In a day and age where God and His word are treated lightly – from those who blatantly disavow His existence to those who seek to glorify Him with a “consumer oriented” worship and lifestyle – obedience to His commands is a very important issue.
In the time of Jeremiah, the Israelites had grown lax in their obedience to God’s commands – either completely disregarding them, or obeying the commands according to their own self-imposed standards. In Jeremiah 17 we have recorded Jeremiah’s exhortation to his countrymen to once again turn back and obey God according to His standards.
The issue that is addressed as an example is that of sanctifying the Sabbath day by ceasing from trade and business transactions on the Sabbath day. Since this same message of obeying God is applicable to us today, it is pivotal for the Christian to not only understand what God has commanded us but also the consequences of both obedience and disobedience to His commands.
God has the position of authority to command us to obey Him.
In Jeremiah 17, Jeremiah reminds the Israelites of Who their God is and why He has the authority to demand obedience from them by clearly stating some of God’s characteristics. The Israelites did not have the excuse of ignorance concerning their God. God had clearly throughout the ages again and again revealed Himself to generation after generation. His revealed character had also been carefully recorded in the existent Scriptures.
God searches the heart.
God, Who knows all things, searches or explores every man’s innermost thoughts. Nothing is hid from Him, even the most secret of thoughts. And thus, based upon an infallible knowledge, He rewards each man according to his own works.
An understanding that God knows everything should lead to a reverential obedience to Him. It is impossible to disobey God and for Him to not know of the disobedience. His omniscience should be a motivation for a desire of complete obedience on our behalf.
God is the source of salvation.
Jeremiah, in his prayer to God, addresses God as the hope of Israel. He uses this term of address also in Jeremiah 14:8. There, he states that God is the savior of Israel in time of trouble. God was the only One Who could deliver Israel in their present state. Jeremiah also expresses that God is “the fountain of living waters.” This phraseology reminds one of Christ’s statement in John 4:13-14, where He promises to give water that will spring up unto eternal life.
Just as in Jeremiah’s day, the people’s need was to turn to God in obedience in order that they might be saved, so we must likewise turn to God in obedience. There is no other source of salvation apart from God, and since He is the source of salvation, He is able to require obedience of us.
God is the object of praise.
Since God is the source of salvation, God is worthy of praise. God, and God alone is worthy of praise.
With such a standing and position, God is also then in the position to be able to demand obedience. For,
praise carried out in a practical manner is obedience. The way to praise God with one’s actions is to obey what He has commanded.
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