Praise the Lord. Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in his commands. (Psalm 112:1, NIV)
Faith involves obedience. When we are His children by faith, it is natural that we obey our Father God. In Jeremiah 11:4, God said, “Obey me and do everything I command you, and you will be my people, and I will be your God.” God enjoys our obedience. It is like children doing what they have learned after their parents taught them what is right. The Lord is interested in our reading His words and doing them. He is pleased that we are doing good to others according to His Word rather than having miscellaneous thoughts during worship. God is delighted when we offer distinguished things and thanks to God, rather than offering a large amount of money and boasting secretly to let others know it. It is recorded in 1 Samuel 15:22 that God delights in listening to His voice rather than burnt offerings, and obeying is better than sacrifice. God looks at our hearts, our intentions, and our will.
In fact, however, obeying is never easy, especially for the person who is accustomed to the culture and lust of the world.
It is challenging to live out of his or her old habits and obey the Word of the Bible. God also knows this and says in Hosea 10:12, “Break up your fallow ground.” Our fallow ground means our hearts, which are stubborn and accustomed to the lust of the world. Plowing up a fallow ground is never easy. It is similar to breaking the hardened land. It can apply equally to our stubborn and hardened minds. It is impossible to throw off the previously familiar lusts and the easily entanglable sins and obey God’s Word without a firm determination, a constant effort, and sometimes a hard experience. Even the apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:27, “I beat my body and make it my slave.” On the contrary, the author of Psalm 119 said, “How sweet are your words to my taste! Sweeter than honey to my mouth!” For some people, reading God’s Word is sweet, and obeying it is happy. How can we obey the Word of the Bible in delight?
First, it is possible when we love Jesus.
If we love someone, we can do anything for our loved one; we want to know what he or she likes, and if necessary, we can even die for him or her. We are not reluctant to do so, but willing to do it voluntarily. In John 14:23, Jesus says, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” If we love Jesus, we can readily obey, and we can also prove that we love Jesus by our obedience. Jesus was crucified for us. He loved us first and died for us. With His death, we are saved from God’s wrath and get eternal life. When this fact comes into our hearts, we cannot help but love Jesus, and we will be willing to do according to His Word. The more we experience Jesus, the more we love Him. It makes it easier for us to obey Him. Love is like the warmth to melt ice, so it changes our stubbornness and makes us follow Him willingly.
Second, we must always read the Bible.
It can teach us what is good and what is bad. What God wanted from the Israelites was to meditate on and obey His Word, to make them prosperous and victorious on their way to Canaan. In Joshua 1:8, God ordered them to always meditate on the Book of the Law and be careful to do everything written in it, because the Lord could lead them to prosperity and success when they did so. The Bible gives us the right wisdom and knowledge, provides us with deep insight and discernment, and leads us to the ultimate victory in this harsh world. As written in the Bible, since the Word of God is living and active, it can inspect our thoughts and minds and judge us and guide us to the right path when we read it. Even though we lack the knowledge of the world, if we sincerely meditate on the Bible, we attain self-control and strength so that we can walk in the right way. Even though the knowledge of the world is abundant in you, if you do not know or refuse the Word of God, you go the wrong way. Meditating on the Bible is a very precious and indispensable way for us to live right in the Lord.
Third, obeying must become our habit.
In Luke 22:39, it is recorded that Jesus went out and prayed “as usual” at the Mount of Olives. For Jesus, prayer was like breathing, and it was not difficult, but for His disciples, it was not easy to awaken and pray because they did not get accustomed to it. Thus, it is best to learn those good things as habits from childhood. If parents train their children to have good habits such as prayer, meditating on the Bible, tithing, sound speech, and forgiveness, they will become the most precious assets for life.
In order to become obedient to the Word of the Bible after getting used to our worldly habits, we need strong determination, prayer, and hard effort. Although it may be quite challenging, we must plow up the old fallow ground in our hearts and throw up our stubbornness and old sinful habits. Obedience will be a delight when it becomes our habit.
Figure 14. Real Value of Obedience
Psalm 112 records the amazing blessings God gives to those who obey Him. They know that God is the Creator and the judge, so they fear Him and keep His Word. Also, they know that His wisdom is so high that a man cannot reach, and they entirely trust God and follow His guidance. They are not sly but honest and do sincerely to God and others because their hope and ultimate goal are not in the world but in the Lord. He gives a wonderful blessing not only to them but also to their offspring. For example, because David was obedient to God for life, his descendants lived in the blessings.
To those who fear God and do righteousness, the Lord also pours out the material blessing. Thus, they do not borrow from others but rather lend them without interest. If they receive material blessings, they do not store up the wealth only for themselves but do good to the poor and needy around them, and they ultimately become a channel of blessing. Their good deeds are conveyed to the Lord, and He blesses them again so that their way is always leveled and prosperous.
They are always safe, even in troubles, because of God’s protection, and their all things, even bad things, finally work together so they get something better. God makes them honored, so they gain a good reputation not only from their neighbors but also from their descendants. They firmly trust God, and their hearts are always as strong and calm as the deep sea. When people are shaken by an insidious rumor, they are not surprised at all. They do bravely, much like David was not agitated even when all the Israelites were frightened by Goliath.
They also do not seek revenge on their enemies who hurt them by themselves. Since they know the Lord controls the life and death of their bodies and souls, they leave their case to God and make Him take vengeance on their enemies. They will also be praised in heaven. When they enter the kingdom of heaven, Jesus will welcome them and remember their obedience and righteousness as well as their good deeds for the poor. Jesus will reward them with surprises.
Obedience is a way to prosperity, blessing, and salvation.