Summary: Cultivate obedience through building intimacy with God. Obedience is a choice we make.
There is no excuse for not knowing God’s Word. Moses had spent the last 40 years teaching them what God has revealed.
• If ever they strayed from God’s path, it would not be for a lack of knowledge. It would be a choice they made.
Moses gave voice to the possible excuses the people might have:
• “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” (30:12)
• “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” (30:13)
• Both sounded logical considering the fact that Moses, the PROCLAIMER of God’s truth, is about to leave them.
NO, Moses says. The Word has already been given. “It is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart”.
• God’s will has been fully revealed to Israel. He has spoken.
• The issue now is not for a lack of revelation. It is a call for obedience.
It is “not too difficult” nor is it “beyond your reach”. It is not incomprehensible and it is not unattainable.
• They are not plausible excuses. It will not be an issue of aptitude but attitude.
• Obedience is possible but are you WILLING? That’s the big question.
Moses emphasizes this frequently: “… with all your heart and with all your soul”.
• Seek the Lord with all your heart and with all your soul. Deut 6:5 “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”
• He is right. It is about WILLINGNESS, the attitude of our heart towards God.
If we are honest, the main problem for Israel and for us today, when it comes to obedience to God, is not ignorance, it is defiance. Are we prepared to?
• The issue is not “What does God want me to do?” but, “Am I willing to do what God wants me to do?”
• So how do I cultivate that WILLINGNESS to obey God?
CULTIVATE OBEDIENCE THROUGH INTIMACY WITH GOD
Obedience flows from a relationship. I would listen to a good friend, but most likely not a stranger. I obey the one I trust and respect, not someone I know nothing about.
• In the first place, God did not give us a set of commands to obey because we are believers. That’s dead religion.
• It is all about a relationship. God wants us to enjoy a relationship with Him and therefore life to its fullest.
• We obey Him because we know He has His best thoughts for us. Obedience stems from a relationship. Communion is the key!
There is a famous painting called THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD (1851-3) by William Holman Hunt, depicting Jesus standing outside a door. It is based on Rev 3:20 “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” Jesus is preparing to knock on an overgrown and long-unopened door.
According to Hunt: “I painted the picture (with what I thought to be) by God’s command and not simply as a good subject. The door in the painting has no handle, and can therefore be opened only from the inside, representing the obstinately shut mind.”
What was the context in Revelation 3? Jesus was addressing the church in Laodicea.
• Rev 3:17-18 “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.”
• They have gotten so self-sufficient that they felt no need for God. They was no communion. They were missing out on God’s best and they were ignorant of it.
Cultivate obedience through building intimacy with God. How?
Build on these 4 areas: TIME, TALK, THINK, and TRUST.
1. TIME – make time to be alone with God. It takes time to get to know someone. Guard your quiet time with Him.
2. TALK – you just cannot have a relationship without communication.
3. THINK – think about God’s goodness and His gifts. Every day, there are hundreds of distractions vying for our attention. Train yourself to listen to His voice in the midst of the noises.
4. TRUST – without trust, you don’t need to talk about obedience. Trust comes from knowing God more.
Paul says, “… I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.” (Phil 3:8)