I’ve studied the books of Isaiah and Jeremiah.
And I have to admit, I feel bad for the prophets. I’ll bet they didn’t get invited to many parties! They spent their lives proclaiming God’s impending judgment on His people for their failure to trust God through obedience and love.
The more I read and studied, the more God lit this fire in my soul as He showed me verse after verse that could apply to our culture today.
A few verses that hit me hard are…
What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet bitter. Isaiah 5:20
Then the Lord gave this message to Jeremiah: “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: Go and say to the people in Judah and Jerusalem, ‘Come and learn a lesson about how to obey me.'” Jeremiah 35:13
“Again and again I sent my servants, the prophets, to plead with them, ‘Don’t do these horrible things that I hate so much.’ But my people would not listen or turn back from their wicked ways.” Jeremiah 44:4–5a
These and other verses like them started my spirit squirming and I felt the Lord prodding me to write about the connection between obedience and love.
This is the deal…
I know you and I live under the New Covenant. We are saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus.
Still, throughout the Bible, God says an important part of living our faith is doing our best to obey God’s commands and follow His will in loving response to who He is and all He’s done. In response to His love!
You see, the thing I keep thinking about is this…
Much of what the people were doing that brought about God’s punishment was passed down from one generation to the next. They listened to the wrong voices and when God sent them prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah, they ignored them and continued to do what they’d always done — worshipping idols and ignoring the Sabbath.
And I wonder about the idols I might be serving without even realizing it and if I’m honoring the Sabbath the way God wants me to.
Because I love God and I want to love Him through obedience.
Something else Jeremiah called out – is that the people followed a worship ritual but maintained a sinful lifestyle. It was religion without a personal commitment to God. (Life Application Bible Notes Jeremiah 7:2–3)
I keep wondering if we’re worshipping God the way He wants … not only in honoring the Sabbath by going to church but by the way we spend that day and every other day of the week.
Again, remember … I’m not throwing out grace here. I am totally dependent on Gospel grace.
It’s easy to view the Old Testament as all “Law” and the New Testament all “Gospel.” But all of Scripture from Genesis through Revelation points to Jesus and He is the Gospel … obedience and love in human flesh!
God selected Abraham and his descendants as His chosen people not to exclude the other nations but because He wanted to draw all people to Himself through them. Had the Israelites followed God’s will they would have shown surrounding nations the blessings of living as God’s children.
God wanted His people to be “holy” or “set apart” … to look different from everyone else because as He blessed their obedience, others would want what they had.
Isn’t that what God wants for Jesus’ followers today?
When people see us enjoying the blessings of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control … they should want what we have.
That’s the backstory of God’s prompting and prodding me to write this new series.
It fits with my word for the year – SEEK.
And my verse, which is…
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need. Matthew 6:33
There’s another one found just a few verses later:
“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7
So, you and I are going to ASK, SEEK, and KNOCK as we take a closer look at some of the hard questions facing Christians today about obedience and love.
Is the Bible the Inspired and inerrant Word of God?
What does it mean to have NO OTHER GODS?
Does God care how I REMEMBER THE SABBATH?
How should I honor my parents when they make me crazy?
And then we’ll look at some of the hard sayings of Jesus like:
“Love your enemies.”
“Why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say?”
And with each post, we’re going to ASK, SEEK, and KNOCK.
- ASK – Ask hard questions and ask God to reveal His truth and wisdom to us.
- SEEK – Seek answers by searching through Scripture.
- KNOCK – Knock down lies and walk through the door Jesus opens into freedom.
You and I serve an awesome and amazing God!
I want everyone to know, love, and trust Him.
Yet, for some reason, followers of Jesus are represented as judgmental and hypocritical.
Maybe we can change that!
Shouldn’t we try?!
This is important…
I’m on this journey with you!
I don’t have all the answers. I will never preach at you. I will only ask questions with you and I hope you’ll join me as we search for answers together. You see, although you and I may not have the answers now … we know the One who does and I believe, He wants us to know them.
I need your help with a couple of things and would love to hear from you…
I want to know your hard questions. What do you want to talk about?
And… I want to know your stories about the ways God is revealing the importance of loving Him through obedience.
Why seeking the truth about obedience and love is important to me…
I spent much of my life trying to be a “good girl.” I obeyed the rules and wore myself out trying to please God and people.
More recently, I’ve realized that some of the rules I was trying to obey were based on tradition not necessarily God’s will as He revealed it through His Word.
I want to know the difference. I want to know what’s important and what isn’t. Don’t you?
Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. John 14:21
“All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them. Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me.” John 14:23–24
And He promised:
“I am leaving you with a gift — peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. John 14:27
I love Jesus. I want to know His commands and obey them.
I want people to see the blessings of Jesus in my life and want what I have.
I want them to know the blessings of loving Jesus, too.
Are you ready to ASK hard questions, to SEEK God’s will, and KNOCK on the door that Jesus will open … the one that leads to blessed freedom, joy, peace, love, and so much more?
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