Short Reflection: To Love God Is To Honor Him & Obey His Will

Background: Solomon blessed the Lord after the temple was built.

But the Lord said to David my father, ‘Whereas it was in your heart to build a house for my name, you did well that it was in your heart. Nevertheless, you shall not build the house, but your son who shall be born to you shall build the house for my name.’
1 Kings 8:18‭-‬19 ESV

This passage speaks to me that when we have relationship with God, the overflow of God’s grace in our lives causes our hearts to honor Him more. And God sees and honors back the desires of our heart for Him. However, His plans are anchored on His sovereignty and these sure will always come to pass. Even David was a man after God’s heart, it was Solomon his son whom God willed to build the temple.

The love of the Lord should always comes with surrendering to His perfect will.

Soli Deo Gloria!

-Rhia

The Lord’s Rejection

And Samuel said, “Has 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 listen than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king.” Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice. Now therefore, please pardon my sin and return with me that I may bow before the Lord.” And Samuel said to Saul, “I will not return with you. For you have rejected the word of the Lord , and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel.” As Samuel turned to go away, Saul seized the skirt of his robe, and it tore. And Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you this day and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you.
1 Samuel 15:22‭-‬28 ESV

This passage describes how the Lord dealt with Saul’s habit of disobedience to God’s commands. Chapter 15 starts with God commanding Saul, thru Samuel, to annihilate the Amalekites.

And Samuel said to Saul, “The Lord sent me to anoint you king over his people Israel; now therefore listen to the words of the Lord . Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘I have noted what Amalek did to Israel in opposing them on the way when they came up out of Egypt. Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.'”
1 Samuel 15:1‭-‬3 ESV

One might first question why would God issue a command like this but I won’t be tackling it here. Instead, a helpful article that provides a background can be found here: Who were the Amalekites?

Going back to Saul, it was clear from the previous passage that God explicitly said what He wanted them to do. Saul and his people did not follow the Lord’s command. They decided themselves to keep all that was useful to them and put the useless to destruction.

But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep and of the oxen and of the fattened calves and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them. All that was despised and worthless they devoted to destruction.
1 Samuel 15:9 ESV

As we draw from the story, selective obedience is not obedience at all. In our time, we hear from the Lord and His commands through reading the Bible. We cannot just pick what we want to follow or what to believe in His Word. If we do, we are being like Saul. As believers, I know that at first there may be struggles obeying God but we have to be conscious and hopeful that Jesus is working on our hearts. He is settling our issues from grace to grace and next time we know, we have come to despise those areas in our lives that are not glorifying to God. This process is called sanctification.

Obedience is better than sacrifice. It is a great motto to remember when we are at the face of sinning. God is not pleased when we sin and think that we will just repent later. If we are just comfortable doing just like that then we have to assess if we are truly of God’s people. God rejects those that are not His.

Finally, Saul cared more about his reputation than going after God’s heart. His repentance was not genuine because he did it for the wrong reasons. He wanted the prestige of being a king among Israel but failed to obey the source of his authority. While Jesus, the Son of God, the perfect example of obedience to the Father when He demonstrated it by dying on the cross for our sins, was exalted high when He humbled Himself. He is still up to now reigning into the heavens and into the earth, fulfilling God’s plan.

Sole Deo Gloria!

-Rhia

The God Who Cares And Is Omniscient Whose Presence Blesses Those Who Obey Him

​Then the Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” He said, “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.” Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, ” I am who I am .” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘ I am has sent me to you.'” God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘The Lord , the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations. Go and gather the elders of Israel together and say to them, ‘The Lord , the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has appeared to me, saying, “I have observed you and what has been done to you in Egypt, and I promise that I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, a land flowing with milk and honey.”‘ And they will listen to your voice, and you and the elders of Israel shall go to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘The Lord , the God of the Hebrews, has met with us; and now, please let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God.’ But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless compelled by a mighty hand. So I will stretch out my hand and strike Egypt with all the wonders that I will do in it; after that he will let you go. And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and when you go, you shall not go empty, but each woman shall ask of her neighbor, and any woman who lives in her house, for silver and gold jewelry, and for clothing. You shall put them on your sons and on your daughters. So you shall plunder the Egyptians.”

Exodus 3:7‭-‬22 ESV

There is so much I like about these verses because it reveals also so much about our Almighty God. First, at the beginning verses, we see that He is a God who sympathizes and really cares for His people. He is not blind and deaf to sufferings and He wants to do something about it. It is one of the many times He wants to save His people. This gives me a reassuring thought that every time I face a difficult situation and pray, God will hear me.

Meanwhile, the succeeding verses says a lot about God being Omniscient. He is all-knowing. Not only He knew the sufferings of His people but He also knew in every detail how to deliver them. For sure, I would not want to challenge God to play chess with me (first reason is I forgot how to play chess but if He wants me to, then I’ll have to comply 😁). It is amazing how He has always answers to questions and even anticipate what is to come and how people will react. I believe in my heart that He can do this because God is love. He loves us so deeply and intimately that He knows all our tendencies more than we know our own. Just like when a parent predicts what the child will do in certain situation or a couple who knows or can guess how each other would react. These examples are all driven by love. Ultimately, God knows that man would rebel and will be sinful even before He created them so He devised a plan to save His people from eternal suffering by sending His Son Jesus to die for the sins of man. A one-time sacrifice that paid the past, present and future transgressions of man and those who have not even been born.

Moreover, I remember how God told Abraham about the slavery of his descendants to a foreign land more than 400 years prior. Isn’t God cool!

Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”

Genesis 15:13‭-‬16 ESV

One more about the Exodus passage, God is so encouraging and equips us as we serve Him. His presence is an assurance of the success He promise if we obey Him.

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” He said, “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”

Exodus 3:11‭-‬12 ESV

As humans, we have plenty of insecurities and uncertainties. We usually don’t do what we think we cannot do – we always go with sure thing. That’s why, it is very helpful to us that we are with God so He can direct us and give us the encouragement we need. Without Him, there are lots of opportunities we will miss in our lives for we feel more of our inadequacies. This brings me the thought of me serving in the LiveProd ministry. It was not my first choice but seems God put me there. Camera is not even my interest or hobby but what I have is time and I know God wants me to serve. He is not concerned if I don’t have a skill because He is really the One providing the shots I just need to hold the camera. Every time I serve, I’m blown away how my shots are used in the broadcast which I’m very thankful because He puts a purpose in me and I get to witness His mighty works in an awesome ministry. It is also thru His grace that I’m able to wake up so early to serve for the morning services or be able to sustain a whole day service. A feat that I honestly say I cannot do without His grace. Thank You Lord!!!

Soli Deo Gloria!

-Rhia