This word is now unpopular in our culture.
Young brides delete it from their vows. Students know that they have the teacher all wrapped up in knots. Criminals get probation and light justice for their offences. Civil liberties arguments are used constantly to avoid duty and conformity.
But the concept of obedience in Biblical terms is the basis of peace, wisdom, usefulness and fellowship with the Most High God.
In John chapter seven at the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus’ doctrine was challenged by the religious authorities:
16…My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. 17. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.
He is challenging the Pharisees, as if to say, ‘Hop on board. Do the things that I tell you and the things that I demonstrate, and you will know the will of God, and you will know His unstoppable plan, and gladly play your part.’
Whether we know it or not that is the fulfilment that we are seeking at heart’s rock bottom.
A preacher once said that Moses did not issue the Ten Suggestions. They were commandments. Disobey and incur God’s wrath and withdrawal.
So what am I suggesting here? A return to Old Covenant sweat and strain. You can forget that. You will fail.
Jesus in His Upper Room Discourse provides the answer. Open to John 14:
13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
Consider verse 15 and know that the key is to develop love for Jesus. We do not want to displease the one we love. We will gladly scale tall heights and swim cold, dark waters to see the smile of our Beloved.
But must the obedience be unthinking? That is the question asked by many cynics in our information fattened age. That is the criticism lodged against authoritarian churches.
I would ask you to read Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians. Consider that it was dictated to a writer while the man calmly walked his jail cell under the scrutiny of a Roman guard. Is this the output of a mental lightweight? Hardly.
Note: As I finish this piece typing on Wi-Fi at the coffee shop, I hear the radio playing the song “Everybody’s Got a Hungry Heart”