WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
MAY 29, 2021
TOPIC: DON’T OBEY UNLAWFUL ORDERS OR UNGODLY INSTRUCTIONS
BY T. O. BANSO
“Saul shouted to his bodyguards, ‘These priests of the Lord helped David! They knew he was running away, but they didn’t tell me. Kill them!’ But the king’s officers would not attack the priests of the Lord” (1 Samuel 22:17 Contemporary English Version).
Ecclesiastes 8:4-5 says, “Where the word of a king is, there is power; and who may say to him, ‘What are you doing?’ He who keeps his command will experience nothing harmful; and a wise man’s heart discerns both time and judgment” (New King James Version). As Powerful as the king is, he must use his power wisely. Otherwise, his word may be defied, because people are not bound to carry out unlawful orders or ungodly instructions.
In 1 Samuel 14, the LORD gave victory to Israel in war through Jonathan. But His father, Saul, said he must die for violating his foolish oath. Saul had said, “Cursed is the man who eats any food until evening, before I have taken vengeance on my enemies” (verse 24b New King James Version). But in 1 Samuel 14:45, the people rescued Jonathan who had ignorantly violated Saul’s oath: The Israelites insisted that Jonathan would not die and he didn’t die. Saul’s order was defied.
Similarly, Saul’s bodyguards disobeyed his ungodly order in 1 Samuel 22. “Saul shouted to his bodyguards, ‘These priests of the Lord helped David! They knew he was running away, but they didn’t tell me. Kill them!’ But the king’s officers would not attack the priests of the Lord” (verse 17 Contemporary English Version).
Most probably, Saul’s bodyguards knew Saul’s order was ungodly, and therefore, didn’t carry it out. But Doeg the Edomite obeyed him. He killed the priests of the LORD needlessly for an offence they didn’t commit. He also attacked the town of priests, Nob and killed innocent men, women, children and babies. Doeg also killed cattle, donkeys and sheep in obedience to the order of a king who had lost favour with God because of his disobedience.
Doeg must himself be a wicked, godless man for mercilessly carrying out an ungodly assignment. Yet, the Bible says at the time he got the information about David and Abimelech that he passed to Saul, which necessitated his order to kill the priests, Doeg was detained before the LORD (1 Samuel 21:7). That could mean that he was keeping a religious vow, was there for ceremonial purification, or was worshipping the LORD that day. One could be religious but not godly!
Doeg was there when David asked Abimelech for bread and sword, which he gave him unaware that David was running away from Saul. David had lied to him that Saul sent him on a special mission. Abimelech was innocent of the charge of disloyalty and conspiracy Saul brought against him (1 Samuel22:13-15). Doeg carried out an ungodly order.
In Exodus 1, the Egyptian midwives refused to carry out the ungodly order of Pharaoh to kill the Israelites male children. They lied to him that the Hebrew women were not like the Egyptian women. They said that they were delivered faster than the Egyptian women and by the time they arrived at their homes, the babies were already born (Exodus 1:17-19).
Pharaoh’s plan to ensure that the population of the Israelites did not increase was thus defeated, as the people multiplied and grew very mighty. Because the midwives feared God and refused to carry out an ungodly order of the king, He provided households for them (verse 21).
You don’t have to carry out unlawful orders or ungodly orders, instructions, or assignments. If the law of your country or rules of your profession forbids something, don’t carry out anybody’s order or instruction that tells you to do otherwise, even if that person is your boss. The excuse that you were simply carrying out the instruction or order of a superior may not completely exonerate you from guilt.
Even in the military or security agencies where the chain of command is strong and they don’t joke with disobedience of orders from superiors, there is a limit to which you should carry out orders from your superiors. You are not bound to carry out unlawful orders. This is not the same thing as insubordination.
I must, however, admit that because human organizations are not always fair and just, you may sometimes be punished or oppressed unjustly if your superiors misrepresent your failure to carry out unlawful orders. But in a sane society, disobeying unlawful orders will not earn anyone sanctions because that is the right thing to do.
Committing illegality on the pretext that you were carrying out the order (unlawful order) of a superior does not exonerate anyone of guilt. That’s why you should never carry out an unlawful order. You will be held accountable for your actions.
The three Hebrews refused to carry out the ungodly order of the king to bow before the king’s graven image and God defended them. He didn’t allow the fiery furnace that the king ordered that they should be thrown into to hurt them. They came out of the fire unscathed. It was a miracle (Daniel 3). But suppose they had died in the fiery furnace, they wouldn’t have regretted their action because it was the right thing to do.
Trust God to defend or protect you as you refuse to carry out unlawful orders and ungodly instructions. But in case, you suffer for disobeying an unlawful order, have no regret. Everything does no end here on earth. Men’s verdicts are not final. “But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter” (1 Peter 4:15-16 New King James Version).
Similarly, Daniel continued to pray to God in violation of the king’s decree. He disobeyed the king’s decree that for the next thirty days anyone who prayed to anyone, divine or human, except to him, would be thrown to the lions. He was thrown into the lion’s den but God preserved him. The lions proceeded on a fast when he landed in their den! (Daniel 6). Daniel’s enemies were put to shame because he honoured God above men. But if the lions had killed Daniel, he wouldn’t have said that God failed him.
In Acts 4:19-20, Peter and John answered the Sanhedrin, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (New King James Version). They disobeyed the ungodly command in verse 18 not to speak at all or teach in the name of Jesus. Also in Acts 5:29, Peter insisted that he and the other apostles would rather obey God than men. They defied the ungodly command not to teach in the name of Jesus Christ.
In truth, Romans 13:1 says every soul should be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Peter wrote a similar thing in 1Peter 2:13. However, obedience to the orders or instructions of civil authorities is to the extent that they are consistent with the Word of God.
In your family, office, community, etc. don’t carry out unlawful orders; don’t obey ungodly instructions. You may sometimes suffer for doing this, but the Bible says, “For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil” (1 Peter 3:17 New King James Version).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, by the help of the Holy Spirit; I shall not obey unlawful orders or ungodly instructions. I shall not succumb to any threat or intimidation to obey unlawful orders. Holy Spirit, help me to endure suffering that may result from my insistence to obey God and disobey unlawful orders and ungodly instructions. In the name of Jesus, my faith shall not fail.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T.O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
WhatsApp No: +2349081295947