Why We Need to Rely on God, and Obey Him

Sam Petitfils

"In those days there was no king in Israel.  Everyone did what was right in his own eyes."  Judges 21:25

The period of the judges was, for the most part, a dismal time in Israel’s history, characterized by flawed leaders, almost no spiritual stability, and self-centeredness.  Rather than anchoring their trust in God, Israel went after the gods of the surrounding nations, worshiping them and falling into all sorts of degrading sins.  As a consequence, God repeatedly judged them by allowing neighboring nations to subdue them.  Finally, because of their desperate situation, Israel would repent and call out to God.  God, for His part, would then deliver His people.

The question we pose today is really simple and to the point: Where does disobedience lead?

Jesus pointed out the futility of calling Him Lord, yet not doing what He commands (Luke 6:46).  He likens the disobedient heart to a man building his house upon the sand, without a proper foundation, sliding away at the first sight of rain (Luke 6:49).  Just think of some of the characters in the Book of Judges, like Samson and Jephthah, who had some good moments.  Ultimately, they caved into impulsive cravings and selfish desires. Where did it lead them? What was the outcome? Samson lost his sight and, later, his life.  Jephthah lost his daughter.  They paid a stiff price for their disobedience.

At the heading above, we ask the question, “Why do we need to rely on God?”  We need to rely on God for several reasons.

1.) We need to rely on God because He is God and we are not.
God alone is worthy (Revelation 5:9-10).  If God commands us to obey, we need to do so even if we cannot find any benefits from it.  We obey because He commands; we follow Him because it pleases Him.  We really need no other reason.

2.) We need to rely on God because we lack the wisdom to live life apart from Him.
Here men and women often shrug off God because they suppose they can figure things out.  It’s almost comical to watch were it not so tragic.  They impulsively run up blind alleys, paint themselves into corners, and step into a pit of quicksand.  What does it get them?  More misery.  We need wisdom to live our life, and wisdom begins with fearing God (Proverbs 9:10).

3.) We need to rely on God for our own well-being.
Constantly the Bible reminds us that if we follow God it will go well with us.  Even King Saul would have fared well had he obeyed (1 Samuel 13:13).  Instead he followed his own instincts and wound up dethroned and dead.

Here we could mention numerous positive examples.  King David, except for a dark period in his life, prospered because he obeyed. He also relied on God for direction and guidance (1 Samuel 23:1-4), and things went well. He still had to face problems, even severe ones, but God was with Him and so he prospered.

How about us?  Where has disobedience led us?  What fruit has it produced?  Are we at peace with God, or do we harbor sins we need to confess?  Do we act impulsively, without seeking God first?

When we ask ourselves these questions, we need to convert them into a prayer:  "Show me Lord, where I have failed you and I will confess it as a sin.”  Then we need to trust in God and prove that trust by walking in a pattern of obedience.  God will provide the strength for you to rely on Him and obey Him (Philippians 4:13). Seek His face, and trust in His wise leading.  You will never be disappointed.

Trust and Obey
When we walk with the Lord, in the light of His word
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still
And with all who will trust and obey. 

Trust and obey, for there's no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

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