WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JUNE 16, 2021
TOPIC: OBEDIENCE TO GOD IS KEY TO ENJOYING HIS BLESSING
BY T. O. BANSO
“By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son — blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies” (Genesis 22:16-17 New King James Version).
Abraham obeyed God’s instruction to go and sacrifice Isaac. It didn’t make sense because God had promised that He would establish His everlasting covenant with him and his descendants (Genesis 17:19). He had said that Isaac was the son through whom his descendants wold be counted (Genesis 21:12). How would that be possible if he was offered as a burnt offering as the LORD had instructed Abraham? Nevertheless, Abraham went to obey the LORD by faith.
Hebrews 11:17-19 says, “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, ‘In Isaac your seed shall be called,’ concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense”(New King james Version).
As Abraham was about to slaughter Isaac, the angel of the LORD stopped him. The LORD substituted the sacrifice of Isaac with a ram whose horn was tied to the thicket. God didn’t need the blood of Isaac to be shed. He only wanted to test Abraham’s faith in Him. And Abraham passed (Genesis 22:12-19). Isaac didn’t become Abraham’s god – he didn’t come before God in his life. He didn’t esteem Isaac more than God.
After Abraham had obeyed the LORD to sacrifice Isaac, God blessed him. He said, “By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son — blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies” (Genesis 22:16-17 New King James Version). If you want to access the blessing of God, make sure you obey Him.
The blessing does not accrue to the receiver of the instruction but the doer. “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:23-25 New King James Version). The Word of God is work to do.
How obedient are you to the written Word of God? How obedient are you to His instructions or leading through the Holy Spirit? In Numbers 14, the children of Israel refused to go and possess the land of Canaan because of the report of the ten spies who said they looked like grasshoppers before the giants in the land.
Although they described themselves as grasshoppers, they should have known that before God everybody is like a grasshopper, including the giants. Their God was bigger than any giant. The prophet Isaiah said this about God: “It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers” (Isaiah 40:22 New King James Version).
Goliath was a grasshopper before God. David knew this and said to King Saul, “The LORD, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine” (1 Samuel 17:37 New King James Version).
When he eventually confronted Goliath, he boasted in the LORD, saying to him, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD’s, and He will give you into our hands” (verses 45-47 New King James Version). Just as he said, His God killed Goliath through him.
Don’t disobey God because of any giant. Even giants are like grasshoppers before God. Caleb had quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” (Numbers 13:30 New King James Version). In Numbers 14:6-9, Joshua and Caleb discouraged the people not to rebel against God and to go and possess the land. But the congregation wanted to stone them (verse 10).
Thereafter, they acted presumptuously to go to possess the land after Moses had announced the death sentence on that generation (excluding Joshua and Caleb) for rebelling against God. The carcasses of all of them who complained against God were to fall in the wilderness – all of them from twenty years of age and above. After hearing this, these Israelites suddenly grew bigger than the grasshoppers! They were ready to face the giants. But they were late.
Against Moses’ warning, they went and the Amalekites and the Canaanites who dwelt in that mountain came down and attacked them, and drove them back as far as Hormah. God was not with them; they were on their own. If they knew they were going to possess the land as God had told them to do, why did they object to it initially? Why didn’t they believe the report of Caleb and Joshua that notwithstanding the size of the giants they were well able?
Don’t delay obedience; obey promptly. And don’t act presumptuously. God does not like delayed obedience. If you know God is asking you to do something, you should go quickly to obey Him. There should be no continued searching of mind. Delayed obedience is equal to delayed blessing.
Samuel said to King Saul, “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 heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king” (1 Samuel 15:22-23 New King James Version).
The disobedient cannot enjoy the best from God. Such a person will not succeed; he will not see the purpose of God for his life being accomplished except he repents. Therefore, obey the Lord. Let not your obedience be partial; let it be complete. Partial obedience is disobedience. Obedience to God is in your own interest; it is for your own good.
Obedience will protect your life; disobedience will endanger it. Lot’s wife lost her life; she became a pillar of salt because she disobeyed the instruction of the angels sent to preserve their lives (Genesis 19:26). The lives of other members of her family who obeyed were protected.
Obey the words of God in the Bible and through other means God may choose to talk to you such as dreams, visions, and trances. Communication through these other means, if it is from God, will not contradict what the Bible says.
In Deuteronomy 28, God outlined to the children of Israel the blessings of obedience and the curses for disobedience. Although Christians are no longer under the law, the law of sowing and reaping is valid. Don’t activate the law negatively.
There are many casualties of disobedience in the Bible and in the contemporary world. Don’t join them. In Numbers 25, the Israelites, by their disobedience to the law of God, brought upon themselves a plague, which caused the death of 24,000 Israelites. This was because they allowed themselves to be seduced into sexual relations with the Moabite women and worshipped the gods of Moab contrary to the Word of God.
Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, caused the plague to stop. Otherwise, the causalities would have been more than the figure recorded. The plague stopped when he killed with the javelin one Israelite and the Midianite woman that he brought into the camp, right before the eyes of Moses and all the people who were weeping at the entrance of the tabernacle of meeting over the judgment of God against them for their sexual sin and idolatry (Numbers 25:1-9).
Anyone who is already a casualty of disobedience should not continue in the same lane. He may have suffered in one way or the other for being disobedient, but he doesn’t need to continue in disobedience. Such a person should repent today. Continuing in rebellion against the Word of God or His instruction is foolishness. Repentance is the wisest thing to do.
Jeremiah said to the princes of Judah and the people, “Now therefore, amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the LORD your God; then the LORD will relent concerning the doom that He has pronounced against you” (Jeremiah 26:13 New King James Version).
Earlier in Jeremiah 7:3, he had given the people of Judah the word of the LORD to amend their ways and doings, and He would cause them to dwell in the land of Judah. Also in verse 5, he told them to amend their ways and doings. Amend your ways and doings. Repent! Obey God; stop disobeying Him.
Disobedience led to the fall of Adam and Eve and the subsequent eviction from the beautiful garden (Genesis 3). Disobedience also caused Saul to lose his throne (1 Samuel 13:8-14; 15:1-29). The disobedience of Solomon by following after other gods and not keeping what the LORD had commanded made God tear the kingdom from him (1 Kings 11:1-13).
Obedience to God’s Word is key to accessing the blessing of God. Disobedience is a sin, and it will hinder anyone from accessing the blessing of God. You cannot continue in sin and ask that grace abound (Romans 6:1).
Jesus says in John 15:14, “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you” (New King James Version). If you want to be God’s friend, obey Him. Obedience is the fruit of your love for God. Obey God because you love Him, not because you fear that He will cast you into hell, although hell is real! Jesus says, “If you have love for me, you will keep my laws” (John 14:15 Bible in Basic English).
Obedience to God is key to enjoying His blessing
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: Holy Spirit, help me to obey God and not withhold anything from Him. Let nothing that God has blessed me with become a god in my life. Don’t let me esteem anything more than God in my life. Holy Spirit, help me to obey God promptly. No disobedience, including delayed obedience, in Jesus’ name.
(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.
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