To Obey

Pastor Ed Young - Lead Pastor of Fellowship Church
Ed Young

March 11, 2024

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To Obey

Read

1 Samuel 15:20-22 “‘But I did obey the Lord,’ Saul said. ‘I went on the mission the Lord assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king. The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the Lord your God at Gilgal.’ But Samuel replied: ‘Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.’”

Think

A young man, hailing from the middle of the back woods, found himself in the bustling halls of a university, facing a list of daunting medical terms. With pen in hand, he embarked on the task of defining each word as best he could.

“Vein,” he mused, recalling encounters with conceited individuals back home. “Conceited,” he scribbled beside it, chuckling at the similarity in sound. “Varicose,” he pondered, thinking of things nearby or adjacent. “Nearby,” he jotted down, amused at his own interpretation. “Dilate,” he pondered further, remembering the wisdom of his grandmother, who always wished others a long, peaceful life. “To live long,” he wrote with a smile, imagining her nod of approval. “Bacteria,” he paused, envisioning the chaos behind the scenes of a cafeteria. “Back door of a cafeteria,” he chuckled, satisfied with his creative take on the term. “Node,” he murmured, recalling moments of being acutely aware of his surroundings. “Was aware of,” he concluded, nodding to himself as he finished his list.

We can laugh at the unconventional – and definitely wrong – definitions. But just as this man had adapted these medical terms to fit his own understanding, so too can we sometimes adapt our understanding of God’s commands to suit our own desires. How often do we redefine obedience to align with our convenience? Do we truly follow God’s commands as they are, or do we subtly modify them to better suit our needs?

King Saul serves as a reminder. Despite his blatant disobedience, he claimed innocence and attempted to cover his tracks with acts of worship and sacrifice. Yet true obedience lies not in such gestures but in wholeheartedly following God’s commands without alteration. When we claim to be Christians, when we declare ourselves as Christ-followers, we are called to follow his definitions and his standards without compromise. That is the essence of obedience – unwavering allegiance to his commands, unadulterated by our own desires or whims.

We can’t be like the country boy from the woods, playfully redefining words to suit our fancy. Instead, let us humbly submit to our Creator, embracing his definitions wholeheartedly and doing exactly what he says to do.

Apply

Acknowledge specific areas where obedience may pose a challenge. Whether it’s in relationships, work, or personal habits, recognize these areas and commit them to God in prayer.

Pray

Jesus, I acknowledge that my human tendency is to redefine and altar your commands to suit my desires. Help me to recognize and repent of any areas where I have substituted your truth with my own flawed interpretation. Open my heart and mind to receive your divine wisdom and insight from your Word. Empower me to walk in obedience to your truths. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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