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Disobedience is Distrust

April 16, 2012

In Hebrews 3 and 4 the apostle gives a very necessary warning to the church. The warning is that they not imitate the children of Israel at the frontier of the promised land. The Israelites stood on the banks of the promised land, after a monumental journey that began with God’s decimation of Egypt in the plagues, His division of the Red Sea for the nation to pass through, His destruction of Pharoah’s army in the sea, His daily provision of manna, His miraculous provision of water from the rock and His ongoing protection of them through their journeys in the wilderness. After seeing all this, Israel refused to cross into the land. In Numbers and Hebrews, the Bible describes their response as unbelief. Nehemiah points back to this time and says they, “Refused to obey” and “In their rebellion appointed a captain to return to their bondage.” We find in these passages a clear principle at work. The Israelites refused to obey God because they did not believe God.

What is it that leads us to disobey God in our daily lives? The same thing that caused the Israelites to disobey Him, we don’t genuinely believe Him. While we rarely announce that we don’t believe Him, nor do we often openly declare our intention to disobey, yet our disobedience comes down to nothing more than distrust of God. We disobey because we fail to understand how God is going to provide, protect or work things out. We disobey because we don’t really believe that God’s command are the best way to live and that He will work out all things for our eternal best. We see this unbelief in action in our lives over and over again. When we disobey because of how someone might respond to us then we are operating out of unbelief, not trusting God to convict and change hearts. When we disobey because of what we may loose as a result of our obedience we are operating out of unbelief, not trusting God to work out all things for our best. When we justify our sin because it satisfies some need we are operating out of unbelief, not trusting God to fully provide for all our needs. When we back away from the truth of the Bible we are operating out of unbelief, not trusting God to work through His Word. The solution to this disobedient disbelief is plain. Repent.
The Thyatiran believers were in a situation in which they had to decide between being able to earn a living and being obedient to Christ. Some had accepted the false teaching that they could take part in idol worship and still be pleasing to Christ. Christ soundly rebukes them for their disobedience. In Revelation 2:22 Christ offers to the disobedient believers of Thyatira the solution to their disobedience. He commands them to repent, to leave their sinful actions and return to complete obedience to His Word. In identical fashion, we must repent our disbelief and live committed to radical obedience to the Word. We need to put aside the wrong ideas that cause doubt of God and His Word. We must commit to obedience to God, no matter what it looks like is going to happen. We must refuse to compromise with sin no matter the consequences. We need a rock solid, unmoving faith that will trust God in all things. We need an attitude that says, “I can die, but I cannot disobey, I can suffer, but I cannot sin, I can be persecuted but I cannot be faithless.”

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