Why Obey God?

Why do you want to obey God?

That’s an interesting question. The question makes the assumption that you actually do want to obey God! I suppose this should not be assumed. There are those who don’t know God who obviously then don’t want to obey Him. Unfortunately, there are false doctrines encouraging people that obedience is unnecessary and might even be wrong.

But, for true believers the assumption is pretty safe that you want to, so the question again is: why?

Solomon gives a speech at the dedication of the temple in 1 Kings 8, it’s a cool passage. Near the end he tells Israel to obey God and asks God to bless Israel for their obedience. The reason why Solomon wants Israel to obey and God to bless is so

“That all the people of the earth may know that the Lord is God, and that there is none else.”

He then follows this verse with:

“Let your heart therefore be perfect with the Lord our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.”

Solomon didn’t want blessing so he could roll around in super-abundant hedonistic narcissism. He wanted blessing so that people would know that God was God.

I’ve heard many reasons given as to why God should be obeyed:

avoiding punishment
getting stuff
receive health and wealth
get prayers answered
eliminate guilt
so you can be happy in Jesusbecause you’re better than that
because He’s God

Some of those aren’t horrible reasons, some are flat-out blasphemous, I’ll let you decide which are which!

But obeying God that others may know Him, as Jesus said we should do your good works before men  so they may “see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” is one that’s often avoided. Perhaps it sounds arrogant.

With today’s aversion to good works, we like to think we’re “doing it for God” and if anyone sees them then it’s merely self-righteousness. But the Apostle Paul actually says the good works we do are done to be helpful for other people.

Our obedience to God is done for God, this is true, but they also benefit other people, and can ultimately bring others to a knowledge of God. Let us not fear doing good, especially if our motivation is to bring others to know Him.

3 thoughts on “Why Obey God?”

  1. Excellent. Have always loved that prayer of Solomon but had not noticed that aspect of obedience. I tend to obey out of fear, but love that motivation as it is always a desire to be a witness that our God is truly God.

  2. Thanks, Heather. Fear isn’t the worst of motivations, it is mentioned a lot, even in the NT, but if it’s all fear, then there are problems. 2 Corinthians 5:10,11 says that because of the terror of the Lord we persuade men and this is based on standing before God giving an account for everything we’ve done. Knowing God as we do, knowing He is the judge and that all will stand before Him, how much more do all need to know Him? So, even here, knowing God’s power to judge and the proper fear that comes with that, is one of the motivations for wanting others to know God.

    But again, it’s not all fear! It’s the goodness of God that leads men to repentance. He is a good judge, compassionate, gracious, merciful and willing to forgive, but we have to see that before we stand before Him. In other words, all will fear God eventually, but only those who fear Him now will see the goodness of God. Those who don’t fear Him now and don’t care about His goodness, will have immense fear when they stand before Him and then it’s too late.

    Anyway, just rambling on the subject. People tend to flip out to one attribute of God over another. Some stress the love of God so much you’d think sin wasn’t even an issue. Others stress fear so much you’d think there was no goodness or grace in God at all. He is a large God and must be understood according to the way He reveals Himself. If this is who He says He is, I suggest we accept all parts of Him!

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