Obedience to God is not just some Old Testament emphasis that's been replaced by an emphasis on grace in the New Testament. That's why Jesus said, "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments" (John 14:15). That's why Paul said, amidst a discourse on grace, "How can we who died to sin still live in it?" (Romans 6:2). So when God sums things up in Jeremiah 7:23 by saying, "But this command I gave them: Obey My voice, and I will be your God", I need to heed that.
I'm quite sure that God speaks to me, directs me, counsels me, or simply commands me regularly. Daily. Many times a day. But am I listening? Or am I blithely carrying on in my own familiarity with all my routines, comfortable with my own momentum, feeling certain that I know what to do with my days? Jesus said, "You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am" (John 13:13). So does that mean I'm carefully listening to my Teacher each and every day, ready to obey Him as Lord? It may be that I often do that when the "big" things in life come up, but not necessarily with the "little" things.
But if I truly want to treat Jesus as my Teacher and Lord, and to obey His commands, then I ought to aim to be so sensitive to His voice that I can hear Him even amidst my ordinary routines, and so alert that I obey His voice even when He asks a very little thing of me. That's the way I can express that He is my God. And isn't it wonderful that immediately after Jesus explains that those who love Him ought to obey Him, He then says, "And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper [His Holy Spirit], to be with you forever" (John 14:16). The obedience God asks for is not something He leaves us to do by our own strength, but God helps us every step of the way!
So with such wonderful promises as that, it is wise to daily remind ourselves of what God said next in Jeremiah 7:23 -- "And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you." Obedience is never outdated.
© 2009 by Ken Peters
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