The Art of War…Obedience

One of the first things a man will learn in the military is obedience.  As he is going through boot camp, this will be drilled into him to the uttermost.  Your will, will be broken, and replaced with their will.  You will obey, or you will be discharged or strongly disciplined.  The consequences for disobeying a direct order are unparalleled.  You will be demoted in rank (which in turn affects your income).  So now we see that obedience causes one in the military to be promoted faster.  But it’s more than that…obedience from the heart is quickly recognized by others and rewarded.

I know of a man who is serving in the military.  He has a heart of obedience. He obeys his officers and their orders from the heart.  He doesn’t do it because he has to, but because he wants to.  And because this is his attitude, he has great favor with his superiors and with his battalion.  He is looked up to.  Why?  Because he lives a life of obedience.  Many have to be taught obedience (and this is what boot camp really does), and then there are those who just live the life of obedience, and others see it and it affects them.

Obedience produces humility.  If you are really obeying the commands given you in the Bible, you will become humble in carrying them out. 

Exodus 19:5 says, “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples.”  Notice that obeying His voice is paramount.  Twenty-four times in the Old Testament alone we can find the phrase that deals with obey (s) (ing) His voice.  You cannot keep His commandments without first obeying His voice.  You have to learn (just as anyone in the military has to) to obey His voice.  What is His voice?

Before I give a definition of what His voice is, I would like to first say that I think that Jerry Jasnoski has the deepest teaching (and revelation) of this subject of anyone I know.  And he loves to speak with people and email back-and-forth. So email him and let his years of searching the scriptures on this subject speak to you.  If you want to email him, just let me know and I’ll give you his email.

I also have searched the scriptures for this answer, and I think that His Word is not silent on the subject.  Consider the following verses carefully:

  1. Bless the Lord, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word! Psalm 103:20
  2. The Lord utters his voice before his army,
for his camp is exceedingly great; he who executes his word is powerful. Joel 2:11
  3. And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more. Hebrews 12:19

Ok, let’s look at these verses carefully together. Notice in the first one that the angels are “obeying the voice of HIS WORD” Now notice in the second verse that the Lord “utters His voice…and he who executes his word is powerful.” So then, what is actually being executed? HIS WORD…but the root cause of the execution of his word is “His voice.” Can you see that? In the last verse please notice the two phrases “and the voice of words” & “that the word should not be spoken to them anymore.”

So then, we can see that the voice was speaking words.  And these words can be found recorded later on in Exodus and in Deuteronomy.  And we also see in this last verse that they did not want the word spoken to them anymore.  In their day the word was spoken (Stephen even says this in Acts 7:38, 53 – and Paul records the same thing in Hebrews 1), but in our day it is the Word of God (the Bible).  In other words God’s voice is His Word, which is the Bible we have today.  I’m not saying that God doesn’t speak to us in other ways.  I know of a man who was spoken to directly by the Lord in person, God speaks to us in dreams, in trances, in closed visions, in open visions, and through other members of the body of Christ.  But the primary way He speaks to us is through His Word.

Even Peter said in 2 Peter 1:19 that the Word of God was greater than the vision he saw, and the voice he heard on the holy mount (the mount of transfiguration).  Again I will say that God’s voice is His Word.  And when we can learn to obey that voice (the Bible), then we are qualified to do the second half of that Exodus 19:5 verse which says, “and keep my covenant.”  You will not be able to keep His covenant until you have an understanding of what the covenant is.  Hebrews 10:16 says, “THIS IS THE COVENANT that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them.

So then, if your mind is renewed by the Word of God, and your heart is pure before the Lord and you have an understanding of the covenant mentioned above, you will be able to do the second part of Exodus 19:5.  You cannot keep something that you do not possess; whether that be in absolute possession or even in assumed possession.  This is what I mean: If you owe the bank on a vehicle, you might be in actual possession of the car, but the truth is that legally the bank owns it and is allowing you to use it.  But when you pay it off, it is really yours to keep.  When you have that knowledge that the car is free and clear, this changes things.  The car is really yours in all reality.

The covenant of God is the same way.  The legal contract of the agreement between Himself and Christ is binding.  When you really come to see that and understand it as a covenant written down on a legal document (the Bible) and written down in your heart, then it becomes yours in reality.  You owe no one…you are free and clear of the debt, because it has been made known to you.  The two disciples on the road to Emmaus could not see until the Lord opened their eyes.  But once they saw, it changed everything in them and for them.

But the sum of all that we are saying is that it all begins with obeying His Word.  This is the starting point.  If you can’t, (or in most cases, people just won’t) obey His Word – then just forget about everything else.  Because if He can’t have your obedience, then He doesn’t want anything else.  Everything else offered to Him from a heart of disobedience is a contaminated offering.  And according to the Bible (Old & New Testaments) your offering has to be without spot or blemish.  Spot = your living (how you live behind closed doors, and in your mind, and that which is seen by others), and blemish = your heart before God (that which is seen and known by only you and the Lord).

Obedience…it all starts right here…right now…at this place!! But even obedience has to have a starting place, a qualifier if you will.  And what is the prerequisite for obedience?  The answer to this question is found in Isaiah 1:19-20 which says, “If you be willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land.  But if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured with the sword.”

So we now see that obedience is not enough; but to have a willing heart is what God is really after. Because if a man’s heart is tender, teachable, and willing…then in all probability he will be obedient.  Obedience is the result of a willing heart. “To obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams” (1 Sam. 15:22b).  You see, the problem here was that Saul wasn’t willing to obey, therefore how could he obey?  If you are not willing to obey, then you are rejecting the Word of the Lord.  And the very next verse says, “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft (and this word witchcraft is translated as “divination” in every other instance in the Old Testament – {KJV}; and divination was the sin that God greatly abhorred.  It was punishable by death on the spot), and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.  Because thou has rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected thee.”  If you reject the Word of God and are not willing and obedient to His voice (the Bible), then He in turn will reject you.  This is no light matter dear reader.  This is the gospel…according to Jesus.

People can talk all they want.  Even the Lord said, “Why do you call Me Lord, Lord, and do not do the things I say?” Many profess His name, and say the right things, but their heart is far from Him.  The Lord said, “Well has Isaiah prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me.’” Mark 6:7

Dear reader, where is your heart really at today before the Lord?  Is it pure?  Is it clean?  Is it consecrated to Him?  Is it holy? Is it His?  Really?  Only you know, and the Lord knows.  Become as a little child…become willing, become obedient, and do His Word by obeying His voice (which is the Bible).  If you cannot do this, or will not do this, then may God Himself have mercy upon you in that great day.  For it will not be because you did not know the truth; and it will not be because you did not hear the truth…but it will be because you chose to reject the truth.  And this is the exact same as rejecting the Lord Jesus Himself…for He said “I am the truth.”

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Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm on My holy mountain! Joel 2:1