March 4, 2014
Today's Text of Encouragement:
"And my God will liberally supply, fill to the full, your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus."
"Begin with thanking Him for some little thing, and then go on, day by day, adding to your subject of praise; thus you will find their numbers grow wonderfully; and, in the same proportion, will your subjects of murmuring and complaining diminish, until you see in everything some cause for thanksgiving...It is certain that the more you try to praise, the more you will see how your path and your lying down are beset with mercies, and that the God of love is ever watching to do you good."
Today's Study Text:
"Be confident and determined, and do what the Lord your God orders you to do. Obey all His laws and commands, as written in the Law of Moses."
1 Kings 2:2,3, Good News Bible
"Words of Blessing - Obey God's Word"
"How will you find good? It is not a thing of choices; it is a river that flows from the foot of the invisible throne, and flows by the path of obedience."
What is the first thought that comes to my mind when I hear the word "obedience"?
"Blessed are the obedient, for God will never suffer them to go astray."
"The surest evidence of our love to Christ is obedience to the laws of Christ. Love is the root, obedience is the fruit."
Just before the prophet Moses took his walk alone up to Mt. Pisgah's lofty heights, he stood before the children of Israel and opened his heart with a message of love. For 120 years, from the very day he was born to the day he died, Moses' entire life was intertwined with this group of people who were before him. The fact that his own history had been linked so tightly with people who had, on many occasions, been so ungrateful and thoughtless of Moses' love and care, had to have been in the forefront of the minds of the Israelites as they listened, one last time, to their beloved leader.
While they had not always treated Moses with the appreciative love he deserved, they knew without a doubt, that Moses was a man of God, a man they revered as a guide and mentor.
We find that as Moses laid out for God's children the blessings that were to be theirs as a result of their obedience to God, their leader chose to begin his exhortation with these words:
"If you will listen diligently to the voice of the Lord your God, being watchful to do all His commandments which I command you this day, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you if you heed the voice of the Lord your God."
As I thought about David sitting down with his son, Solomon, and instructing him regarding the essential elements present in a life lived for God, I was reminded that it was Moses' writings that David told Solomon contained God's detailed commands and instructions for a God-filled life. In fact, the words of Moses found in Deuteronomy 28: 1, 2, are some of the same heavenly counsel, which David gave to his own child, right down to the word "heed".
And this brings us to the fourth Essential Element in a God-filled life, which David shared with Solomon. However, since David made it clear to Solomon that he should learn from the commands of God laid out in the writings of Moses, I'd like to point out a connection between three distinct words we find Moses using in his eloquent "sermon" to the children of Israel and also found in the talk David had with his own child.
The three words are heed, observe, and obey. What I found so informative in my own life is that there is a beautiful heavenly link, connecting these words, which when uncovered, enlightened me to what true obedience is all about - the obedience which pours forth from a heart overflowing with love for my heavenly Father.
In Deuteronomy, the Hebrew translation for the word "heed," while meaning "hedge" as we have learned, also means to "quietly observe." I think of this as "thoughtful observation." Then, the word observe means to perceive or watch attentively. And finally, we find David and Moses both instructing their "children" to obey, or as the Hebrew translation states the meaning of obedience is:
to "diligently discern," to "hear intelligently" to "quietly listen," to "attentively understand and consider." This means when I "heed" my Father's voice, I hear intelligently. When I observe what He says, I quietly listen. And when I obey, I act from motives that are attentive and understanding because I have listened and heard, not just with my heart, but also with my mind, and how important this is.
Much too often, obedience is viewed in terms of a legal definition not one based on a relationship I have developed. Especially with my heavenly Father. This is why David, in talking with Solomon about following God's commands, statutes and judgments, also pointed out distinctly that it was the "testimony", the personal knowledge of God, that was critical as Solomon, step-by-step, chose to follow his heavenly Father's will and way. Now possibly you may be wondering why we have taken so much time over the past few days to dig deep in our studies about a seemingly, insignificant conversation between a father and son as the elderly dad was lying on his bed, infirmed and close to the end of his life.
There are two specific reasons:
1. First, the Bible is a book of consistency. How thankful I am for this fact! What we will see in the coming weeks, as the kingdom of Israel falls apart and is divided; as the worship of the God of heaven and earth is tossed aside; and as the greedy hearts of women and men replace the hearts of love for God, the underlying reason, whether in the time of Solomon, Ahab, or Esther is one where the hedge has been trampled. No one heeds anything but what they want. And the commands of God are not obeyed, understood or even listened to. This is why the obedience to God's essential elements in each of our lives is so vital to a God-led life, whether at the time of David or right now in your life and mine.
2. Second, the blessings that we are ALL promised for heeding, following, observing, listening and obeying are so overwhelmingly fantastic that I have asked myself, over and over again, why would I ever choose to walk in my own way and do my own thing?
I want to close the conversation between David and Solomon with this prayer of commitment by Ignatius which is a reflection of a heart, undivided in its love to God: "Teach us, good Lord, to serve Thee as Thou deservest. To give and not to count the cost; to fight and not to heed the wounds; to toil and not seek for rest; to labor and not to ask for any reward save that of knowing that we do Thy will."
"Obedience to God is the most infallible evidence of sincere and supreme love to Him."
"O Lord Jesus,
let not Your word become a judgment upon us,
lest we hear it and do not do it,
or believe it and do not obey it."
Thomas á Kempis
"When we walk with the Lord
In the light of His word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will,
He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey."
J. H. Sammis
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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