Summary: This message focuses on the importance of obedience.
Choosing To Obey
In my previous messages the last two weeks I have shared some thoughts with you pertaining to the situations that are occurring across our nation as a results of grand juries choosing not to indict officers for the deaths of several young black men. As I mentioned last week, we have seen laws broken because of individuals choosing to destroy the property of others in their outrage. I told that as a Christian this was not something that we have the right to do. There is a different between disobeying an unrighteous law versus obeying the laws designed to keep everyone safe. I want to address the subject of obeying. Although some of this might be difficult to hear, if we teach our children this one response, it could potentially save their lives and the lives of others down the road. This morning I will approach this from the spiritual perspective because for us as Christians, if we can consistently yield to the Spirit of God we can keep our flesh under some control. Remember, it is that flesh part of us that causes us to really act on impulses in stressful situations. This morning, I want to approach this from a sense of what can be lost when there is disobedience in the equation. Before I go into the heart of the message, I want to review with you the definition of obey. The word means to “follow the commands or guidance of; to conform to or comply with.” Keep this definition in mind as I will circle back to this when I close. Let’s begin with a reflection on Saul who lost his kingdom due to his disobedience in attitude and action.
In First Samuel chapter fifteen the prophet Samuel received a message from God that Saul had disobeyed Him and that He (God) was regretting placing him as king. Samuel grieved for Saul all that night and rose early the next morning to go and meet with Saul to discuss his actions and to carry out what God had originally commanded. God had told Saul to destroy the Amalekites because many years before King Amalek came against the Children of Israel when God brought them out of Egypt (Exodus 17:8-16). Saul did not do as God had commanded and chose to allow the king to live and some of the best of the sheep and oxen to be sacrificed to God. Samuel told Saul the following in 1 Samuel 15:22 “….Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.” Furthermore in verse twenty-three Samuel said “For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry.” Samuel told Saul that because he had rejected God, God had rejected him. Saul’s outward disobedience was a reflection of what was on the inside of him. He had started down the road of rejecting God and this final act was a confirmation of his full rejection. Whenever there is disobedience in the equation, it starts internally. There is a thought process that says “I am not going to do what I am being told to do!” This though process often does not include what the potential outcome could be – in this case, the loss of his kingdom and eventually his life. Samuel told Saul that rebellion was as the sin of divination and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. In other words, being disobedient carries a penalty, regardless of how people today try and tell us that sin is no longer an issue because of grace and our loving God. I have dealt with the issue of sin and how we are being lulled to sleep in our attitude towards it. We have made it so that sin is no longer an issue because everyone does it and no one seems to be concerned about hell. Likewise we have made the issue of being obedient non-important. We have given our children the right to be disrespectful in our homes because they have rights. Some parents allow their kids to do and say anything they want to them. In these situations, why would we think our children would act any differently outside the home? Let me continue before I get on another soap box. Let’s examine the first rebellion which has led to all other rebellions throughout history – Lucifer’s rebellion against God.
I. Lucifer’s Rebellion
When Lucifer persuaded one third of the angels in heaven to take a position against God, he was cast out of heaven. In Revelations 12:4 the angels are called “the stars of heaven.” What did he do to warrant such severe punishment? He was cast out of the place where eternal life dwelled because of pride and what it produced in his life – disobedience which led to his full rebellion. (Ezekiel 28:17a) Lucifer’s pride manifested itself in behaviors that have become the hallmarks of his presence today and led to him rebelling against God. As a quick review of what he did, the Bible tells us that: