Sort of Obeying God

What does it mean to REALLY obey God?

Some issues are clear cut. Scripture says to not lie. (Exodus 20:16, Colossians 3:9) So if I purposefully say something untrue, I am disobeying.

But what about the little white lies? What about hedging the truth so I don't hurt someone's feelings? What about fudging the facts to avoid an argument? Is that disobeying?

Hard fact here:
90% obedience is disobedience.

Our modern culture has a difficult time with cold, hard lines in the sand. We find the exception, we argue the outlier. The church is no different. We justify, compromise, and modify God's clear directions to fit our modern, relevant understanding.

There Is Nothing New

We like to think we are modern and evolved, and it is just so much harder in our current culture to obey God completely.

Actually there is nothing new under the sun. Take a look at King Saul in I Samuel 15. Through the prophet Samuel, God gave Saul very specific instructions. There was an evil king that He wanted to punish through Saul. He instructed him to kill the king and the people, plus destroy all the livestock.

There was to be no booty and no spoils of war.
This was about justice, not economic gain.

So Saul and his army did that....sort least about 90% of that.
Saul destroyed all the people, but kept King Agag alive.
Saul and his army decimated the livestock, but spared the best ones.

They destroyed the worthless stuff (in other words, they obeyed the command that was easy to obey)....but they kept the valuable part (in other words, they disobeyed the command that was hard to obey.)

The prophet Samuel shows back up to the scene after God informed him of the lack of obedience.

Running out to meet him, Saul brags about how well he had followed through on God's command. I mean after all, 90% is still an A.

The Bleating of Sheep In My Ears

Even if God hadn't already told him, Samuel knew Saul hadn't obeyed as soon as he heard the sheep. 

Then Saul starts to explain.
I can imagine Saul's mental gymnastics. He had completed the dirty work, he had only saved his contemporary, the King. Just think, what would happen if he went around slaying kings? Someone might come and slay him!

And look at those fantastic sheep and oxen! We destroyed the worthless, but we might as well keep the good stuff. Of course, we will keep it for God. To make a sacrifice. Something spiritual. Right?

Saul fell victim to the enemies of truth: 

JUSTIFICATION: I am keeping it for God, not for me.
PEER PRESSURE: I have to keep everyone happy and let them keep the best stuff.
EQUIVOCATION: I did do almost exactly what God said, except for the parts I disobeyed. Other than that I did a lot. For God. 

King Saul knows he messed up and even tells Samuel why, "I have sinned...because I feared the people and listened to their voice." (1 Samuel 15:24)

Which brings the question to me, who am I going to listen to? Who am I going to obey? Who am I going to fear? The people? Or God?

Lessons From Saul on How to Obey

God doesn't need my better plan.

God doesn't need me to be relevant or popular.

God doesn't require anyone else to understand.

To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.
— 1 Samuel 15:22b, NASB

90% obedience is not obedience.

  • It is skewing God's will to my comfort level.
  • It is tweaking God's commands to my better plan.
  • It is altering God's law to my modern, evolved, improved, polished, urbanized interpretation.

The God of the universe, Who created all, is in charge and gets to set the rules. God is judge, not me. God rules, not me. I may see an alternate plan, but unless God opens that door, it is not mine to decide.

My part is to follow through on God's assignment, God's way, 100%.

The only way I can do this is to listen to God more than my brilliant ideas or my justification, and to fear God more than man.

My word to me and to you is: BEWARE OF THE BLEATING SHEEP!

What is God asking you to do that is hard and scary and others think is crazy? Share below and I will pray for you to hear the Lord clearly and to obey Him completely!