Tag Archives: trust

Obedience (Revival – Day 4)

Obedience

And Samuel said, ”Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD?  Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.”  -1 Samuel 15:22 (ESV)

Word Study

  • delight (willingly taking pleasure in something)
  • better (to make good; to do well; to adorn)
  • sacrifice (an offering)
  • obey (to hear)

How refreshing that our God, unlike other gods, does not rely on our sacrifices to be who He is or to reveal Himself to us.  God willingly takes pleasure in our obedience first and calls this a greater thing when compared to the sacrifice.  It doesn’t matter how grand our sacrifice, if it’s done without obedience it gains nothing.  But, oh, how tempting it is for us to sacrifice rather than obey.  We struggle with obedience because our flesh contends for self-magnification and idolatry, which ultimately rejects the Lord and makes gods of ourselves.  Obedience requires the intentional work of our will toward reflective, analytical and spiritual worship.

It’s interesting that the word obey here means to hear.  Even more interesting is that in many parts of the New Testament the word means to trust.  Hearing God, then, is closely related to trusting Him and visa versa.  God does not need our obedience for His purpose to prevail.  He will continue to glorify Himself and reveal His purpose whether we obey Him or not.  Our failure to hear and trust Him leaves us in a state of disarray.  We will not be under God’s protection and will fall prey to every evil temptation under the sun.

“And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, 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 obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.” –Deuteronomy 28:1-6

Here in Deuteronomy 28 we see the glorious, life-giving blessings of obedience.  They are both temporal and spiritual.  They glorify God and give Him power as the HOLY GOD as we are blessed! They reveal Christ and the work of His Holy Spirit in our lives.  And through our humility there is faith, grace, purity and godliness.  Foreign to the life of a Christian are anarchy, chaos, disobedience, and disrespect.  Brethren, if you are ruled by any of these traits, it’s time to seek the face of Christ and beg His sweet forgiveness so that you may be filled with His blessings and live a life of unaltered joy and peace which surpasses the understanding of man.

If we love God enough, we will obey; we will keep his commandments. Let us so think of the temporal and spiritual blessings that He has showered upon us, and His constant, surrounding loving-kindness that out of appreciation we will hear Him, trust Him and love Him enough to do what He asks. Our gratitude to God can be expressed only in loving, humble obedience to his will.

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Humility (Revival – Day 3)

Humility For thus says the high and exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy, “I dwell on a high and holy place, And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit in order to revive the Spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.” -Isaiah 57:15

Word Study:

  • says (to declare)
  • exalted (to be lifted up, praised and elevated; extolled)
  • lives (to reside; a permanent stay)
  • forever (perpetuity; eternity; eternal existence)
  • Holy (God’s name is holy, sacred and pure)
  • dwell (to reside permanently)
  • contrite (bruised; humbled; broken; discouraged)
  • spirit (air for breathing; soul)
  • revive (to live anew; to recover)
  • contrite (the “to be” form of contrite (above). Indicates God as the causing agent)

Has anyone ever promised to do something for you or be with you always only to turn back on that promise? Broken promises are powerful. They can leave some people with so much hurt and regret that their entire lives remain suspended in that moment of grief. And suddenly that broken promise becomes the idol, the very thing which keeps someone from knowing God. They simply cannot recover and ultimately choose a life of misery. Very often these people blame God for their misery and they feel that if God really loved them He would not allow this thing to happen. Then God is put in a box of their own making. He is no longer God but a mere figment of something that doesn’t exist.

In this verse we see a solid promise, but before Isaiah delivers the promise of God, he establishes God’s credibility as the Promise-Giver. He calls God high and exalted: to be lifted up, praised and elevated above all. I think sometimes we allow ourselves to be shattered by broken promises because we have put people on a high and lofty place. We mistakenly put them in the place where only God can exist. And while Christ tells us to consider others better than ourselves, He clearly does not say that they should be pedestal dwellers. Only God has the authority and credibility to be in this high place.

Isaiah then reminds us that God will never leave us, that He exists eternally. People simply cannot make this kind of infinite promise. Either by separation or death, there is a point where we are either sinners, mortals, or imperfect. And while some promises are never meant to be broken, there are some which were never meant for mortal man to make. There is a feeling of stability in this promise from God, and something which we can wholly trust.

Finally, he establishes God’s character as the only one who is sacred and pure, giving us a sense of peace, a sense of knowing that God will stand behind his Word. How refreshing! This is the place where our souls are healed, where we will find peace in any circumstance. By this truth we are made whole and filled with both assurance and expectation.

Then God speaks. He tells Isaiah that He resides in His holy place forever and permanently. He will not be thwarted. This gives Him the authority and credibility to be our King who ultimately rules over all things. We realize by these very words that we are the lowly ones, we are contrite. We have no place in His kingdom outside His very mercy and grace.

Finally, God casts His gaze on the lowly and contrite. He sees the humble sinner, the bruised child. He sees us. But instead of turning away in judgment, he looks upon us with such sweet loving-kindness and compassion. Here, he unites the divided line of Kingship and Kingdom, of high and low, of heaven and earth. He looks upon His children and promises that He will never leave us. But not only will He never leave, He is also the Reviver of hearts! He stands ready to cherish and heal, to come close and lift up. We can choose to remain tormented by a myriad of broken promises by imperfect man, or we can choose to relinquish our pride, release people from their sins and wrongs against us through a forgiving spirit, and cling to God’s pure and holy promises which are never broken. The key is humility. The choice is ours.