SELECTIVE OBEDIENCE
Saturday, June 17, 2017
  Nehemiah 7-9 | Acts 3

“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices ?as much as in obeying the Lord?” ?—I Samuel 15:22

The above verse is the Prophet Samuel’s response to King Saul after he had disobeyed the Lord’s instructions. He was told to totally destroy the Amalekites and everything that belonged to them, including all sheep and cattle, but he saved the Amalekite king and the best of their animals for sacrifice to God. He reasoned to Samuel, “But I did obey the LORD… I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king”?(1 Samuel 15:20). For the reign of King Saul, this was the beginning of the end.

Generally speaking, Saul did what God had told him to, but with exceptions. This is where many of us make the same mistake in the more subtle areas that we do not consider sin. We can move in the general direction of God, but with certain things we think are too good to give up. We can be sure if we retain what God has condemned it will come back to haunt us. Critically wounded in battle against the Philistines at Mount Gilboa, Saul fell on his sword, taking his own life, but ironically it was an Amalekite who claimed to have killed him.

We may have a history of God’s working in our lives, but lose that blessing if we partake in selective obedience. As Saul did, we will come up with compromises by rationalizing that we can somehow use what sin we retain for God’s purpose. That may be convincing to some, but it is a con, because what God condemns is to be condemned. Engaging in the smaller areas of disobedience such as pilfering at work or use of profanity very subtly creates barriers that detach us from God. This is clearly seen when Saul said to Samuel, “…in order to sacrifice them to the LORD your God…” (Samuel 15:21). God chose Saul, anointed and empowered him, but Saul now says, “your God.” and not “our God.” He had already become detached from God.

We cannot reprieve what God has condemned, nor can we compromise, bargain or negotiate our obedience to God. Neither can we exercise any veto over the will of God without endangering our walk with Him. Engage in selective obedience in the smaller areas, and it will spill over to the larger areas. If we really mean business with God, we have to be merciless toward sin and self-indulgence. That is why we are to confess our sin and bring it to the foot of the cross where we meet with Jesus, and draw on His Spirit in helping us to remove anything contrary to the will of God. What God requires of us first are not sacrifices or good intentions, but our obedience.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I ask for Your strength in overcoming any area of disobedience I have difficulty letting go of. Cleanse me, Lord, and help me to live a godly life. Thank You.


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