Courtesy of freedigitalphotos.netThose words exited my mother's mouth as she watched me near the street in front of our house. This was many years ago; I was perhaps four years old. The rule was: Never enter or cross the street without an adult holding your hand. In this moment, I was feeling bold. I approached the street, regardless of my mother's verbal warnings...
...and I got punished for my disobedience.
Has this been you, at points in your life? Obedience does not seem to come naturally (thank you, Adam and Eve). And it sure seems to hold weighty consequences--both positive and negative. Well, in chapter four of Deuteronomy, Moses has a strong Word to the Israelites on obedience. I think we would do well to listen.
Read the entire chapter here.
A wise point from this passage: your obedience matters. Your obedience is key to unlocking a number of treasures. That's not to say that the results are the point; your obedience, itself, is the point. Your obedience demonstrates how you relate to the God of the universe. It is the undercurrent of your thoughts and actions (Matthew 6:21).
Moses gives us three reasons why obedience is vital (more if you keep reading Deuteronomy 4):
ONE: Obedience is directly related to our success. Moses says, "Obey [God's commands] so that you may live, so that you may enter and occupy the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, is giving you." God's definition of success means becoming more like Himself--showing up everyday to the tasks He gives us to complete. His benefits may also include "occupying a land" He gives us. Our obedience to His heart is crucial for our ultimate success.
TWO: Obedience endows moral authority. "Obey [my commands] completely, and you will display your wisdom and intelligence among the surrounding nations...they will exclaim, ‘How wise and prudent are the people of this great nation!’" When we obey the Lord's heart for our lives, we learn wisdom and prudence. Through obedience, we earn the trust of others, as they observe our faithfulness to God. Our walk matches our talk.
THREE: Obedience reminds us to fear God. “But watch out! Be careful never to forget what you yourself have seen. Do not let these memories escape from your mind as long as you live! And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren." When we recall our past by remembering how God saved us from the pit, we are humbled anew by our weakness. God's strength prevails, reminding us that He truly is the awesome One, worthy of praise and remembering. When we obey by remembering, we newly rely on His strength and awesomeness.
How else is obedience crucial to our faith walk? How has God shown Himself to you through His commands?