faith who will obey His commandments and seek Him in all things. Why do I say this? Because God said so!

He told the Israelites to go into the Promised land and destroy utterly all of the pagan nations and people who lived there. Why? Because God knew that they would entice His people to “check out” their religion and their gods, and they would turn away from Him. Which is exactly what happened. But, before they crossed into that land, Moses gave them a sermon on obedience and the rewards that come with it.

I am not going to print the whole text of it but you can read it here. God told them through Moses that if they would obey Him and keep their belief and their faith in Him, that He would bless them mightily but He also said that if they did not obey, there would be consequences.

If you have ever read the Bible, particularly Exodus and Deuteronomy, you know what happened. They would obey for a time, then they would begin to follow the practices of those around them because they didn’t follow God’s command. It is like watching a child of two or three when you tell them not to do something and you go to leave the room and immediately they move toward the very thing you told them to leave alone. Like the cookie jar or some other treat which tastes so good, but you have told them not to eat more than one.

This happened all through the wilderness and it was the very reason why they had to wander for forty years. They refused to obey God or listen to His wisdom. He had told them that He would drive out the people ahead of them if they would obey Him and they were afraid. Only two men out of the twelve would go into the promised land and they were the ones ready to go because the Lord said that He would be with them and fight for them. They were Caleb and Joshua.

All of the others died in the wilderness from the age of twenty on up except for those two men. Caleb took his land away from those who were there when he was 80 years of age. Joshua led the rest of Israel into battle many times and he was 80 when they crossed the Jordan into the Promised land. After his death, the people forgot about how God had provided for them and they began to follow their own ways of living and to follow the religions of people who were living there, just as God had told them not to do.

Even when Israel demanded a king be placed over them, even the king didn’t obey God when he went up against another ruler. The very first battle that Saul fought after being crowned King, he disobeyed God’s decree. He had been told by the prophet Samuel to wait and he, Samuel, would come and pray for their victory over the Philistines. When Samuel delayed in coming, after seven days Saul put the priest’s ephod on himself and offered burnt offerings to God because his troops were afraid.

It is at this point that God told Samuel to find a King from among the people who had a heart like His. He went to a man named Jesse and chose David and anointed him to be King, but he wasn’t crowned King until after Saul had ruled for a long time.

The point that I am making here is that God requires obedience not sacrifices or outward shows of our loyalty. God doesn’t require a burnt offering but He does require our obedience to Him, but it usually is our pride which causes us to do our own thing and try to serve Him in our own way. If we would just learn from the failures of Israel in the Old Testament we could and would be so much more effective in our lives and in serving God today.

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