In the early hours of the morning of the 23rd of February 2018, I started my day with a devotional book by Joyce Meyer "New Day New You". The topic was that day was about Obedience. “Don’t ignore the IFs and BUTs” She was expressing the importance of the Ifs and the Buts in the bible because it carries a significant meaning.
When God give a command in the bible, it usually has a 'If You Do This', ' you will receive this' element to it. Most times, when we read the word of God, we tend to overlook the IFs and the BUTs. Well not today, we shall dig in :)
This devotional topic ignited a desire in me to go deeper and understand what it means to obey God in paying attention to the Ifs and Buts in His word.
Here are my findings:
If you study Deuteronomy 28:1-2 it has the element of 'If you do..., you will receive......Let's have a look:
In Deuteronomy 28:1-2 it said:
(Do this) “IF we listen diligently (consciously) to the voice of the Lord your God, being watchful to do all His commandments which I command you this day”
(You will receive this) “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"
(Only IF you do this) “If you heed the voice of the Lord Your God"
Again Exodus 15:26 (ESV) says almost the same thing:
(Do this) “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the Lord your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes,
(You will receive this) I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, your healer.”
It shows here that in order to receive all that God has promised and made available to you, you have a part to play, which is to LISTEN and OBEY.
I went further to study what obedience to God really means and how I can be an obedient Child.
Here are my findings:
What is obedience?
The oxford dictionary defines obedience as a "compliance with an order, request, or law or submission to another's authority"
Obedience has a Hebrew (Hupakouo) and Greek (Shama) meaning and both has the word 'hear' attached to it. In essence Obedience is an attitude of intelligent hearing. It is also an attitude of the heart towards a higher authority, in this case, God. In John 14:15 God said, "If ye love Me, keep My commandments.
Obedience opens the door for the blessing that is already there due to God’s goodness to flow to us. However, it requires an action from us.
How to be obedient
So obedience requires us to do something first which is to
listen diligently (consciousnesses) to voice of the Lord (His words, His Spirit, His Voice)
Be watchful to obey and to do what He commands
Our Reward for obedience
If we are obedient, we will receive overflowing abundance of blessings from God. we will enjoy and grow deeper into relationship with Jesus. The Lord’s goodness will flow to us.
We we will continually walk in the path that God has chosen for us
Listening with Diligence
Diligence means having and or showing care and consciousness in ones work. So by caring about the word of God and His work, by our love for God, we care to listen to what He asks us to do. If we love God, we would care about what He has to tell us.
Ways Can Hear / listen & Obey God's commands
By His Word: We listen by studying His word in the Bible. Everything we need to know about what God is saying in every situation and season in our life is written in the bible. We ought to read His word daily, meditating on it day and night in order to hear God and know what He is asking us to do. Once we know what He is saying to us in that season, it is not up to us to listen and obey the instructions given in order to receive His promise.
By His Spirit: The Holy Spirit is an Advocate of God. He is the Spirit of Truth and He guides us into all truth. The word of God in the bible is the TRUTH. John 16:13 said the Holy Spirit “will not speak on His own but will tell you what He has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring Me glory by telling you whatever He receives from Me. All that belongs to the Father is mine; which is why I said, “The Spirit will tell You whatever he receives from me” The Holy Spirit who is the Spirit of Truth will always speak to you and tell you what you ought to do in any given situation. You will know this by a steering in your spirit or a gentle nudging. Again it is your responsibility to listen and obey. John 14:26 says “When the Father sends the Advocate as my representative - that is, the Holy Spirit- He will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you”. So the Holy Spirit helps us to remember what God has told / spoken in His word - the bible. However if we don’t know that word of God, the bible, the Holy Spirit will still speak to remind us of God’s word, but we may not understand what He is saying because we do not know God’s word. But by studying the word of God, the Holy Spirit helps us to understand it, He teaches us and gives us wisdom and understanding of God’s word, then when we ask Him or seek God’s voice in any situation, He reminds us of God’s word in that situation and He reminds us of the path God has asked us to take. This can only happen if we have a relationship with Jesus, through the Holy Spirit. Spending time in His word day and night and meditating in them.
In the quest of my research on obedience that same day, God taught me something through the help of His Spirit.
As I didn’t have much to do that day, my house was cold, my boiler had broken down, no internet to do God’s work, I decided to spend time in His word and be useful lol. So I asked the Holy Spirit to wake me up after an hour nap so I can spend time in the word of God.The Holy Spirit did so. Just before 12 pm I slept and the Holy Spirit woke me up 2 mins before 1 pm. He did this so I know that it was Him who woke me and not my alarm. Praise God! As I woke, I was still tired and the Lord said to me in my spirit “I want to show you something"...what is it Lord I replied in my spirit ....then The Lord put in my mind the Bible...(this means whatever He wants to show me was in the bible) I then said, Lord please give me strength to get up...then my alarm rang loud almost immediately lol then I got up 😄
To my amazement, I opened my bible and the very first page that opened was Joshua 22. I wasn’t sure what God is saying here as it is the Old Testament and I like New Testament lol. I decided to scroll the pages to see if any verse will grab my heart...but as I did that, the first page that opened was still in my heart. And so I went back to it and read it. To my amazement, it talked about Obedience 😯😄😄 isn’t God amazing! He wanted to show me another verse that talks about if we obey, we receive the blessings that He has made available to us.
The scripture in Joshua 22 says this:
Then Joshua called together the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh. He told them, “You have done as Moses, the servant of the Lord, commanded you, and you have obeyed every order I have given you. During all this time you have not deserted the other tribes. You have been careful to obey the commands of the Lord your God right up to the present day. And now the Lord your God has given the other tribes rest, as he promised them. So go back home to the land that Moses, the servant of the Lord, gave you as your possession on the east side of the Jordan River. But be very careful to obey all the commands and the instructions that Moses gave to you. Love the Lord your God, walk in all his ways, obey his commands, hold firmly to him, and serve him with all your heart and all your soul.” So Joshua blessed them and sent them away, and they went home.
Moses had given the land of Bashan, east of the Jordan River, to the half-tribe of Manasseh. (The other half of the tribe was given land west of the Jordan.) As Joshua sent them away and blessed them, 8 he said to them, “Go back to your homes with the great wealth you have taken from your enemies—the vast herds of livestock, the silver, gold, bronze, and iron, and the large supply of clothing. Share the plunder with your relatives.”
So the men of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh left the rest of Israel at Shiloh in the land of Canaan. They started the journey back to their own land of Gilead, the territory that belonged to them according to the Lord’s command through Moses.
It’s amazing how similar this scripture is with the ones above. The similarities are in the area of carefully and watchfully obeying the commandments of The Lord Your God, and receiving the abundant blessings that God has made available as a result of their obedience.
And a striking similarities was that the commandments which required their obedience was a commandment for THAT DAY.
I.e Deuteronomy 28:1 says:
“IF we listen diligently (consciously) to the voice of the Lord your God, being watchful to do all His commandments which I command you this day”
And Joshua 22:3 says
During all this time you have not deserted the other tribes. You have been careful to obey the commands of the Lord your God right up to the present day.
As you can see from my encounter with God, He told me to do something and by His grace, I obeyed and through that obedience, I was able to learn more about what it means to obey God. Not just that, my joy was complete in my relationship with God, knowing that I have a Father who speaks to me and loves to teach me stuff :)
In conclusion, God wants us to listen what He is saying to us, and carefully do what His word is saying and do them on the day He wants us to do it. By doing this, we are able to fully receive the blessings that comes with that obedience.
Dear God, thank You for Your grace, Your love and for always showing us the way to life. Thank You for Your word which is a lamp unto our feet and a light to guard our paths. Father, I pray that You grant us the grace to always desire to spend time with You in Your word, and the grace to diligently listen and obey You when You instruct us to do something so that we may lay hold of the blessings that You have already made available to us according to Your riches in glory in Jesus name we pray AMEN.
Remain Blessed :)