“Obedience is better than sacrifice!” My mama used to drill this into my head as a child (which isn’t altogether a bad thing, now that I reflect upon it). Usually, it was to remind me to just go ahead do what she’d said instead of analyzing it first, then putting my own “personalized interpretation” on it, and possibly getting around to doing what she’d told me to do much later than she desired. The scripture verse referenced comes from the story of King Saul who – to his own detriment, demise, and utter downfall – decided to “do his own thing” because he thought his idea was better than God’s (or perhaps he imprudently figured that God wouldn’t realize he did something different from what was instructed… and grossly miscalculated – I dunno).
Earlier today, I had the opportunity to minister encouragement to a precious sister in Christ. I was led to gently (but firmly) remind her that God had placed her husband in her life for her protection, and therefore she should stop trying to “figure it out” by herself, and receive the wisdom and counsel coming from within her own house, and apply it (in a timely manner) for her benefit. Well, wouldn’t you know I got tested on that very same thing within less than an hour of saying it to her?
My wonderful husband is fiercely protective of our family. Since I’m certain it has something to do with him taking seriously the fact that he will have to stand before God and give an account of how he cared for those he was given stewardship over, I really try not to give the brother a hard time! Being the health/safety/well-being oriented person (and hence weather-watcher) that he is, he was mindful of the fact that our area (multiple counties – indeed a great part of the state) is under a tornado warning until 10 p.m. Now I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a Doubting Thomas, but even after seeing the headlines on two local news websites and checking the weather app with the big ol’ red shading over 1/3 of the state, it really didn’t faze me; I was prepared to carry on with my planned evening routine…that is, until my hubby pulled rank and the emergency brake, and my plan came to a screeching halt.
His phone call during my commute was crisp, curt, and to-the-point, “I see how the weather is looking on this side of town; call and cancel the children’s piano lesson tonight.” Casually glancing around at the balmy sunshine and fluffy white clouds, I opened my mouth, then closed it after many thoughts zoomed through my head but I wouldn’t let them outta my lips, “It’s probably not gonna even do anything over this way…the piano teacher is 5 houses down the street from ours…even if something did happen, I’m sure we could get home safely…” It wasn’t worth a protest, or even asking my infamous “what if” since no commentary, opinion, or feedback had been invited or solicited. He had spoken; it was my turn to obey. So I did. (Score 10 “spiritually maturing wife” points for the short girl – she finally learned to just roll with the prophetic unction without asking 50 zillion questions because she didn’t have all the details). 🙂
By the time I’d picked up both children and we were heading home, little splotches of raindrops had turned into an all-out steady rain – who knew those pretty white clouds held such amounts of water on a sunny day? And if tornadoes were featured on The Weather Channel last night and thunderstorms were in the forecast, they were definitely heading this way. Needless to say, I’m glad to be where I’m supposed to be right now – at home in the ark of safety and under the Shadow of the Almighty – just like my hubby told me to be. As the piano teacher said, “I respect the power of those storms; no problem rescheduling their lessons!” Likewise, we must respect the power of those in authority over us who are merely trying to save our lives from hurt, harm, danger, and destruction. I don’t have to see debris flying all around me to realize the need for protection. No more walking the “obedience tightrope” without a net, hoping to thumb my nose after the fact and say, “See? I knew nothing would happen.”
Things I’ve learned about obedience:
- Delayed obedience = DISOBEDIENCE.
- There’s no such thing as “creative obedience” or “intended but poorly executed obedience.” That’s an obscure, self-deceiving excuse.
- We can call it any of these “other” things, but if it’s not obedience…it’s just not obedience! trying it my way first; testing out an option; eventually getting around to the original instruction; making a variation; proposing an alternative; being open to adaptation; allowing a modification; tolerating a glaring disparity or discrepancy; reworking; alteration; deviation; departure; distinction; difference…and the list goes on…
Call me apocalyptic (in light of the deluge and onslaught of current earthquakes, tsunamis, pestilence, plagues, and epidemics, do you really blame me?), but my prayer is that we hearken to the truth (and obey!)…no matter how the message is delivered. Pay attention, saints! It’s time out for foolishness in any form…selah.
“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 than the fat of rams.”
(I Samuel 15:22)
© Copyright 2014 by Kayren J. Cathcart