but the high priest rose up, and all who were with him (that is, the party of the sadducees), and filled with jealousy, they arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison. but during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, “go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.” and when they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and began to teach. [acts 5:17-21a]
obedience is not optional. obedience is not circumstantial. obedience is beautiful. so when we are commanded, we move.
there are a lot of circumstances in life when it seems like there must be exceptions to the rules. maybe we look at the commands of God’s word and say, “that doesn’t apply here.” or, “he would say differently if he knew this situation.” but here, we see the apostles, who had not asked for deliverance, and had not asked for the task to be easier, and had not even asked for a positive response to their preaching, but had asked for boldness to continue obeying. they don’t assume that God doesn’t understand the situation, they just follow in faith. they obeyed, it brought persecution, they were delivered, and then they were asked to go right back to doing what brought them trouble in the first place. what boldness! what an answer to their prayer!
when God commands, do you move in obedience?
- when God commands you to give generously, do you say, “i would if…”?
- when God commands you to forgive, do you say, “except this person”?
- when God commands you to speak the name of Christ, do you say, “that’s not allowed here”?
- when God tells you to lead, do you say, “that’s not my personality”?
- when God tells you to submit, do you say, “that was cultural to them”?
- when God tells you to be truthful, do you say, “lying is more helpful in this situation”?
- when God tells you not to let the sun go down on your anger, do you say, “it’s actually more helpful for us to just sleep on it”?
what commands of the Lord or principles in his word are difficult for you to follow? which ones seem situational? or which ones are you currently excusing?
we can rely fully on the goodness of God’s instruction to us. he loves us, he is infinitely wise, and he has given us a way to walk in step with his Spirit. just like the apostles, we can walk in obedience without excuse, without question, because we know he is for us, and because we know he is for his own glory. he will not fail. we can trust him and be bold!
the law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. more to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. [psalm 19:7-11]
~ arwen eastmen