Choice –Part 12: Why is God Pleased with Obedience?
Let’s say that by some quirk of fate, you were invited to Bill Gates’ birthday party. What do you bring as a gift? What do you buy for a person who happens to be the richest man in the world? Obviously, he probably already has any item you could possibly afford
As you enter Bill Gates' mansion, you notice many rich and famous people. You also notice a young boy who seems out of place. Although he’s not dirty or dressed in rags, his clothes and mannerisms indicate he’s probably very poor. As it turns out, Bill Gates met this boy while volunteering with the Big Brother program.
As the gifts are opened, you are stunned by their value. Michael Eisner (Disney) gives Bill a red Ferrari. Donald Trump gives Bill a 75-foot yacht. The Rockefellers give him a summer home in Martha’s Vineyard.
As the gifts are opened, you start to feel self-conscious about your gift. You wonder how humiliating it will be for everyone to see your inexpensive gift. Your thoughts are interrupted when you see the boy present Bill his poorly wrapped gift. You feel embarrassed for the child. You think to yourself, "How could this boy compete with these other gifts. Obviously, Bill will pretend to be grateful before he moves on to the next gift."
To everyone’s surprise, Bill is truly touched by the gift. In fact, it is obvious Bill is fighting to hold back his tears. You wonder what this boy gave that could provoke such an emotional response.
Everyone moves closer to get a better look at the gift. Inside the box is a single inexpensive baseball card. This, of course, only increases the mystery.
As it turns out, when Bill was young, his best friend moved away. As a token of his friendship, his friend gave Bill a baseball card of Al Simmons. Although Bill was not a big baseball fan, the card was a special reminder of the friend he missed. About a year later he lost the card. It was like losing his friend all over again.
The little boy heard this story from Bill. As part of the Big Brother program, Bill took the boy to a baseball game. Bill told him although he didn’t care much for baseball, he once had a baseball card that meant much to Him. Bill explained the story to the child.
The boy paid close attention to Bill’s story and decided to buy him an Al Simmons baseball card to replace the one he lost. Even though the card cost only $10, it was a fortune to this impoverished child. The boy did odd jobs and saved everything he could to pay for the card.
Obviously, the card itself is not what touched Bill so deeply; it was the thought and concern behind the card. Clearly, the boy cared enough to remember something that was so special to Bill. The boy cared enough to give Bill a gift that cost him his life’s savings. The boy’s gift showed he cared for Bill personally; not his status in society. Even though the boy was poor, his gift was valuable.
This is similar to our situation with God. What gift do you give God Almighty? God is clearly the richest person in the universe. What do we have that could hold any value with God?
The Bible says obedience is something God values highly. Our obedience is one thing we can give God Almighty that He will cherish. This is especially true with total obedience.
The life of King Saul provides us with a couple of examples of the value of obedience. In the first situation (1 Samuel 13:5-14), King Saul and his army were surrounded by an incredibly large Philistine army. King Saul’s soldiers were terrified and starting to scatter. Although Samuel told him to wait for his arrival, King Saul got impatient and performed Samuel’s task (presenting the offerings to the Lord).
Immediately afterwards, Samuel showed up (I’m sure his late arrival was a test). Samuel said, "You have done foolishly: You have not kept the commandments of the Lord your God, which He has commanded you." As a result of his folly, Samuel said King Saul’s kingdom would not be established forever.
In the second situation (1 Samuel 15:1-23) King Saul was told to completely destroy the Amaleks, including all of their livestock. King Saul, however, spared the Amalek’s King and the best livestock. After the battle, the first thing King Saul said to Samuel was, "I have performed the commandment of the Lord." When questioned about all the animals he had brought back from the battle, King Saul still insisted he followed God’s instructions.
When pressed on the issue, King Saul said he kept the best of the livestock so he could offer them as sacrifices to the Lord. Samuel’s response was, "Has 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 listen than the fat of rams." As a result of this disobedience, King Saul lost his kingdom to David.
Psalm 116:15 says, "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints." Although this verse is often used at the funeral services of Christians, it is actually talking about Christians dying to themselves (or to their dreams). If you look at the previous verses, it is talking about making sacrifices to the Lord. God is saying it is precious to Him when we die to our own will. It is very precious to God when we choose to be obedient to Him and give Him complete control over our will.
In a previous chapter (The Suffering of Job) we saw how God is glorified when someone chooses Him in the midst of adversity. God is also glorified when we choose to be obedient when tempted. Our obedience brings God great pleasure. If our obedience in these "small" things makes God happy, think how excited He is when we choose to make the most important decision; becoming a Christian.
Other Chapters in this Section
Copyright © 1987 -2004 Michael Bronson | Site Design by Imagination 2 Reality