“Obedient and Wrong versus Disobedient and Right”
what does this even mean?
To be honest I’ve asked myself this question a number of times. Simply put this is only perceived truth, meaning it’s how we look at something, and then match it up with our particular belief systems. Maybe a better word we like to use is philosophy or opinion. There is though always the solid Truth. In order for us to know this truth, we have to encounter Truth. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”
As time has passed since getting the thought that, “I’d rather be obedient and wrong, rather than disobedient and right,” the truth of God’s word arose in my spirit and He brought me to the truth of his word that says, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life” (Proverbs 4:23). Now like me you may be asking yourself what does guarding your heart have to do with obedience. The truth is that is has everything to do with obedience. Jesus said, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”(Luke 6:45) Jesus proceeds to go on and say, “why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ and not do what I say.” This means when God asks us to do something we should exam our heart first, and then obey.
Obedience in the greek literally translates to..
“Submission to what is heard.”
Now lets look at this in more of our general day to day context of dealing with obedience…
Have you ever done something and hoped that someone was watching so they’d notice you doing good?
Maybe you have a child that in complete disobedience waits till your watching and throws something on the floor? Maybe as an adult we’ve been asked to do something and out of spite chose not to do it, due to the position of the person asking, or more importantly because of an condition within our own hearts. Or is it possible that we’ve been asked to something that was a portion of a larger picture, and didn’t think that what we did mattered, because we could only see the littler picture? Let me clarify though that this is not intended to be heavy or discouraging, but rather that we be encouraged to look at the WILLINGNESS OF OUR HEART.
Based upon what it is God is asking us to be obedient to even if it means looking wrong in the eyes of others, or maybe looking right(righteous) in the eyes of others. Obedience doesn’t start with an outward action, it starts with the condition of our heart.
The truth is God could cause any outcome to happen on command. God does not need us to be worried about outcomes but to be so in tune to Him, so we are obedient (submit to what he says) to his voice, whether we get praised for it, ridiculed for it, and most importantly think that we get or need the credit for it.
A willingness to be obedient comes from a heart that wants all glory and honor to go to God.
There are two stories that parallel this thought in the Bible. First there is the “obedient and wrong,” that’s Noah(Genesis 6). He was obedient to what God told him to do, but I would say it’s safe to say to many, he was looked at as wrong, crazy, and out right out of his mind. His willingness to be obedient was more important than the outcome, even to the point that if you read scripture you’ll see Noah did everything precisely as God asked him to. So precise that no where will you find that Noah tries to save anyone God is getting ready to destroy. Often we let the doubting and swaying of others determine the level of obedience we exude, trust me I have totally been less obedient because of someone else’s belief.
Thank God for his grace for sure. Here though no matter how crazy Noah looked it was never about outcome, but simply about obedience. Just so we don’t negate this point let’s also remind ourselves that Noah was 500 years old when his sons were born, and 600 years old by the time the flood waters came upon the earth. All this to say, being obedient in the moment is not easy especially for something to take potentially 100 years before being rewarded in secret for it, and …remembering that He is our reward. Think about that!
Then there is Jonah.
(Ch.1-2). Here we have the “disobedient and right.” Jonah disobeyed and in his eyes was right. Jonah disobeyed out of fear of man and really selfishness of heart towards people he disliked, even in spite of God plans to deliver the people from sin. Jonah heard exactly what God said and decided out of the wickedness of the people and the condition of his heart to just disobey. Simply said, Jonah felt it was more right to not save the people of Nineveh. Now we know eventually God uses Jonah and brings restoration to the people of Nineveh. But look at the middle part of this story, where Jonah hides(As if God didn’t know where he was) away on a ship. This is the supreme example possibly of a heart of absolute selfishness. Jonah thinking he is more knowing than God, attempts to have himself killed in-spite of God’s having instructed him. Now to spare going on and on, it is easy to see how we can easily disobey when we don’t realize that what’s in are heart is selfish and yet seams right. Jonah was right the people of Nineveh were wicked, but this was not about them, as much as it was about his need to be obedient, not right. Instead he let his heart that was above all else wicked in his own right determine his actions, and disobeyed God. Even after finally being obedient to go to Nineveh, Jonah still argued with God and maintained a heart of selfishness and thinking he knew what was best and what the people of Nineveh deserved.
WHEN WE ARE RIGHT IN OUR OWN EYES WE ARE SELFISH, BUT WHEN WE ARE OBEDIENT IN HIS EYES WE ARE SELFLESS.
I’m so far from totally understanding the full measure of this thought, but am humbly learning that to be obedient, is to position my heart in a selfless way, so that God’s righteousness can be front and center, over my desire or need to feel right rather than be obedient.