Do you believe that there is a connection between faith and obedience, doubt and disobedience? I do. Most of the time we view faith as a set of beliefs or feelings and ignore the fact that faith also relates to behaviour. I have found that people with strong faith possess a faith ‘attitude’ ie. they have the correct attitude and beliefs about God which is generally developed through a range of experiences and that these experience engender feelings of trust and security which in turn leads to increased levels of obedience. People who struggle in their faith walk tend to show the opposite characteristics. But what does the Bible tell us about the connection between faith and obedience?
I really want to focus on the account of Samuel and Saul as told in 1 Samuel 15 which outlines the events leading up to the kingdom finally being taken away from King Saul. God gave Saul a commandment and Saul disobeyed (partial obedience is still disobedience) again and instead did what he felt was best to do ie. saving the Gentile King and slaughtering the sheep for a burnt offering. What interests me is that Saul really saw nothing wrong with what he’d done, he’d killed all the Amalekites save the King, he’d managed to get all their goodies and add them to his own store house and on top of that he’d even offered a sacrifice to God (real brownie points here, no?).
No. When Samuel is confronted with the post-conquering scene, he sees just how much Saul has disobeyed God and pulls Saul up on this, again. Saul replies and says I took the sheep to sacrifice them to the Lord thy God, to which God answers (through Samuel) verse 22 and 23:
Hath the LORD [as great] delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey [is] better than sacrifice, [and] to hearken than the fat of rams.
For rebellion [is as] the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness [is as] iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from [being] king.
I feel that this chapter and indeed the reign of King Saul clearly shows the link between faith and obedience and doubt and disobedience, you may question whether Saul actually doubted God, he did otherwise why would he have disobeyed Him and why address God as Samuel’s God and not his own? But in addition to this I feel that this book tells us something about the mentality and consequences of a doubting individual. The incident described in chapter 15 was really the last nail in Saul’s coffin and from then forward God had in spirit if not in the physical given the crown over to someone who would believe and trust Him and hear and obey Him (mostly). I see Saul’s doubt as a precursor to a chain of events not only leading to the loss of his crown but to an untimely and brutal death. At the end of the day, it wasn’t the sheep being sacrificed but Saul himself and this is what I call being a victim of dangerous disobedience.
So why have I told you all of this, surely not another comparison on Saul vs David? The reason I am telling you this is to set the scene for something which I have gone through this weekend past. To be blunt Saturday onwards has been horrible for me simply because I failed to heed and obey the Word of God, as a consequence I ended up sacrificing my health and wellbeing when that should not have been the case. Let me explain.
Usually, I am one of those people who avidly read the ingredients to everything I consume and use and discard anything that seems to have an unatural or a known toxin. On Friday, I was absolutely desperate to dye my hair (being 30 and gray doesn’t go done well with me) and I had bought what I thought was a natural henna hair dye. On reading the box, I saw two things which set off alarm bells in my head:
- A chemical ingredient called PPD
- The product was halal
I felt God telling me not to use the product but I pushed it aside (think Saul) and thought to myself “what’s the worst that could happen?” So I went ahead and dyed my hair, but lo and behold the next day I started to feel a resurgence of my old symptoms return which had been dormant for many months. At first I thought I might have eaten something I shouldn’t have but, when the intensity of the symptoms increased I knew it was more than a food issue. After much prayer and introspection I realised that the culprit was the hair-dye, in particular the chemical included in the dye. For those of you who do not know I have been diagnosed with CFS which is both a nerve and immune system disorder, up until this time God had been doing some wonderful things for me but this chemical turned out to be both a nervous and immune system toxin!!!
So here I am today, I’ve gone back in time reliving horrible symptoms just because I chose not to obey God’s voice. I praise God that in His mercy, the symptoms are not as bad as they have been at their very worst, but they are bad enough for me to regret ever sacrificing myself in this way by putting my desire over obeying God’s word. I am both the culprit and victim of dangerous disobedience, nevertheless, I choose to believe that this is just a bump in the road and that God will restore and increase what has been taken away from this incident because I have repented and seen the error of my ways.
Even though the Bible tells us that Faith pleases God, God’s pleasure is much more altruistic than our own. If doubt cause disobedience and disobedience causes destruction, than faith causes obedience which results in life. Faith is pleasing to God because it causes us to have life and salvation, our faith causes us to walk in paths of righteousness that will guard and protect us from destruction and sacrificing ourselves on the altar of sin.
So now, as I am working with God to counteract and treat these symptoms my plan is prevention rather than cure, to become more diligent in listening and obeying God’s Word in the small as well as the big things.
Have you ever done anything that was dangerously disobedient, or to put it another way has your disobedience ever endangered you or someone else? If not too traumatic, I would love to hear from you.
Many Blessings in Yeshua (Jesus)