• Obedience, Knowledge, and Responsibility

    Obedience, Knowledge, and Responsibility

    by Chuck Kuhler

    Before we as Christian Israelites can be obedient to Yahweh our God, we have to have a degree of knowledge and recognize just what our responsibilities are. Before progressing any further, let us consider the definitions of these words.

    Obedient: 1) state or fact of being obedient; 2) practice of obeying; 3) dutiful or submissive; subject to some authority, especially of ecclesiastical nature.

    Knowledge: 1) acquaintance with facts; 2) familiarity with a particular subject; state of being cognizant; that which is known or may be known.

    Responsibilities: 1) state or fact of being responsible; 2) a particular burden of obligation; 3) on one's own initiative or authority.

    All three of these evaluative criteria are necessarily linked, and they must be understood in order for us to ascertain and determine if we are achieving the ultimate goals. Obedience is adherence to the Laws of God, and if we are not adherent, we are in violation of the law. In 1 John 3:4 we read: "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law; for sin is the transgression [or disobedience] of the Law." Now as hard as we may try, we do realize that as sinners, we are constantly violating God's Laws, as it is the very nature of man.

    Consider the analogy of a parent and child. Too often today, we see and encounter spoiled and disobedient children throwing tantrums in public and making unreasonable demands upon frustrated and unhappy parents. Or children just grizzling and getting upset because they can't have their own way. In many instances (though not all), the disobedient child will receive some form of punishment for their conduct and actions. Aren't we who consider ourselves adults, children? We are the children of our Heavenly Father, and do we expect no punishment when we are disobedient to His Laws? Obedience to God requires us to consider and think about our actions and conduct on a daily basis as we go through life. This is not just something that we should abide by and adhere to on the sabbath only. We are admonished by the apostles in Acts 5:29: "We ought to obey God rather than men," and yet today we continue to obey man rather than God. We are to be obedient to the laws of God, but the main problem is that in many instances, our people do not know what the laws of God are.

    Most "Christians" are aware of the Ten Commandments, but in a recent study, not one in a hundred could enumerate what all ten of the commandments were, and only one in more than 3,000 "Christians" could explain the meanings. This is indeed a sorry statistic, and one that the "Christian Churches" ought to be ashamed of. It is an accurate reflection on just how good a job they are doing. And let us not forget that the commandments are not the total law ... we have the statutes and judgments, mostly found in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, which cover a broad spectrum of specific instructions on how we are to conduct our lives. And to those misinformed individuals who like to claim that the "Law" was done away with, and that we should be considered New Testament Christians, under the grace of God alone, I stress, without law there is chaos and anarchy. And let us not forget that the commandments are not the total law ... we have the statutes and judgments, mostly found in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, which cover a broad spectrum of specific instructions on how we are to conduct our lives. And to those mis-informed individuals who like to claim that the "Law" was done away with, and that we should be considered New Testament Christians, under the grace of God alone, I stress, without law there is chaos and anarchy.

    The question therefore is: "If we do not know the law, how can we possibly be obedient to it?" If you don't know the speed limit on a particular street or road, how can you be sure that as you drive along, you are not in violation of the law? It is the same with God's Laws, except the Father's laws are spelled out very carefully and explicitly in the Bible. All we have to do is open the book, read the appropriate chapters and verses, and see how they apply to us, and what we should be doing.

    Most "Christians" are not particularly interested in all of the little details of God's Laws. they are aware of the fact that there are the commandments, even if they don't know them, for the most part, these "Christians" depend upon their preachers to keep them informed as to just what the Scriptures have to say. But the sorry fact is that many of the preachers themselves are ignorant of both what the laws are and how they apply to God's people. And if you inform God's children of what the laws are and how they apply, why you could stir up some trouble among the congregation ... and today's preachers avoid that like the plague.

    Yahweh our Elohim has brought the matter into sharp focus, in the book of Hosea 4:6 when He said: "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to Me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of God, I will also forget thy children." Ezekiel 34:2-11 speaks to those "career-minded" individuals who are supposed to be watching God's sheep: "Son of man prophecy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them. Thus saith the LORD God unto the shepherds: Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have you sought that which was lost; but with force and cruelty have ye ruled them. And so they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, My flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them. Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; As I live, saith the LORD God, surely because My flock became a prey, and My flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did My shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves and fed not my flock; Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: Thus saith the LORD God; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require My flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock: neither shall the shepherds feed themselves anymore; for I will deliver My flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them. For thus saith the LORD God: Behold, I even I, will both search My sheep, and seek them out." The shepherds are not following God's Word. They have no fear of the Almighty's wrath and anger.

    The true knowledge is absent and lacking from those who are supposed to be the "experts" on God's Word. With some few exceptions the pabulum which is spooned out every week by these shepherds is "tasteless." Controversy is to be avoided at all costs—it might divide the congregation and even cost you your job. When faced with the choice of serving God or man, they inevitability choose the latter. This does not however eliminate or alleviate our responsibility to adhere to and follow God's Word. We have an individual responsibility to both know and follow the Law.

    Our Savior tells us in Luke 11:28: "...Blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it." Those who hear the word of God, and keep the word of God, are being obedient to God. And Christ Jesus further informs us in John 15:10-17. I think that verse 16 should be given particular notice where it reads: "Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you ...."

    In Matthew 7:21 we read: "Not every one that saith unto Me, LORD, LORD, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven." Those that do the will of the Father are being obedient to Yahweh.

    We know that the word "obedience" means, and we should continue to strive to be obedient to the word of God. We have the "knowledge" of what is required to be obedient. By reading the Scriptures and studying the Word of God, we do not have to depend upon some self-serving, misguided, or ill-informed false shepherd. We have the individual "responsibility" to abide by the Word of God, by His Laws as defined and enumerated in the Bible, and though we be weak in the flesh, to continually strive in our quest for obedience to our Father.

    In Matthew 5:11-16, we read: "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost its savor; wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

    Be bold in your beliefs and your obedience to Yahweh our God. Be neither ashamed or afraid of what others may think. Be a trend-setter when it comes to your conduct towards God. Remember, be not like those "Christians" who feel that their obligation is limited to one hour per week (or one day per week) and then they revert back into the character that occupies them for the balance of the time. Put your trust in God and in His Son, our Savior Christ Jesus. Amen.
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