Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Obeying God God's Way - Choices Have Consequences

Jeremiah reminds his people that they cannot simply ignore God’s commands and disobey them without facing the consequences of their actions. Likewise, he reminds them that there are positive consequences if they obey God according to what He has commanded. Jeremiah delineates these for the people so that they can understand the consequences they will face.

Disobedience carries consequences.
Jeremiah outlines two main consequences for the Israelites’ disobedience to God. The first main one is the destruction of Jerusalem and their homes. God promises that if His people do not return to Him, He will destroy Jerusalem, He will give over their wealth and treasure as spoil, and they will be exiled from the land.
The second main consequence is that those who forsake God will be ashamed. The splendor and exalted state of Israel would no longer be visible to the surrounding nations. Ashamedly, the Israelites would see their country lying in ruins.
Even though the Israelites thought they were secure, they failed to recognize that God still had the power to destroy even their secure places.
There are severe consequences for disobeying God. God refuses to be taken lightly and He will judge those who do. Not only do we see Israel being warned of the consequences they would face for their disobedience, but the following records of Scripture tell us that those consequences came to pass. If God Who is just thus judged Israel, will He not in the same way judge us for disobeying Him?

Obedience also carries consequences.
However, not only are there consequences for disobedience, Jeremiah also tells the Israelites of what God has promised if they obey Him. Once again, he outlines two main consequences of obedience to God. First of all, God promises His people power and prosperity if they will obey Him (in this case, specifically in the area of sanctifying the Sabbath). Their princes and kings will have power and opulence. They will prosper and will remain in the land.
The other main consequence is that correct, God-honoring worship would be re-instituted in Israel. The people would gather at Jerusalem from all ends of Israel and bring the God-mandated sacrifices to God. These sacrifices, carried out in obedience to God, evidence genuine worship, not just meaningless rituals.
God desires for us to worship Him genuinely, exalting Him for Who He is. When we do this, He promises to bless us. Maybe not exactly the way in which He promised Israel, but yet still, He will bless us for our obedience.
As the children’s song says, “Obedience is the very best way to show that you believe. Doing exactly as the Lord commands, doing it happily. Action is the key, do it immediately. Joy you will receive. Obedience is the very best way to show that you believe.”

God has the authority to command us to obey Him, and Israel serves as a warning to us. History has shown us what happened to Israel as a result of their disobedience. Their story has been recorded for us as an example. However, we do not need to follow in their mistakes. We have the choice to obey God according to His standards, to obey Him His way. This is the only way to please and honor and glorify Him. Let us not fall into the trap of taking God and His word lightly.

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