The Essence of Obedience

According to the Bible, the Creator of the universe is a father!

The prophet Malachi tells us that God, is indeed a father.

As we see in the following passage, Yahuwah Elohim [the Hebrew name for the LORD God] expresses His fatherly nature and His yearning toward His children: father-and-son

A son honoreth his father, and a servant his master: if then I [Yahuwah] be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the LORD of hosts …. (Malachi 1:6a).

As this verse teaches us, Yahuwah [the LORD], is indeed a father and a master. But let’s just focus on His fatherhood for now.

As a father, Yahuwah yearns for the honour and respect due a father. So how would we show honour and respect to the heavenly Father?

By obedience to Him!

Yahuwah Desires Our Obedience

Many times Yahuwah exhorts us to be obedient to Him. For centuries, Yahuwah has been speaking to His children regarding obedience. Could He have changed His mind about obedience? Hmmmm?

Again, the prophet Malachi can answer that question for us:

For I am Yahuwah [the LORD], I change not! (Malachi 3:6a)

Yahuwah does not change! His character does not change. His Word does not change. His Truth does not change! What He has said to His children for centuries, has not been ‘done away with!’

Just as the ‘Law of Gravity’ does not change, just as the rising and setting of the sun does not change, so also God’s full, entire, written Word continues! His Word is eternal and it does not change and it cannot be broken (1Peter 1:23; Isaiah 40:8; Psalms 119:89)!

And though His Word has some hard-to-understand passages, nevertheless, Yahuwah’s Word is true, valid and applicable today, in this 21st century. Therefore when it comes to obedience, God’s stated desire for obedient children remains constant.

Be As Little Children

Yahushua Messiah [the Hebrew name for Jesus Christ] directed us to be as little children:

And Yahushua [Jesus] called a little child unto Him, and set Him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:2,3)

As this passage teaches, being as a ‘little child’ is essential for entering the Kingdom of Heaven (Mark 10:15 see also Luke 18:17)!

Now if we consider the word ‘obedience’ to be a word only for little children, then we, as Believers, must realize that we are to BE as little children! We qualify for applying the word ‘obedience’ to ourselves. With God in heaven, and you and me on the earth, being as ‘little children’ is exactly how our heavenly Father sees us! In the Scriptures, we are often addressed as ‘Little Children.’

The patriarch Abraham and the apostle Peter illustrate this:

Abraham was as ‘a little child’ because he was obedient to Yahuwah! The apostle Peter exhorts us to be ‘as obedient children’ who call on Yahuwah as our Father! Obedience is a central part of the purifying process for growing and maturing in Messiah. It is clear that our heavenly Father desires obedient children! (Hebrews 11:8; 1Peter 1:22; see also 1Peter 1:13-17).

But what does He desire for us to obey? Let’s consider what His Son, Yahushua said.

If You Love Me . . .

Yahushua said, If you love Me, keep [obey] MY Commandments” (John 14:15).

Perhaps some of us may think that keeping Yahushua’s commandments are limited to only ‘New’ Testament commandments. However, at the time when Yahushua said the above statement, There Was No New Testament In Existence!!

Therefore His exhortation to KEEP His commandments refers to what is commonly known as the ‘Old’ Testament.

Since Messiah is The Word Made Flesh, then the ‘Old’ Testament Scriptures is where we find His instructions and guidelines for us to obey. It is in the ‘Old’ Testament where we find:

  • the instructions for observing the Sabbath, the seventh day of the week,
  • the instructions for not eating unclean things,
  • the instructions for observing Yahuwah’s Feast Days,
  • and many other instructions that are part of the ‘House-Rules‘ for the family of Yahuwah Elohim [the LORD God].

IF we love Messiah from the depths of our heart, then we will be among those who will gladly choose to obey Yahushua, the Son of Yahuwah Elohim, who is ONE with His Father!

IF we love Messiah we will exhibit our loyalty to Him by our humble submission and obedience to Messiah’s Words, including those from Genesis to Malachi. 

As the Scriptures tell us, Yahushua Messiah IS the WORD made flesh” (John 1:14). Therefore His Words include the Words He gave to Moses and to all the prophets because He spoke His Words from the beginning (see Exodus 31:18; Deuteronomy 9:10; Luke 11:20; John 1:1,14; Revelation 19:13).

Eternal Words

Entirely all of God’s written Word is true throughout all generations. Father tells us His Word is eternal. His Words cannot ever become invalid! (Psalms 105:8; Psalms 119:160; Isaiah 40:8; 1Peter 1:23,25) All the written Scriptures are eternal Words for Believers to apply to their life, in every age throughout history! We can be confident that the Scriptures, such as the following, are relevant and up-to-date. These Words are part of our heavenly Father’s ‘House-Rules’ for His family:

1.  You shall walk after Yahuwah Elohim [the LORD your God], and fear Him, and keep His commandments, and obey His voice, and you shall serve Him, and cleave unto Him. (Deuteronomy 13:4)

2.  And Moses and the priests the Levites spoke unto all Israel, saying, Take heed, and hearken, O Israel; this day you are become the people of Yahuwah Elohim [the LORD your God]. You shall therefore obey the voice of Yahuwah Elohim [the LORD your God], and do His commandments and His statutes, which I command you this day. (Deuteronomy 27:9, 10; see also Deuteronomy 11:26-28)

As the above Scriptures show us, Yahuwah’s Word urges His people to obey Him! This is our Father’s desire — obedience from His people, His servants, His children. This has been His desire from the beginning! It is well pleasing to Him to have obedient children:

Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. (Colossians 3:20)

A fundamental feature of our walk with God is that we become as a ‘little child’ and walk in obedience to God’s Eternal Words. We cannot become as ‘little children’ without learning obedience!

The Essence of Obedience

The essence of obedience is really a heart issue!

Let us ask ourselves some questions:

Has Father revealed His abundant love for us, especially through the sacrificial death and resurrection of His Son, Yahushua Messiah? Has Yahuwah tenderly received us and forgiven us multiple times? Is our heart full of thankfulness for His sacrificial love for us? Have we given our life to Him, and therefore, we are serious about serving Yahuwah Elohim?

Does our heart genuinely desire to love and honour Father, and show our respect for Him? Is this the main business of our life? Do we truly believe His love for us, and that His written Word is our authoritative source for guidance and direction?

If we can answer yes to these questions, then whenever we obey God’s written Word, we demonstrate our loyalty to Him; we demonstrate our belief in His truth; and we demonstrate our love for Him. This is how we demonstrate our faith in Him! Our obedience is the evidence that we trust Father, that we believe His Words are trust-worthy! And regardless of how we feel, whether we are ‘in the mood’ or not, we will want to obey God’s written Word, doing what is right and good in His sight!

Our obedience reveals our firm commitment to live our life based on the principle of obeying God’s written Word, walking according to His Ways – His ever-lasting truth – truth revealed from the beginning.

And though it will happen, that we will not always understand some parts of God’s Word, we certainly however, want to obey the parts we do understand by simply DO-ing what Father says! If we do what He says, we will find that the ‘doing’ of what He says results in more understanding and love for Yahuwah, and thus more obedience to His Word (John 7:17).

Let us remember — Abraham obeyed Yahuwah! Abraham obeyed Father because He believed Father’s love for him! He believed Father’s WORD! And Abraham obeyed, even at times when he did not fully understand:

By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. (Hebrews 11:8)

Therefore with Abraham as our example, we must remember to:

  • not rely on ‘feelings’ or ‘moods’ before being obedient, and
  • not rely on our own understanding before being obedient Yahuwah’s written WORD (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Only he who believes is obedient, and only he who is obedient believes.” —Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Obedience — A Regular, Daily Behaviour

Obedience to the written Word of Yahuwah ought to be a regular, familiar thought pattern. It ought to be a daily behaviour for all the children of Yahuwah.

Obedient children earnestly desire to serve their father; they love their father and are devoted to their father. Obedient children pay attention to the words of their father.

In order to obey our heavenly Father, we must learn His Words. We must persistently study God’s written Word [the entire Bible], so that we can know how to obey Him (see Proverbs 4:20-22).

We learn His Word because our hearts are devoted to honouring and obeying Him. (Psalms 119:11) We especially need to learn and study for ourselves The Ten Commandments. Let me say that you will discover that the keeping of the 4th Commandment is a major KEY to opening up more of our understanding of Father’s Word!

Learning His written Word for ourselves is essential to learning how to be obedient to His Word. And as we saw in 4 Keys to Discerning the Guidance of the Holy Spirit, we should never stray from the truth that the Holy Spirit will always guide us according to God’s written Word!

It is our obedience to Father’s written Words that is the measure of our love for Him:

If ye love Me, keep My commandments. (John 14:15)

By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep His commandments. (1John 5:2)

For this IS the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous. (1John 5:3)

Therefore as these verses teach us obedience reveals our love for Him. As obedient children, we should want to learn for ourselves God’s written Words [found in all the Bible]. This is to be our way of life! We learn His written Words so that we can obey Him – quickly and gladly!

We deny ourselves in small ways and in great ways, so that we can follow Father’s ‘House-Rules’. We do this because we love Him!! We obey Him because we want to walk according to His truth, and we want to avoid twisted, pagan explanations of Scripture; we want to avoid subtle, carnal counsels or preaching that rejects Yahushua as Messiah and Saviour (2John 1:7)!

He Is The Potter

Let us remember: we are the clay and He is the Potter.

We are to yield to Yahuwah, willing to walk according to His desires. Our hearts should be devoted to serving our loving Father, and promoting His interests (Isaiah 64:8; Jeremiah 18:6; Malachi 1:6a; Matthew 23:10).

It is not difficult to serve and obey our heavenly Father. His commandments are not too hard! Father has delivered us from the bondage of sin, and He has given us abundant, enabling grace, in all the things that concern our ability to obey Him! (See 1John 5:3-5; 2Peter 1:3).

If we truly love Yahuwah, if we truly believe His written Word, then we will obey Him, with no hesitancy! Living our life according to the principle of obedience to His written Word is to be our way of life, the goal of our life!

We simply need to begin to learn God’s Word, and choose to do what we learn, doing what we can do as well as we can – regardless of the mysteries, the obstacles, or how we may ‘feel’. Stepping out in faith to obey Him is to take one-step-at-a-time. As we begin to do any ‘baby steps’ of obedience, Father will supply us with more understanding and more ability to obey. Thus we will be more confident of Father’s love and care for us. 

Loyal and Obedient

May it be that the word ‘obedience’ would be a familiar word to us, and a familiar behaviour! May it be that obedience would not be a foreign word!

Let us ask Father to help us – help us to be as ‘a little child’! May each one of us have that genuine commitment to be loyal and obedient to Father’s written Words, even when it seems difficult! This is how we show our love for Him, our loyalty, our honour, and our respect for Him!

And that, Dear Reader, is the essence of obedience!

Thank You heavenly Father, for Your love for me by showing me Your ways through Your Word. Help me Father, to be humble as a little child. Help me to always honour You with my obedience. Help me to love Your Word, obey Your Word, and seek to please You in all I do. Hold me close to You always. In the name of Your Son, Yahushua Messiah, I pray. Amen.

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