Better than great sacrifice?

If you heed the warning at the top of the cliff, you will never feel the pain of crashing to the bottom.

You can do nothing, no matter how costly, how tremendously sacrificial, even painful that is worth a ‘plug’ nickel in eternity if you are disobeying the Lord.  A huge sacrifice cannot cancel or make up for the smallest disobedience.  The slightest disobedience is sin, and sin (Romans 6:23) never fails to always pay full wages.

Let’s take a lesson from King Saul.  How did he disobey (1 Samuel 13:6-14) when Israel’s army was in a very tight spot?  First by impatience when Samuel didn’t show up at the expected time and we all know how one sin can lead to others.  (That could have been a test for Saul.)  His troops were deserting and Saul considered loyalty to himself more important than his loyalty to God.  It is frightening to see his temerity in his most outrageous defiance and do what is strictly forbidden to all but the priests.  He actually handled the burnt offering and the peace offering in a supposed sacrifice to the Lord, hoping that his flagrant disobedience would bring God’s help to his army.

What did it cost him?  His kingdom which could have been established forever.  He lost to a better man.  We need to heed God’s truth spoken by Samuel (1 Samuel 15:22) to obey is better than sacrifice.  Saul disobeyed again and this time completely justified himself (1 Samuel 15:20-21) and blamed the people.  Not a shred of repentance.  If we are disobeying God, the only prayer He would answer (Psalms 66:18) is the prayer of genuine repentance.  Don’t waste your time praying if you are not willing to stop sinning.

How was David a better man than Saul?  He was certainly not perfect and neither are we, so maybe we can learn something.   He committed forced sexual sin (2 Samuel 11:1-4, 15) with Bathsheba then arranged the death of her husband.  His disastrous pride (1 Chronicles 21:1-14) led him to ignore the warnings and to yield to Satan’s temptation to number the people.  The consequences were bitterly painful and far-reaching.  But his repentance (Psalms 51:4-7) was genuine and his heart again (Psalms 42:1-2) was seeking and longing for God.

We can be caught off guard and sin, sometimes almost unwittingly, but confession and repentance must be immediate, so that we give no place or opportunity (Ephesians 4:27) for the devil to operate in our lives.  All Christians can sin but no Christian has to deliberately sin because the Holy Spirit indwells us to reproduce the very Life of Jesus in us.  We have seen results of Saul’s disobedience and the consequences of David’s disobedience.  What are the consequences of obedience?  Because of one imperfect man’s obedience every nation on earth has been blessed.  How come?  Because Abraham obeyed God (Genesis 22:16-18).  ONE of his descendants would be the Messiah of Israel and the Saviour of the world.  What could be the consequences of your obedience and mine?  God-glorifying answers to seemingly impossible prayers, deepening intimacy with Jesus, continual growing understanding of the Scriptures, more effectiveness in witnessing and we can’t even imagine all that God has prepared to accomplish in and through us.  When God made that covenant promise to Abraham, He already knew about you and me.  I think it is evident that obedience pays rich dividends ,which the Lord will invest for us in our eternity.

If we don’t love the Lord, we won’t worship Him and if we don’t worship, we won’t obey Him in recognition of WHO He is.  (Dr. Jeremiah) “If you heed the warning at the top of the cliff you will never feel the pain of crashing to the bottom.”  The wages (Romans 6:23) will be paid.  The race (Hebrews 12:1) has been set before us, the good works (Ephesians 2:10) have been prepared for us.  God has predestined the course of our lives to fulfill the purpose for which He created us.  This is God’s way (Isaiah 30:21) so let us wisely and obediently walk in it.

This morning as I was contemplating Communion.  I thought of the Roman soldier who had pounded the nails into the hands and feet of Jesus.  Back then he didn’t realize that his fingerprints were on that hammer before he ever picked it up – TOGETHER WITH MINE !

I have a God-given desire that everything I do 24/7 will be based on a motive to glorify God, the reason for this, being that I love Him supremely.  I hope you will join me in this rewarding pursuit.

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