Do you manage people in the workforce? If not, are you a parent? All of us encounter situations where we ask someone to do something for us, expecting they will do as we ask. What happens when they do what you ask them, just not completely? Maybe they do half of what you ask or even three fourths of what is asked, but just leave one or two things undone. At the very least, it’s frustrating. If they do only part of what is asked of them, have they been obedient? According to God they haven’t.
Look at 1 Samuel 15:1-35. Saul was appointed by God to be king of the Israelites. God gave him very clear instructions in 1 Samuel 15:1-3. He was to attack and kill the Amalekites, leaving no person or animal alive. There’s no room for misunderstanding there. Kill everyone and everything is pretty clear. So what does Saul do? He captures the king, kills all the other people, separates out the best sheep and cattle to take back with him and kills all the others [1 Samuel 15:7-9]. Does that sound like what God asked him to do?
In 1 Samuel 15:22-23 the Lord speaks to Saul through Samuel: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king.” To obey is better than sacrifice. There’s no mincing words there. His message is crystal clear.
We clearly see Saul’s mistake here, but aren’t we all guilty of doing the same thing? We pick and choose which part of the Word of God we’ll obey. We say God’s Word is true; however, we bend and break the rules when it’s convenient for us. We can learn a very valuable lesson from Saul. Partial obedience or slow obedience is still disobedience. This truth doesn’t just apply to our children or work associates when we want them to do something for us; it applies to us as well.
Obedience has been highly valued by God from the beginning, and mankind has repeatedly failed to obey completely [Genesis 2:16-17]. So what are we to do? Like Paul, we want to obey, yet we continue to mess up [Romans 7:15-24]. Romans 5:19 says, “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.” We have hope because of Jesus. Romans 8:1-2 says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” When we choose to yield our will to the will of God, we are able to walk in obedience to Him and His Word. He is our Hope. He is our victory. We simply have to choose. So what will you choose today? Will you obey or will you only go halfway?
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