Obedience: The Key to Worship
Throughout history God has demanded nothing less than total and complete obedience from his people. The pages of the Bible are full of accounts of men and women who have been favored and blessed by God because they listened and were obedient to his Word. There are several things God wants us to know about obedience.
Obedience is the greatest form of worship
Without obedience to God any form of worship is hollow. It is an empty gesture, not pleasing to God. It is our willingness to submit to him and to obey him that is highly valued.
In II Samuel 6 we see the result of a mind trying to improve upon God’s perfect will. The Ark of the Covenant was constructed so that it could be carried on two long wooden poles by priests of the Tribe of Levi. These were God’s instructions to his people. But the Ark was placed on a cart which two young men, Uzzah and Ahio, had borrowed from their father. These two young men guided the Ark down a bumpy road.
This was man’s invention. It was not obedience to God’s Word. Verse 6 tells the fatal story: “When they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled.”, The first act of disobedience, putting the Ark on the cart, led to the second disobedient act, touching the sacred Ark, something that God had expressly forbidden.
The seventh verse tells of God’s reaction: “The Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down and he died there beside the ark of God.” God did not want Uzzah’s “better” idea. He wanted Uzzah’s obedience.
Obedience is believing God’s Word Obedience means that we believe God’s Word. Certainly we would not obey a set of laws in which we had no faith. The same must be true with God’s laws.
Saul brought sheep and cattle back from the land of the Amalekites in order to make burnt offerings to God. No doubt in his mind it was a great idea, but it was not what God had commanded. In I Samuel 15 we read that Samuel spoke these words to Saul: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.”‘
Saul paid the price for his lack of faith in God’s law. He fell from grace and was removed as king over Israel. The last sentence in the 15th chapter underscores God’s attitude toward Saul: “And the Lord was grieved that he had made Saul king over Israel.”
Obedience means that we are determined to follow God.
Obedience means that we are dedicated to God and determined to follow him. It is always easier to do as our flesh suggests, to “give in” and return to a sinful life. Obedience to God implies strength of mind and determination of spirit. In the 22nd chapter of Genesis we read that God told Abraham: “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”‘
There is no suggestion that Abraham hesitated even for a moment. Genesis 22:3 begins with these words: “Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac.
When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about.” Abraham proved himself to be the obedient servant. He neither questioned God nor argued with God for his son, Isaac. He quietly set out to obey. And because he was obedient, the Lord told him, “I swear by myself, . . . that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore.”‘
Obedience means separation from the world
Obedience means that we have come out of the world and away from its standards to a higher and better place. It means that we see with different eyes and hear with different ears. Obedience to God speaks loudly to all that we are set apart and separate for his sake. In Acts 5:29 we read, “Peter and the other apostles replied: ‘We must obey God rather than men!”
Obedience brings rewards from God.
In John 14 we discover the fullness of the rewards which await the obedient servant. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command,” and, “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” From Genesis to Revelation we see accounts of servants being rewarded for their obedience, and we read of the disobedient suffering the wrath of God. Jesus makes it clear: if we say we love him, we must obey him. It is through our obedience that we prove our love for Christ. Obedience is the key, which makes our worship pleasing and worthy. It is the key, which unlocks the door to God’s rich blessings.
This article’s origin is unknown, date unknown.
Christian Information Network