Immediate Obedience

When you read a command in the word of God, something that perhaps you have not been obeying well in your past, what do you do? What do I do? I think, if we are honest, we often will spend some time squirming and trying to figure out how not to have to obey the command. Or perhaps we think about the command, think about the inconvenience that repentance will cause, and then we determine what to do.

But let me be clear with myself, and with anyone who reads this: To wait to obey is to disobey. When we see the word of God clearly call us to turn from sin and follow him, we need to move right now. WE must be, as believers in the Lord Jesus, yielded to the word of God.

Look at this example from the book of Nehemiah.

Nehemiah 8:13-18 – 13 On the second day the heads of fathers’ houses of all the people, with the priests and the Levites, came together to Ezra the scribe in order to study the words of the Law. 14 And they found it written in the Law that the Lord had commanded by Moses that the people of Israel should dwell in booths during the feast of the seventh month, 15 and that they should proclaim it and publish it in all their towns and in Jerusalem, “Go out to the hills and bring branches of olive, wild olive, myrtle, palm, and other leafy trees to make booths, as it is written.” 16 So the people went out and brought them and made booths for themselves, each on his roof, and in their courts and in the courts of the house of God, and in the square at the Water Gate and in the square at the Gate of Ephraim. 17 And all the assembly of those who had returned from the captivity made booths and lived in the booths, for from the days of Jeshua the son of Nun to that day the people of Israel had not done so. And there was very great rejoicing. 18 And day by day, from the first day to the last day, he read from the Book of the Law of God. They kept the feast seven days, and on the eighth day there was a solemn assembly, according to the rule.

When the people heard Ezra and the other leaders teaching the word of God, they repented as a people. Suddenly, some of them, reading the law of God, saw that God commanded the people to celebrate the Festival of Booths. Part of that feast, as is obvious by the name, is that the people build little branch shelters and camp out for the week as a reminder of the wilderness wanderings of the nation of Israel.

Now, here is what is cool to me. When they saw this law, and when they saw they had not obeyed this law, the people just moved. All at once, as a people, they went out, got branches, and camped out. They stopped what they were doing, obeyed the word of God, and followed his commands as best they could. This was the first time in a long time that the people had obeyed this command, and I am sure it was inconvenient and a little weird, but they did what they were told.

Obviously, some commands require that we interpret them and understand them. Some are hard, and they take us some time to get to the point. But the real point is that, if you know that the word of God is telling you to do a certain thing, do it now. If you know that the word of God is telling you to stop a certain thing, stop it now. If obedience to the command of God is going to inconvenience you or embarrass you, obey anyway. People of God love the Lord and love his word. And obedience to the Lord should be as immediate as we can make it.