2009-07-22 / Religion

'The Consequences of Disobedience'

Inspiration

(Pastor James Scarborough, Donalsonville Assembly of God)

We had some dear friends at our house for supper a few days ago, and as always, we had a great time together enjoying good food and each other's company. The guests' children finished eating before we did, so they excused themselves from the table and drifted back into another room to check out Mallory's toys while she was not there. As we adults continued to sit at the table, it became apparent that the two young children had become strangely quiet. Their silence was so noticeable that Gale knew that they needed to be checked on. When she got to where they were, she detected that something suspicious was going on. She asked Anna Beth if she had broken something. The usually verbal four-yearold did not say a word, did not look up at Miss Gale, but with bowed head she shook her head to signify that nothing was broken. It was then that her older brother told Gale that she should look at his sister's face. When Anna Beth finally looked up, the mystery of the quietness was solved: she had black marker all around her lips!

While what Anna Beth did was more humorous than harmful, and should probably be taken as an exercise of her imagination rather than a demonstration of rebellion, it reminded me that there are lots of things that we have to teach children- -we teach them how to eat, walk, talk and to attend to their personal needs--, but we do not have to teach them to be disobedient.

The consequence for Anna Beth was only a mild verbal reminder that she should not rub marker all over her face, but the consequences of deliberate disobedience- -especially disobedience against God--are much more severe.

In Deuteronomy 8, shortly before the Jewish people crossed over into the land that had long been promised to them, God spoke to them through Moses about the importance of obeying His instructions. These words are recorded in verse 1: "Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the Lord promised on oath to your forefathers" (NIV). After giving them additional instructions about obedience, the chapter closes with some very stern words of warning: "Like the nations the Lord destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the Lord your God" (verse 20).

Along with the essential things such as reading, writing and reasoning that we know that we must teach our children, we will be failing them miserably if we do not also teach them the importance of obedience to God and His Word and the tragedy that results from refusing to submit to Him.

Like the Israelites that Moses addressed in Deuteronomy, God's people today--those who have surrendered their lives in faith to Jesus Christ--are on a journey to a land of promise. But that land of promise is not of this earth, but in the eternal Heaven in the presence of God. To miss that destination through disobedience of God's Word is to receive the consequences of eternal death. Though not popular anymore, the truth of God's Word remains unchanged: disobedience comes with a high and horrible price.

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