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Module 1

Module 1

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Published by: Samuel Medina on Dec 21, 2010
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11/10/2011

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Obedience

Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey,
his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or
obedience unto righteousness?
--Romans 6:16

This particular element of Christʼs character would seem to be an obvious necessity,
yet, there are a wide variety of subtle (an not so subtle) ways in which we can be very
easily tricked into walking in disobedience, or to be negligent in the obedience that we
carry out. We must understand that whatever we yield to is what we truly obey. We may
have a genuine desire for closeness with God, a genuine call, and a sincere effort to do
the right thing, but in the end if we yield to things that are contrary to Godʼs purpose or
at least not conducive to it, we have obeyed those things and not Him.
There once was a man of God who was sent to deliver a 100% accurate prophetic
word to King Jeroboam, with specific instructions as to how to go about his assignment.

And, behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the word of the LORD unto
Bethel: and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense. And he cried against the altar
in the word of the LORD, and said, O altar, altar, thus saith the LORD; Behold, a child
shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the
priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and menʼs bones shall be burnt
upon thee. And he gave a sign the same day, saying, This is the sign which the LORD
hath spoken; Behold, the altar shall be rent, and the ashes that are upon it shall be
poured out. And it came to pass, when king Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of
God, which had cried against the altar in Bethel, that he put forth his hand from the altar,
saying, Lay hold on him. And his hand, which he put forth against him, dried up, so that
he could not pull it in again to him. The altar also was rent, and the ashes poured out
from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the
LORD. And the king answered and said unto the man of God, Intreat now the face of the
LORD thy God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored me again. And the man
of God besought the LORD, and the kingʼs hand was restored him again, and became
as it was before. And the king said unto the man of God, Come home with me, and
refresh thyself, and I will give thee a reward. And the man of God said unto the king, If
thou wilt give me half thine house, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor
drink water in this place: For so was it charged me by the word of the LORD, saying, Eat
no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest. So he went
another way, and returned not by the way that he came to Bethel. (1 Kings 13:1-10)

This man of God is never mentioned by name. He remains, nonetheless, one of only 12
individuals identified as a “man of God” in the Bible, including Moses, Joshua, Samuel,
David, Elijah and others. He was clearly not a minor league prophet by any means, and
the word he delivered came to pass, not only in the short term (v. 5), but also many

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years later (2 Kings 23:16). Now, when the King tried to reward him, the man of God
refused, being committed to obeying what God had instructed him to do. Many of us can
carry out an assignment from God to the letter, but so often it occurs that our obedience
is short-lived, as was the case with this particular man of God.

Now there dwelt an old prophet in Bethel; and his sons came and told him all the works
that the man of God had done that day in Bethel: the words which he had spoken unto
the king, them they told also to their father. And their father said unto them, What way
went he? For his sons had seen what way the man of God went, which came from
Judah. And he said unto his sons, Saddle me the ass. So they saddled him the ass: and
he rode thereon, And went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak:
and he said unto him, Art thou the man of God that camest from Judah? And he said, I
am. Then he said unto him, Come home with me, and eat bread. And he said, I may not
return with thee, nor go in with thee: neither will I eat bread nor drink water with thee in
this place: For it was said to me by the word of the LORD, Thou shalt eat no bread nor
drink water there, nor turn again to go by the way that thou camest. He said unto him, I
am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the LORD,
saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink
water. But he lied unto him. (1 Kings 13:11-18)

Then, during dinner, the lying prophet receives a real word from God, that not only
would the disobedient man of God die for his disobedience, but he would not be buried
with his fathers. In the culture of that time, to be unable to be buried with oneʼs
ancestors was a mark of great shame, and it was usually the fate of criminals, the very
poor, and anyone considered unclean, such as a leper. Another thing that is interesting
to note is that when the old prophet found the man of God, he was sitting under a tree.
Instead of getting as far away from the area as possible, he had not even gone far
enough to keep an old man from catching up to him! He had not “technically” disobeyed
yet, but by stopping for a break so close by, he had created the opportunity to be
deceived. It frequently occurs in modern ministry that leaders find themselves in
circumstances and situations that were actually created by our own carelessness and
the human tendency to do as little as is required of us. It is not enough to technically
obey, but we must be sure to be thorough in our obedience, or, like this nameless man
of God, we could very well end up falling prey to deception.

And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those
things that please him. (John 8:29)

Obedience isnʼt meant for some of the time, or most of the time, but rather all the time.
When I was in the United States Marine Corps, one of the officers who trained me
would constantly say to me during training, “100% effort, 100% of the time!” Shall we do
less for the Lord? This is not about human effort, or doing things in our own strength,
but about being completely committed to complete obedience. How many times have
many among us said “good enough” when we really meant “I donʼt feel like doing
better”? This is a very dangerous attitude to have, because it always leads to
disobedience. Remember these words:

Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid
wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and

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utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman,
infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass. (1 Samuel 15:2-3)

Now, many of us who are in leadership in ministry are very familiar with this story, and
we may have even preached on it, denouncing the evils of rebellion and stubbornness,
but sometimes we overlook the fact that this particular account was of a disobedient
leader. Saul tried to justify sparing the best of the sheep and the king of the Amalekites,
but Samuel wasnʼt fooled by his explanation, and neither was God. As many of us know,
Samuel told him:

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. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as
iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also
rejected thee from being king. (1 Samuel 15:22-23)

What is it that a witch does? A witch will use potions, demonic forces, or even just
persuasive words and any other means at their disposal to control and manipulate
people and events to conform to their own will. If then our incomplete obedience makes
us equal with witches in Godʼs sight, how are we to expect Him to bless our
disobedience? Exactly how much authority can we expect to have to heal the sick, cast
out demons, and thoroughly promote the Gospel when we reject Godʼs authority
through our self-will?
Also, if you are incomplete in your obedience, not only will you reap what youʼve sown,
but you may very well set events in motion that will affect our future, and possibly that
of others. It was an Amalekite who claimed to have killed Saul, and there were still
enough Amalekites around to make war with Israel (2 Samuel 1:1-13). Over 500 years
later, a descendant of Agag, whom Saul wanted to spare, tried to wipe out the nation of
Israel (Esther 3:1-6). Saul had sought to spare only Agag, but apparently while his army
was helping themselves to the spoils they should have destroyed, someone of Agagʼs
house was able to escape and survive to continue the bloodline. We should also
remember that we can only reproduce after our own kind. Lions donʼt beget rabbits, and
rats donʼt give birth to elephants. If we as leaders are incomplete, care- less, or
grudging in our obedience, we can be assured that we will raise up believers who may
very well resemble us in those ways.
Now, there are instances in which obedience will involve choosing between what is
good and what is best. Just because itʼs a good idea doesnʼt always mean that itʼs a
God idea. No matter what we do, weʼre always either called, sent, or self-appointed, and
this will come into play in everything that we do. It is just as dangerous (and perhaps
more so) to do what we are called to do at the wrong time or in the wrong context, or
with the wrong motives, as it is to do something God never called us to do in the first
place. For example, a prophet is called to prophesy, to speak in the name of the Lord,
but if he does so presumptuously, he has sinned against God. In fact, under the Law of
Moses, if a prophet spoke a genuine word from God that God had not commanded him
to speak, he was to be put to death (Deuteronomy 18:20). “We are not under the Law of
Moses anymore,” some will say, but we must understand that if we truly walk in the
Spirit, then the righteousness of the Law will be fullfilled in us (Romans 8:4), and since

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we know that God does not change (Malachi 3:6), then He still does not want prophets
to speak presumptuously, but rather that they do so according to His direction.
This principle stands for every call, every office, every situation. If God has called you
to a task, He will, at the appointed time, anoint you to perform that task. However, just
because youʼve been anointed to do it doesnʼt necessarily mean itʼs time to do it now.
David was anointed to be King of Israel when he was a youth (1 Samuel 16:1-13), but
he didnʼt become King until he was thirty years old (2 Samuel 5:4). Now, there are some
things that God will do quickly, and some that He may decide to do over a long period of
time, but the key is to do His will, so that no matter what the case may be, you remain
obedient.

For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
(John 6:38)

Obedience is a key to Godʼs blessing. After all, Abraham wouldnʼt have received the
promise if he had never obeyed God and left Ur, and Moses wouldnʼt have delivered
Israel if he had stayed in Midian for the rest of his life. Would we be saved if Jesus
hadnʼt gone to the cross? We must also remember, that while obedience is the way to
Godʼs blessing, it may not always result in immediate comfort, pleasure, or worldly
prosperity. There may very well be some things you will have to walk through to get to
your destiny that will be difficult, unpleasant, or even dreadful. If you think this is not
Biblical, remember that the Bible says this of Christ:

Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with
strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in
that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he
suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all
them that obey him; (Hebrews 5:7-9)

The man who walked in absolute perfection had to obey, even to the point of
submitting to unlawful arrest, torture, and a horrific death by crucifixion. If we also
recognize that the Bible tells us that the disciple is not above his master (Luke 6:40),
then we should always keep our hearts prepared to obey God, whether the result is
fabulous tangible blessings in this lifetime, or persecution and suffering. This is a point
which breaks many leaders, because so very often we listen to our human nature which
seeks its own comfort, and so it often occurs that leaders make decisions based on
what will produce the most favorable outcome in terms of physical, material, or
emotional comfort, usually justifying themselves with something along the lines of “I
know God wants me to be blessed.” Yes, He does, but you better be sure that youʼve
heard from God. If your decisions are characterized by seeking the path of least
resistance and self-interest, youʼre definitely not hearing from God. Remember, love is
not motivated by self-interest, and it is not selfish (1 Corinthians 13:5), and God is love
(1 John 4:16).

If we want to walk in the integrity of Christ, if we long to see Godʼs power made
manifest in our lives as it was through Christ in his earthly ministry, then we must obey
God in all things. This is the great secret of the power to heal the sick, raise the dead,
cleanse the lepers and cast out devils: Simply yield to God and obey Him.

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Points for discussion:

1.What is the difference between submission and obedience?

2.Examine the life of Abraham and his obedience to God, and determine how his
progression from believing the Promise to actually receiving it in the form of Isaac can
be seen in terms of his growth in obedience.

3.Think of a situation in which you suffered, and thoroughly evaluate it to determine
precisely what it was that God was teaching you about obedience, and how it can be
applied to your continuing development as a leader.

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