LOVE and OBEDIENCE
God expected Abraham to serve Him faithfully and live a blameless life. God has the same message for us today. We are to obey The Lord in every aspect because He is God- that is reason enough. If we do not think that the benefits of obedience are worth it, we must consider who God is.
The terms of the covenant (or contract) between God and Abraham were simple. Let’s look at that Covenant in detail. Genesis 17: 4-14
#1. God did not say He would make Abraham the father of a nation. God said that He would make Abraham the father of many nations.
# 2. Because Abram had agreed to God’s Covenant, God gave Abram a new name. His new name would be Abraham. He was now part of God’s family, so God gave him a new name.
# 3. The King James version of The Bible says that God would make Abraham exceedingly fruitful (multiply every thing that Abraham had) and that kings would come from his descendents.
# 4. God told Abraham in verse 7 (of Genesis 17) that He would establish this Covenant with all of his descendents, and their generations after them.
# 5. In verse 9, God told Abraham that he had to keep this covenant and all of his descendents were to keep it as well.
# 6. God required as part of this Covenant that Abraham was to circumsize all of his male descendents and himself as well. Anyone born in their camp, or who was a part of Abraham’s household was to be circumcised, even those males who were bought with money, even if they were not Abrahams children. (people who may have stayed with this tribe of people or had been bought with money)
If a male child was born after this Covenant , then on the eighth day after their birth, they were to be circumcised. Verse 14 says that if someone wasn’t, they were to be cut off from the people because they had broken His Covenant.
Did you know that if you are in Christ, that you are Abraham’s seed? Galatians 3:29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Why do you think that God made this provision in this Covenant?
In verse 11 in the KJV it says this: And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. In verse 13 is says in the second part of the verse : and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.
This was a sign that the person who bore this marking, was in agreement with God’s Covenant. This marking was their way of saying that they agreed to be obedient to God and that they too, in return for being obedient, that they would receive God’s blessing.
Most contracts are an even trade. We give something and in return, receive something of equal value. But when we become part of God’s family, and agree to His Covenant with us, the blessings we receive far outweigh what we must give up.
Let’s look back in time to another man that God made a Covenant with. Genesis 9:1-17
God will require each person to account for his or her actions. We cannot harm or kill another human being with out answering to God. A penalty must be paid. Justice will be served. Someone may think that they have gotten away with murder if they have never been caught, but God sees and knows all. Proverbs 15:3 The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.
Here God had explained why murder is so wrong. To kill a person is to kill someone who is made in His image and because all humans are made in His image, all people possess the qualities that distinguishes them from animals. When we interact with other humans, we are interacting with beings made by God. Beings to whom God offers eternal life and when someone takes away that persons opportunity to receive eternal life, we jeopardize our life by taking the life of one who is created in His image. God wants us to recognize His image in all people.
In the beginning, God told Noah in this Covenant that he could eat every moving thing that liveth, shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. All the veggies, all the grains, all the fish and the birds that they could catch, were theirs for meat, but they couldn’t eat something that was alive with blood still pouring in it’s veins because blood represents life.
God’s sign of His keeping His part of the Covenant with Noah and the generations to come afterward, was a rainbow set in the clouds. You may not believe this, but to see a rainbow ‘set in the clouds’ is a very rare thing.
see attached copy from a link I found on the internet from national geographic) Every time we see it now, we can remember God’s covenant with Noah and with us that He will never destroy the earth again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. After Noah and his family came out of the ark, Noah built an alter and sacrificed the animals that had been taken in to the ark that had been approved of and set aside, just for that purpose. The Lord answered Noah’s prayers and offering with a promise. Genesis 8:20-22
Even though God knows that our hearts are evil from birth, He keeps showing His love and patience towards us, in order to save us from all that is evil and wants to destroy and kill us. So not only is the rainbow in the clouds a sign of His covenant that He will never flood the earth again, but the seasons of Spring, Summer, Fall & Winter are signs of His promise to never curse the earth or destroy all living things.
The next time we see something like a Covenant is in the book of Exodus 20:1-17
God has expectations and before we commit our lives to Him, we need to understand that to receive His blessings, we must obey Him. We wouldn’t go out a buy a car with out looking at the contract. We want to be sure that we can make a commitment in order to make a covenant with God.
God doesn’t want us to worship any other God. In some countries, they still worship idols that are statues. God doesn’t want us to worship idols either. He doesn’t want us to misuse His name. God’s name is special because it carries with it, His personal idenity. Using it frivolously or in a curse is so common today that we fail to realize how serious it really is. We can not praise and worship God with the same lips that curse Him.
We are to remember the Sabbath day and keep it Holy. Every day begins as the sun goes down in the evening and then ends the following day at sundown as the new day begins. How we know this is from the very first created day. Genesis 1:5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
He began creating when every thing was dark when He said, let there be light. The Sabbath day was the last day of the week of creation when He took His rest. The Sabbath is a day that we are told to remember and to keep it Holy. It was the ‘only’ day of creation that He blessed, that is how important of a day it is.
The first day of the week that Jesus arose from the grave was a Sunday and this is why folks began to celebrate Sunday but this is not what God commanded is it? I can’t even tell you how many times I have watched folks go to church on the first day of the week and then go home and mow their lawns. Didn’t God also say ‘not’ to work on this day at all? Now I also understand why the gait is straight and the way is narrow which leads into life, and few there be that find it.
Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a sabbath of rest to the LORD: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death. ~ Exodus 35:2
And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. ~ Genesis 2:2-3
When we accept Jesus into our life, we find eternal rest. Jesus even told us while He was hear on this earth: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest“. ~ Matthew 11:28
All one has to do to figure out which is the seventh day is to look at any calendar.
We are to honor our parents and this is the only commandment that comes with a promise of long life. But how can we honor our parents to get this promise? We should speak well of them and speak politely to them. It also means that we should treat them with respect and be courteous with them, even behind their backs. They too are created in His image, just like we are and we need to respect His image. Parent’s have a special place in God’s sight. Remember, He made a decision to have someone else raise up His Son Jesus. This also told me that God respects parents who adopt children. Even when we are not getting along with our parents we are still commanded to honor them. If we want to live long and prosper, we need to honor our folks.
We already learned that we are not to murder.
We are not to commit adultery, once we are married so remember to carefully choose your life time mate because they are yours for a life time.
We are not to steal and this includes anything that belongs to another person. If it doesn’t belong to us, taking it would be stealing.
Since we are not to commit adultery, I think it is safe to say that we are not to take away from someones privacy of their body either or share our bodies with someone else since someday the body that we are given is supposed to belong to our lifetime mate. We shouldn’t give away what isn’t ours to give should we?
Many of us are guilty of just such a thing and I have had to repent for my actions, like everyone else will have to repent for theirs.
We must always remember this too! Somewhere a mother or a father is kneeling beside their bed each night, praying for the future mate of their child. We should never interfere with the prayers of a praying parent. Picture this image in your mind and hold on to it and see if you don’t feel differently when you think about how you will feel about your children someday. Will you be praying for their future mate too?
We are not supposed to lie about our neighbor, which means anyone who is in our neighborhood. I consider my whole county my neighborhood but I believe that this commandment means that we are not to tell a lie, period.
And last but not least , we are not supposed to covet anything our neighbor has at all. We are supposed to be satisfied with what we have and that is: all that God has provided. We can appreciate the fact that God blesses our neighbor, just like He blesses us.
We need to keep our promise to God because He expects us to be obedient. He loves us and wants to bless us but He can not bless us when we are not keeping our word to Him.
Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them. If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say, “Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you.” Proverbs 3: 27-28
With holding our very best to God is unfair to Him. He has already ‘loved us first’, He has already ‘provided for us first’ When it is in our power to give Him our best, we must do as He asks. He wants us to love everyone and to do right by them.
He wants us to think of others before we think of ourselves. When was the last time we held a door open for an elderly. We have no idea how it makes them feel when someone as young as us, stops and shows them respect to hold a door open for them. I challenge you this week to go above and beyond your own desire and to do something unusually kind for someone who is not a member of your family.
If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 1Corinthians 13:1
Did Jesus leave us with a covenant? Lets find out… Mark 12: 28-34 Notice that the love of God must begin in our heart first and then our mind and then with all of our strength? It becomes a total surrender of everything that we are and ever hope to be.
I call this the one-two power punch.. The Pharasees , (the religious readers) by this time had come up with their own laws because they didn’t like having to conform to God’s laws. They took some of them and expanded them and added more restrictions and boundaries than was necessary.. Jesus comes along and they don’t want Him around because the truth speaks to their heart and makes them uncomfortable. They like to be comfortable and in charge of their own life. They like the freedom in their own ways and their own choices and they do not want to change. If they can trip up Jesus, then they can get rid of Him, they can have Him arrested for blasphemy and then they can keep their own ways. Notice Jesus always had to deal with religious people. They always got in the way of His teachings and religion still does this today. Jesus taught about the kingdom of God. He wanted everyone to become kingdom thinkers and have a kingdom mind set. BUT: Jesus was not religious. Religion is not a relationship.
Jesus answers: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. This kind of summarized t all together don’t you think? When we love God with all of our heart, all of our mind, and all of our soul and with all the strength that’s in us… If we pour it all at His feet, we are no longer burdened. We find such a peace that we don’t have to worry about making sure we keep His laws and commandments and truth and be obedient. We do it because we love Him and do not want to disappoint Him. It becomes a natural way of life because the Spirit leads and guides us into all truth.
These commands are not just from Jesus as one might think. Jesus never spoke out against any of God’s law and He never changed God’s laws either.
Let’s look back in time and see if we can find a similar statement. Deuteronomy 6:1-5 They are teachings set in place to teach the community how to live in a community where God knew that there would be troubles because man kind seems to want to live their own way and look at how well we have done?
In the Mark passage, we read that there was a second commandment as well. In verse 31 we read these words that Jesus spoke: “ And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”
By the way, did you notice that Jesus was quoting what was written in what is called the Old Testament? Read Deuteronomy 6: 4-9 This is what is known as the Shema. Those who are in covenant with God, read this to their children each night. These words are even sold inside of something called a Methuza, an object that is hung on apartments and houses all across the world, letting those outside the door know that the folks that live inside are in covenant with the God of Israel.
Did Jesus discount any of the Ten Commandments?
When we love God completely and care for others as we care for ourselves, then we have fulfilled the intent of the Ten Commandments and the laws. According to Jesus, these two commandments summarize all of God’s laws. Let them rule your thoughts and actions and as you do, and as you make a decision to commit yourself to keeping God’s law and His commandments, your actions will follow your decisions.
Lets look back in time and see if we can find a similar commandment regarding the second one that Jesus spoke of. Leviticus 19:18
Through out the Bible, we often see in the Old Testament I am the Lord… or I am The Lord your God. But when we see Jesus using the same wording about the laws of old, we can know that by caring out Jesus’ simple commands, we find ourselves following all of God’s other laws as well.
We have worked on obedience to learn His laws and commandments. Now that we know what He expects regarding His laws it really doesn’t seem like that big of a deal does it?
What about love?
By obeying Him, doesn’t that show that we love Him?
Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
Sin makes us unclean so that we cannot approach God any more than a beggar in filthy rags could dine at a kings table. Our best efforts and intentions are still infected with sin, if we do not have love. Our only hope, therefore, is faith in Jesus Christ, who can cleanse us and bring us into God’s presence. Jesus told us that we can not go to the Father with out going through the Son. Lets find that verse and really look into that. John 14:6
This is one of the most basic and important passages in scripture. How can we know the way to God?
Only through Jesus. Jesus is the way because He is both God and man. By uniting our lives with His, we are united with God. Trust Jesus to take you to the Father, and all the benefits of being God’s child, will be yours.
Jesus says that He is the only way to God the Father. Some people may argue that this way is too narrow. In reality, it is wide enough for the whole world, if the world chooses to accept it. Instead of worrying about how limited it sounds to have only one way, we should be saying, “Thank You God, for providing ‘a sure way’ to get to You”.
As the way, Jesus is our path to the Father.
As the truth, Jesus is the reality of all God’s promises.
As the life, Jesus joins His divine life to ours, both now and eternally.
Jesus said these words:
If ye love me, keep my commandments. ~ John 14:15
This same thing was written in the days of old: ” And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.” ~ Deuteronomy 5:10
How can we show Jesus that we love Him? We know that our works are like a filthy rag with out love so just doing His will won’t work. But it is a great start. It is when we do it with love that we begin to please God. We have already learned that it is impossible to please God with out faith. So let’s try another avenue.
Does anyone have any idea how we can get close enough to God to begin a personal relationship with Him?
Couldn’t God have created more angels? After we read those three scriptures, we found that God wanted to build man in His image. God wanted to create a human race so that He could have communion with them. He already had angels, but He wanted humans. He wanted a family.
God created us to be His family and crowned us with His glory. Psalms 8:3-8
To respect God’s majesty, we must compare ourselves to His greatness. When we look at His creation, we feel small by comparison. To feel small , compared to God is a very healthy way to get back to reality. When we look at the vast expanse of creation, we wonder how God could be so concerned for people who constantly disappoint Him. Yet God created Jesus only a little lower than Himself or the angels!
Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
So the next time you question your worth as a person, remember that God considers you highly valuable. We have great worth because we bare the stamp of the creator. We bare His image.
We should never have moments of feeling worthless, because to Him, we are worth so much more.
To bare His image and to know that God could have created angels instead of humans and then didn’t, tells us how badly He wanted a family.
To send His only Son Jesus to deliver us from certain death and to heal us as sinful creation gone wrong, proves to me that God wants us back. God was so willing to do that, that Jesus had to die, to take upon Himself, our sins. Yes… Jesus loves us.
Do not plot against your neighbors, for they trust you. Don’t make accusations against someone who hasn’t wronged you. Proverbs 3: 29-30
I’m Somebody because I’m created in the image and likeness of God.
God Himself has crowned us with glory and honor. His glory is seen in us, and our bodies are for His glory.
I’m Somebody because Christ gave Himself for me. He became human like me. He leads me to God. He forgives my sins. He gives me endurance and inner strength. I’m Somebody with Special Gifts for service.
The gift of encouragement,
The gift of discipline,
The gift of accepting others,
The gift of forgiving,
The gift of love,
The gift of prayer,
The gift of thankfulness,
and the Source of all gifts lives in me.
I’m Somebody with something to share. I can share my Lord with friends, and with strangers. I can share myself through humble service. I can share myself through unselfish love, and giving whatever I have. I’m Somebody with decisions to make. Decisions determine my destiny. My decisions affect others. some decisions are difficult to make. Christ will guide my decisions, if I let Him. I’m somebody with Someone at my side. God’s Spirit will teach me everything, and lead me into all truth.
~ Author Anonymous