“And Moses said, Let no man leave (any) of it (the manna) till the morning. Notwithstanding they hearkened (listened) not unto Moses; but some of them left (part) of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth (angry) with them.”Exodus 16:19-20
I was often the kid who went to the very edges of obedience, and I always sought to find the gray area. I tried to stretch the rules as much as I could without getting into trouble, but the more I tested them, the more I seemed to get in trouble. My sister was very much a rule-follower, but I was hard-headed. She could not understand why I simply could not follow the rules and stay out of trouble, and while I often wondered that myself, I did not practice it in my behavior.
Obedience has been something I have struggled with since I was a little boy. I was not ignorant of the rules, but I chose to instead go my own way, which I always thought was better. I struggled in school as I was expelled as a senior, and I struggled in work as I was written up for insubordination. “Insubordination” is a fancy way to say “disobedience”, and my disobedience followed me into my adult life. It is ironic that I grew up with my rule-following sister, and I married someone who is the same way. My wife points out the rules to me, and I act like my vision has suddenly deteriorated and I’m unable to read the fine print. I have come to realize that God has placed rules, laws, bosses, and authorities in my life and wants me obey them. I do not please God when I disobey Him or those he has placed in my life. I Samuel 15:23 states, “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry…”
I think of the many people God has put in my life whom I have disobeyed and scoffed at because I did not agree with what they were saying, even though it was not contrary to the word of God. I just sought to go my own way. I can see these same characteristics in some individuals I lead, and ironically, I grow frustrated with their disobedience. I am thankful that God does not grow frustrated with me, but I know He hates my sinful disobedience.
Moses gave God’s commandments to the people, but some simply chose to not obey. Moses grew angry with the children of Israel because they did not obey the commands God had given them. God had placed Moses in their lives to lead, guide and direct them, but yet they did not take him seriously and failed to obey his leadership. We often do this with God as we take His rules and laws as mere suggestions and not as non-negotiable commands to obey. God always expects obedience from His children. I Samuel 15:22 states, “And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken (heed) than the fat of rams.” The LORD delights in our obedience, and expects that we obey His every word and the leaders He places in our lives.
Where are you today in the obedience department? Are you hearkening to the voice of God, or are you obeying your own voice? Are you doing things that are in obedience to God, or are you living by your own rules and whims? We live in a world and society that states, “My body, my rules.” If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, God refutes this in I Corinthians 6:20, “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” Will you live a life of obedience and please God, or will you dishonor Him and live life by your own rules? Our sinful disobedience stinks to God, and as Christians, our desire should be to please and honor our God. What will you decide today, friend? Will your actions stink to God, or will they be a sweet-smelling savor for Him?