The blessing of obeying God
This is what I told them: ‘Obey me, and I will be your God, and you will be my people. Do everything as I say, and all will be well!’ “But my people would not listen to me. They kept doing whatever they wanted, following the stubborn desires of their evil hearts. They went backward instead of forward. From the day your ancestors left Egypt until now, I have continued to send my servants, the prophets—day in and day out. But my people have not listened to me or even tried to hear. They have been stubborn and sinful—even worse than their ancestors. “Tell them all this, but do not expect them to listen. Shout out your warnings, but do not expect them to respond. Say to them, ‘This is the nation whose people will not obey the Lord their God and who refuse to be taught. Truth has vanished from among them; it is no longer heard on their lips. Jeremiah 7:23-28
From the text, the prophet Jeremiah was called upon by God to warn the Israelites that their burnt offerings and sacrifices will not be accepted if they continue to live in disobedience to God. God was not denouncing the sacrificial system instituted after they were freed from Egyptian bondage but to remind them that no matter how much the sacrifice was, they meant nothing to God if their hearts are far from Him. God wants obedience more than sacrifices. “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams” (1 Samuel 15:22). It is not about religious rituals but your love manifested in your obedience to Him. “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment” (Matthew 22:27-28). We bring pain into our lives and to other peoples’ lives when we are disobedient to God. David realized this when he saw the results of his disobedience to himself and to his family. “O Lord,” I prayed, “have mercy on me. Heal me, for I have sinned against you” (Psalm 41:4). God wants us to abide by His will and to abide in the guidelines He gave us in His Word. They were written for our own good. “‘Obey me, and I will be your God, and you will be my people. Do everything as I say, and all will be well!” (Jeremiah 7:23). His plans, directions and purposes for us were laid down to protect us so we can live life to its fullest. When God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, gave His life on the cross, all He wants from us is to have a right relationship with Him. This relationship should be characterized by loving Him back. “If you love me, obey my commandments” (John 14:15). Choose to obey and follow Him and you will discover that you chose life!
Noel De Guzman