OBEDIENCE TO THE VOICE OF GOD AND THE SERVICE OF GOD
TEXTS: John 2:5, Deuteronomy 28: 1-14, Chronicles 9:1-5, Romans 12: 1- 3, Joshua 3:5, 1ST Kings 13: 11-25, 1st Kings 19: 19-21.
- Obedience to the voice of God
- The modern-day Christian and the spirit of Obedience
- Consecrating our lives to the service of God
- Case study: old prophet versus young prophet Elisah/ Elijah – 1st Kings 19:19-21
OBEDIENCE TO THE VOICE OF GOD
Obedience starts from the heart. Obedience to the voice of God in simple terms means hearing the word of God and acting on it. It implies aligning our will to God’s will; doing what God has asked us to do. It is when we completely surrender to His authority and base our decisions and our actions on His Word. To hear and obey the voice of God means that our lives must be built on a relationship with Him. We must be close enough to hear, and in love enough with Him to follow Him above all others. Jesus made this very impacting statement, one we would all do well to seriously heed: “Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (John 18:37). All of Christianity evolves around this. It is about a daily, living relationship with God through Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. The fact that Jesus is alive today is demonstrated by our hearing His voice to us. Jesus declared that “His sheep hear His voice” and because of that voice they know Him and follow Him (John 10:3-4, 27). Adam and Eve were accustomed to hearing the voice of God (Genesis 3:8-10). It was not until they de2cided by their actions to disobey God’s voice that things changed for the worse for them. Deterioration always sets in when we stop obeying the voice of God. Genesis 22: 1-18, Abraham so obeyed the voice of the Lord that, not only was he blessed, but his descendants also. The blessings of God can be imparted to others through our obedience. Moses had lived in the desert wilderness for 40 years. Then he experienced the voice of God through a burning bush that was to change his life forever, and the lives of the nation of 8Israel who had been bound up as slaves in the slime pits of Egypt (Exodus 3). Life changes for the better when we hear the voice of God with a commitment to doing whatever He asks us. Samuel’s life and ministry became a powerful force for good as he lived in obedience to the voice of God. The testimony the people had of him was, “All that he says surely comes to pass” (1 Samuel 9:6). You must know God’s voice to have a testimony like that.
The key to life and leadership for a Christian is in obeying the voice of the Lord. There is no substitute for this. Yet, we see Christians trying to fulfil their obligations to God by every other way than developing that relationship between the voice of God and them. When the fear of the people comes before the fear of God, we can guarantee we are going to lose out on God’s best for us. There is no way that we can be obedient to God and, at the same time, be living to please others; when we live to please God, we will find much favour. God must come first not the people. Saul had it the wrong way round (1 Samuel 15:24). His fear of the people prevented him from pleasing God to the full. Therefore, God rejected him by overthrowing his kingdom. Disobedience to the voice of God is very costly for Christians. Consider how samson ended his life through lack of Obedience (Judges 16).
- How can we recognize and know it’s God’s voice??
- How can I know if I am hearing God, hearing Satan, or hearing my own thoughts?
THE MODERN-DAY CHRISTIAN AND THE SPIRIT OF OBEDIENCE
No one questions the emphasis on obedience in the Old Testament. Its teaching on the matter can be summarized: “Obey and you will be blessed. Disobey and you will be cursed” (Deut. 11:26–28). Although sacrifices were important to the Israelites, the prophets continually reminded the people that “to obey is better than sacrifice” (1 Sam. 15:22). Obedience is not just an Old Covenant concept. It is an essential element of the New Covenant as well. God’s love for His people is steadfast regardless of their ability to keep His commands. However, God’s love, grace, and forgiveness do not excuse His children from obeying His Word. Jesus asked this question in Luke 6:46, “Why do you call2 me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” He addressed this question to people who openly professed Him as Lord but did not yield to His Lordship. It takes obedience to become obedient. obedience is the indispensable condition of the Spirit’s indwelling. The bible states If ye love me, keep my commandments and the Father will send you the Spirit. we cannot live an obedient Christian life in our own strength. We must live by faith in God’s promises in the Bible. By faith, we trust the Holy Spirit to enable us to obey what God wants for our lives. By faith, we learn to obey Christ and experience a life of freedom and joy. If you desire to be an obedient person and live the Christian life, then work on your faith, and focus on the Lord. “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans10:17). So, focus on Christ, know Christ, delight in Christ, meditate on Christ, get the whole Christ before you. Faith will rise because grace would be coming through it, and then obedience flows out from it.
Ezek.36.26 – 27 says “And I will give you a new heart with new and right desires, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony heart of sin and give you a new, obedient heart and I will put my Spirit in you so you will obey my laws and do whatever I command. This scripture explains that when the Holy Ghost manifest in your life it comes with the spirit of obedience. Obedience is not easy but with the help of the Holy Ghost it becomes a part of you. Every time we pass the obedience test, we change class and have a change of name. When the spirit of obedience enters you, you become bendable. It enables you obey His voice and ultimately enjoy the blessing (Eph. 2:1-3). This voice of God when acted upon in obedience releases the supernatural of God in and through our lives. The call to obedience is for our benefit. He knows what is best for us and how to grow us to be stronger people and followers of Christ. Obeying God should not be a burden but rather a joy, a way of worshipping him and growing in your faith. Ultimately, we will feel most satisfied when we are in right relationship to God which can only come through obedience.
Benefits of the spirit of obedience
- You enjoy divine presence (John 8:29, Gen 26)
- You gain access to hidden covenant (Gen 22:18) 2
- It creates platform for friendship with God (2 Chron 20:7)
- You obtain key to dominion (2 Corinthians 10:4 James 4:7 John 5:30)
- It enables you to obey God absolutely (Exodus 25:40)
- Why do I need the spirit of obedience?
- What’s the connection between obedience and faith?
- Can we try obedience without faith?
- Can we have faith and not spirit of obedience?
CONSECRATING OUR LIVES TO THE SERVICE OF GOD
The utensils used in temple worship were considered “consecrated.” In other words, they were set apart for the exclusive use of God. They were devoted to His service. Consecration is a process or practice of making something or someone sacred, dedicated and set apart for the Lord. It also means the devoting or setting apart of anything or anyone to the worship or service of God (Exodus 28:41). God is calling us to live a consecrated life unto Him as a peculiar person and a royal priesthood and He is waiting to see us exhibiting the life of consecr8ation unto Him. To be consecrated for God’s service a person must first know Jesus Christ as his or her personal Lord and Saviour. The call to personal consecration demands that one presents himself wholly to God (Lev 11:44; Romans 12:1), be willing to purge himself of all filthiness of the flesh and spirit (2 Timothy 2:21). This is made possible through absolute compliance to divine instructions given by God in his Word (Ephesians 5:26). It is God Himself who chose and called us to consecrated service; and it’s a privilege to serve God. We deserve nothing but death, but how great is the grace of God, He saved us and changed us through His grace. Jesus said: “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you” (Jn.15: 16). This verse means that we serve God because He called us to be His own and called us to the consecration of ourselves to Him.” This tells us that consecration is “unto the Lord,” and that it must be voluntary. God does not compel us to consecrate our lives to Him; instead, He says, “I beseech you.” God wants us to give our lives to Him, not because we must but because we love Him and want to serve Him. Attending church services, serving on a council, providing for a charitable cause (being religious) is not sufficient if we are not doing it out of obedience and dedication to God (1 Sam2uel 15:22). Our reasonable service means to worship the Lord, witness for him, follow the Holy Spirit wherever he leads, and do the work set before us. That is the charge. Be not conformed, but be transformed, live as a new person, render ourselves to God by all that we are, all that we have, and all that we can do. consecration is the offering up of a whole life to God. We cannot give God part of our lives and keep part of it for ourselves. This would not satisfy God, and it would not satisfy us either. All the joy and blessing in the Christian life depend upon our holding back nothing from God. Let’s remember Samson’s consecration was broken by his disobedience and lust for strange women (Judges 14:1-3, 8, 9). There are benefits of consecrating ourselves to the service of God.
- Overflowing blessings (Exodus 32:29).
- Overflowing anointing (Acts 5:12).
- Becoming a chosen vessel of God (2 Timothy 2:21).
- Ever abiding presence of God (psalm 91:1; Matthew).
- Outstanding victory without a fight (2 chronicles 20:15-19).
- Are all Christians consecrated?
- Is consecration the same as sanctification?
- Why should we consecrate and devote our whole life to God”?
CASE STUDY: OLD PROPHET VERSUS YOUNG PROPHET
The story is obviously about the importance of undeviating obedience to God and the protection this affords in our experience. A message comes through someone who is supposedly holy, a prophet with an “angel message” from God. Many so-called “prophets” today claim to bring messages from God. Tragically, many are in awe of them and tend to believe what they say which leads to ridiculous and even disastrous consequences. This is not the prophet’s fault but the recipient of the message who “lacked faith,” (1 Kings 22:22) and tests whether we believe the Scriptures to be sufficient and final or not (Deuteronomy 13:1-5). God immediately pronounced judgment against the young prophet because the man of God had disobeyed the full counsel of God, he would not be buried in the tomb of his father; this meant that he would meet a violent death along the way home (23-24). Many would argue that his disobedience was in such a tiny matter, after all had he not confronted Jeroboam, had he not obeyed 99% of what God had told him? Yet God judged him sternly. When God speaks, the matter is settled. There is never an excuse for disobeying God’s Word. Even a fellow believer, even an angel descending from heaven cannot nullify God’s Word. Paul declared that even an angel from heaven was not to be believed above the apostolic gospel word (Galatians 1:8,9).
Notice that the young prophet keeps faithfully what many would consider the important aspect of the command and yet he is judged for not keeping the entire command. We cannot divide a command into major and minor issues. Do not let anyone convince you that if you have warm feelings for God and generally do what is right that you can ignore the commands of God. Even though the old prophet had lied to him, God still held this man accountable for believing a lie that contradicted His truth. Also note that God did not strike Jeroboam or the old prophet, rather He immediately punished the man who had previously been faithful. We can see that we must take moral responsibility for our own actions regardless of how mesmerically misleading the temptation may be. Christ Jesus warned the disciples: “Take heed lest any man deceive you: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” (Mark 13:5-6). The story could also be said to be teaching a lesson about the radical nature of spiritual obedience. The human mind generally desires spirituality to conform to the qualities of human conventions. Spiritual obedience isn’t designed to “fit in” with the conventionality of material life.
- Discuss more lessons from the story of the two Prophets?
Remember, any command that God gives is important, or He would not have given it. Disobedience to any command of God, to any detail in any command, is a sin. There is nothing static, restrictive, about being obedient. It is pure freedom and fulfilment. Total obedience provides protection, healing, capacity to help others and we walk in divine reality. Elijah and Elisha are strong role models in devotion, faith, prayer, and unwavering obedience in the face of corrupt power and persecution. They show us all how to stand for God, even when we feel like we may be the last voice for Him (1Kings 19:19-21).