Summary: Disobedience is an issue of misplaced trust and miguided "truth". Obedience is a matter of the heart and flows from a heart of trust and love. Build your trust in God and grow your love for God.
Why do we disobey? Have you thought about that?
• Think for a moment the last time you disobeyed someone, your parents, your superior. Why did you do that? What causes it?
• It couldn’t be nothing. There is always something that triggers our disobedience.
God has given clear instructions to His people, not just spoken but written down.
• We’ve come to Leviticus 26 where God expresses in His clearest terms the ways to blessings and the consequences of disobeying Him.
• NIV puts it as the reward for obedience and the punishment for disobedience.
Let’s read it in Leviticus 26:1-13. It sounds like a parent speaking to his children.
Sadly, history tells us the people of Israel eventually disobeyed God. They did exactly what the Lord tells them not to do.
• It is clearly not for a lack of knowledge; not because they are ignorant.
• God’s promises were very clear – they will enjoy prosperity (abundance in the land), peace (within and without), and His presence.
• Instead, the people got themselves into idolatry and consequently we read of many unrest and sufferings.
The nation was eventually destroyed and the people taken away captives. God prophesied that in verse 34. The land becomes desolate.
• They experience fear and afflictions. God says 3 times they are running even “when no one is pursuing them” (26:17, 36, 37).
• This fear has nothing to do with the surrounding; it is from within. There is unrest without God’s presence.
• True security is the result of God’s presence, not not the product of the circumstances!
• If you are afraid of some things, don’t run away; RUN TO GOD. Get back into God’s presence and you will be safe. Pray and worship God.
If it isn’t the lack of knowledge or ignorance, then why are they not obeying? Notice this line that God repeats many times:
• 26:14 “If you will not listen to me… and if you reject my decrees and abhor my laws…”
• 26:18 “If after all this you will not listen to me…”
• 26:21 “If you remain hostile toward me and refuse to listen to me…”
• 26:23 “If in spite of these things you do not accept my correction but continue to be hostile toward me…”
• 26:27 “If in spite of this you still do not listen to me but continue to be hostile toward me…”
It is always an IF because God will not force us into obedience. That’s not His way.
• He lays the cards out and let you choose. He set out the truth and let you make the choice.
So why did they disobey God? It’s not a lack of knowledge; it’s a lack of faith.
1. Disobedience is an issue of MISPLACED TRUST
The way around it is to BUILD YOUR TRUST in God.
Author of Hebrews sums it up this way - Hebrews 3:15-19
15As has just been said: "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion." 16Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? 18And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.
We just cannot fully trust God. There must be some other options and better ways, and God is not telling us.
• Near the end of their history, by the time the Assyrian army comes against them, Israel had already deserted God.
• Isaiah 31:1 “Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the great strength of their horsemen, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel, or seek help from the LORD.”
• Isaiah 31:3 “But the Egyptians are men and not God; their horses are flesh and not spirit.”
We listen to the person we trust. It’s as simple as that.
• We want to get a second opinion for anything that we are not sure about. If we cannot fully trust the doctor or the lawyer, that’s what we do.
We all believe in something. There is no middle ground.
• If I am not trusting God, I am trusting something else, most likely, myself.
• So where is your trust today? Or who is your trust today?
Disobedience is the matter of the HEART before it is a matter of our behaviour.
• We cannot focus on behaviour to get obedience. We cannot focus on the externals to arrive at obedience.