The scriptures call for obedience in daily living
QUESTION: Can you discuss the importance of obedience from the scriptures. As I look at the world of religion about me, I see the various rules that each denomination enforces. If they are all right in their contradictory assertions, then we are all lost because no one can follow each set of rules, because they themselves are contradictory.
ANSWER: Thank you for the question.
Most people are what I would classify as ordinary people. Each of us are living in a world of sin striving to be the best we can be. We are ordinary people, each one not much different from the other. Most of us were not born wealthy and have never held a local, let alone a national public office. Most have a high school education but most of us do not have a college degree of any sort. We are just people like many other people in this world. One common thread that is always evident in the lives of ordinary men of the scriptures is their willingness to submit in obedience to God.
Obedience is a particularly important topic when it comes to religion. The Old Testament is filled with sad examples of ordinary people who disobeyed God and paid the price. Yet, the Old Testament is also filled with wonderful examples of obedience. One such lesson of obedience is seen in the story of Gideon. What we learn from lessons like the one about Gideon is that God can take ordinary people who decide to obey Him and make them champions in the world; He does so by using them in His kingdom for God’s own honor and glory.
If we study the book of Joshua, we find that as long as Joshua was living and for quite some time following his death, the Hebrew people obeyed God. They had seen the wonderful promises of God fulfilled and the terrible swift punishment of God towards those that opposed Him in disobedience. We learn in Judges 17:6, that at this time people were doing what was right in their own eyes. This was a period of religious digression that was expressing itself in disobedience to God’s will.
Throughout the book of Judges, we find no less than seven rounds of (sin, oppression, repentance, and deliverance). The people would enter into apostacy and soon found themselves in terrible situations of oppression and domination by the other nations about them. At these points in their history as they pleaded for God’s deliverance, God would raise up judges to protect, defend and lead the Children of Israel back to God. On one such occasion as the people of God were oppressed by the Midianites, God raised up a judge by the name of Gideon.
Gideon is an ordinary man (Judges 6:11) and was rather reluctant to accept God’s challenge (Judges 6:15). But as God had called others in the past, (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, and Sarah), now it was time for God to call Gideon into service (Judges 6:11-16).
Throughout this story Gideon is tested and is proven to be God’s man. Gideon stood up to the enemies of God, including his own family, and tore down the altar of Baal. Throughout his life it is easy to see the providential care God extends to His leader (Gideon). In every incident Gideon realizes that with God all things are possible regardless of how dire mankind may think the situation is (Judges 6 & 7). With no more than 300 men of war, Gideon is given a victory over the Midianites by God.
In the strange but true case of Gideon, the main factor in his success was his willingness to yield to God’s commands no matter how frivolous they may have seemed, no matter how difficult they may have appeared. Gideon was willing to place his trust in God as evidenced by first his obedience and second his success. Regardless of the age in which we live, if we are obedient to God’s plan for that age, we will be successful. When men, no matter how ordinary, enact the plan of God and follow it completely the victory is at hand.
Keep in mind that victory in the eyes of mankind may differ greatly from that of God’s view of victory. No pollster would have ever given Gideon and his 300 men a chance for victory. It may have appeared that the Midianite army of thousands would have obliterated God’s people. However, victory was obtained when God’s people obediently follow Him. We can do no less today. We must place our trust in God and His commands regarding our salvation by Hearing God, Believing in Jesus, Repenting of our sins, and being Immersed with Christ for the remission of our sins. We must hear God’s commands when it comes to the worship we offer Him, and then we must be obedient to God in our daily living.
(Questions/Answers is provided by Tony Hoss, minister of Centerview Church of Christ, Elizabethton.)