Thursday, April 11, 2024

          Disobedience is a chronic human problem.  The Bible says we often prefer our ways to God’s ways.  We discover the problem of disobedience early in the Bible when Adam and Eve chose to dismiss God’s instructions to them.  Unfortunately, that single act of disobedience set in motion a pattern of behavior that continues to this day.  People routinely flaunt God’s ways and belittle His standards.  We can even become quite adept or proficient in explaining, defending or justifying what we have done or find ourselves doing. Supposedly, on his deathbed, the comedian W.C. Fields was found to be reading through a Bible.  Not known in life as one who read the Bible or had much to do with God or matters of faith, Fields was asked what he was looking for in the Bible.  He replied that he was looking for loopholes.  As the end approached, even Fields had a sense that he had wasted much of his life pursuing disobedient pathways.  The reality is the Bible does not give us mulligans, loopholes or get-out-of-jail free cards for the sins we commit.  We are guilty.  We have sinned against the Lord God.  Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  That would be you and me.  All of us.  Every single human who has ever breathed or walked is guilty as charged.  We have no defense or argument when it comes to our disobedience.
            In the Bible, Saul is not king for long before his disobedience leads to the Lord’s rejection of him as king over Israel.  When Saul tried to cover his disobedience with an attempt at making a sacrifice to the Lord, Samuel rebuked him.  The Bible says, “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord?  To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams” (1 Samuel 15:22).  We cannot humanly sacrifice our way out of disobedience.  We cannot hope that we can find a loophole or some singular act that we can perform that will gain us a right standing before the Lord.  Our best human efforts fall short.  We cannot overcome our sins by simply doing more of something or trying harder at something.  Such a notion is talk-show-theology but not biblical theology and certainly not a word from the Lord.
            But the good news is the death of Christ at the cross has the power to forgive our sins and to set us free from the penalties and judgment of sin.  We are justified by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9).  We are saved by our faith in what Christ has done for us.  The cross is not a loophole.  Jesus died a real death and suffered in real ways for the sins we have committed.  When we had no acceptable sacrifice to bring to the Lord, He became our sacrifice and satisfied the wrath and justice that we so definitely deserved.  We want to be sure that we never make the same mistake that Saul made and assume that we can follow our wits and ways and make up any deficits with some sacrifices or gifts along the way.  God delights in our obedience more than our efforts to dress up and disguise disobedience into something acceptable.  There can never be any acceptable alternative to God’s ways.
            Fall in love with God’s ways and Word.  To love God’s ways, we must know His Word.  We must want His ways more than we could possibly desire or want anything
else in life.  Do not let the enemy convince you to follow your wits and wisdom or to follow your heart.  Do not let the enemy trick you into thinking that any sins we commit can be equally offset or balanced by some good deeds along the way.  We never want to think that we can trade or barter our way to wholeness, righteousness or goodness.  Christ is our righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30).  And we enjoy this blessed gift through our unswaying and unreserved faith in Him.  Love the ways of God more than the world.  Love the joys of walking with Him and leaning upon Him.  We often sing of leaning on the everlasting arms of the Lord.  The last verse of that cherished hymn reads, “What have I to dread, what have I to fear, leaning on the Everlasting Arms! I have peace complete with my Lord so near, leaning on the Everlasting Arms!”  Have a great Thursday!  Remember you can share our worship with others any time at  Bible study is Sunday at 9:45. Worship is at 10:55am.  Our monthly communal lunch is this Sunday immediately after worship.  Bring along a couple of dishes to share and we will have lunch, fellowship and conversation together. 

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