Obeying Completely

by Ronnie Hewitt
In our song books, there is a song that says, “Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin.” When God gives instructions or authorization through His word for something to be done, then it is to be done. But, if no authority is granted for a particular action, then such should not be done. The focus for this article is the theme of “Obeying God 100%.” Partial obedience is never sufficient. The Lord expects complete submission to His will. When one is only partially obedient, he is disobedient in God’s eyes.
Take a moment and think about how mankind began and how sin entered the world. Back in the Garden of Eden, God had just finished the creation and acknowledged that it was “very good” (Gen. 1:31). God had formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed life into him (Gen. 2:7). He fashioned an appropriate helper for man–woman. We can only imagine what it would have been like to be in that garden. It was surely beautiful and perfect. Adam and Eve could do whatever they pleased, with one exception – “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen. 2:17)
.They were not permitted to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God had not given them a long list of prohibitions. He simply denied them one thing. And the thing He denied them was not necessary for their existence or to sustain life. We do not know how much time passed between the issuing of that single prohibition and the breaking of it, but we do know how the story goes. Adam and Eve violated this law. They were tempted, and they yielded to that temptation.
This event, and so many others like it, leads us to ask, “Why does man have so much trouble obeying God?” One reason can be found in 1Samuel 15. In 1Samuel 15:3, God commanded King Saul to go and to completely destroy the Amalekites because of the evil they had done to Israel. Saul was to destroy everything: the people and all their animals. But, Saul had a better idea (or so he thought), and no doubt he was very sincere in this idea. 1Samuel 15:8-9 tells us what Saul actually did – “He also took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were unwilling to utterly destroy them. But everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed.” God was certainly not pleased by their actions.
Saul thought he had a good reason for not killing all the animals. He planned to offer them as a sacrifice to God (cf. 15:15)! Wasn’t that a good reason? Was there anything wrong with Saul wanting to offer a sacrifice to God? Of course not. But, those specific animals were to be destroyed according to God’s plan. Doing what God had commanded was more important than Saul trying to please the LORD in his own way. Samuel explains this to Saul in 1Samuel 15:22 “Has 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 heed than the fat of rams.” 
To obey is better than to sacrifice! Doing what God has commanded is always more important than disobeying and doing things one’s own way. No matter how noble the action is we may be doing, it will never please God if it involves disobeying Him. Saul tried to justify himself, but one cannot justify any action that is contrary to God’s will, regardless of how well he can “rationalize” the action to himself. Sometimes man has problems obeying God because he likes to do things his own way; he thinks that his own way is as good as or better than God’s way! It has been said that the only part of the Bible one truly believes is the part he obeys. So, I’ll leave you with these questions: Do you really believe God’s word? Do you obey Him 100% or merely when you agree with or understand the rationale behind His instructions?