Those of us who claim to be followers of Christ are obligated to fear God more than man. Webster defines obligation as “the duty and promise of conscience by which one is bound.” Obligation is “the constraining power of conscience or law. The condition of being indebted for an act of kindness.” It is “the obligation to do that which is prescribed or required.”
The Lord spoke to the prophet Samuel and said: “I regret making Saul king, for he has turned back from following Me and has not preformed My commands.” (1 Samuel 15:11 AMP) Samuel was grieved with Saul and prayed all night. He went early in the morning to meet with Saul and told him the significance of listening to the voice of the Lord. He said, “to obey is better than sacrifice. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as idolatry.” Saul realized that he had rejected the Word of the Lord. He said, “I have sinned; for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice.”
There are fundamental issues that must be addressed by those of us who claim to be believers and followers of Christ. Webster defines fundamental as “anything that serves as the foundation or basis of a system of belief, as a truth, law, or principle; a primary and necessary truth; an essential.” David who replaced Saul as the new king over Israel wrote in Psalm 138, “for You have exalted above all else Your name and Your word and You have magnified Your word above all Your name!” Jesus said, “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me.” (John 14:21) Again, he said, “if anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words.”
Have we forgotten who we are? Thousands of years have passed since the Lord spoke those words. Times have changed. Has God changed? As believers living in this 21st century we must settle in our hearts and minds the question: Is the Bible still relevant for us today? Did God intend for the scriptures to communicate His heart to people in this 21st century?
I believe He did, and that He still does intend for His Word, and His instruction to guide our lives. The apostle Paul wrote, “And we are setting these truths forth in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the [Holy] Spirit…[that His glory may be both manifested and recognized] .” (1 Corinthians 2:13, Philippians 1:11 AMP) In Paul’s letter written to the church in Galatia, he said, “Not that there is [or could be] any other [genuine Gospel], but there are [obviously] some who are troubling and disturbing and bewildering you [with a different kind of teaching which they offer as gospel] and want to pervert and distort the Gospel of Christ (the Messiah). (Galatians 1:10-12 AMP)
We must not forget who we are! It is essential that we remember we are children of God and we are obligated to respect and obey Him. Our founding fathers knew who they were. Indeed, they staked their lives on it! “And for support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on Divine Providence we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.” (Thomas Jefferson, 1776) John Hancock is recorded as saying, “His majesty can now read my name without glasses. And he can double the reward on my head!” It is said that Hancock told the other delegates, “we must all hang together.” To this Benjamin Franklin responded, “we must all hang together, or we most assuredly will hang separately.” The men who drafted our constitution understood the enormous responsibility they had to “establish justice” and “secure the blessings of liberty” for all men. They believed it was a God-given human right and they were prepared to defend it. In 1808 John Adams said, “Our obligations to our country never cease but with our lives.”
The prophet Micah was an advocate of social reform. He strongly denounced anyone who would also use social or political power for personal gain. The meaning of Micah’s name is “who is like God.” He demonstrated deep concern for the suffering of his people and a burning desire to see them turn from idolatry and immorality. “He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God? The Lord’s voice cries to the city—wisdom shall see Your Name.” (Micah 6:8, 9) Solomon said, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For by me your days will be multiplied, and years of life will be added to you. If you are wise, you are wise for yourself, and if you scoff, you alone will bear it.” (Proverbs 9:10-12) As children of God may we remember who we are, and the great price that was paid for our liberty and for our freedom. Our allegiance belongs to God. Remember to pray for our country. Let us resolve to educate ourselves concerning our heritage and our responsibility to God and to our nation.
On June 8, 1775, Abigail Adams wrote a letter to her husband, John: “Dearest friend, The day, perhaps the decisive day is come on which the fate of America depends. My bursting Heart must find vent at my pen. I have just heard that our dear friend Dr. Warren is no more but fell gloriously for his country. Great is our loss. He has distinguished himself in every engagement, by his courage and fortitude. Almighty God, cover the heads of our countrymen, and be a shield to our dear friends. How many have fallen we know not. The constant roar of the cannon is so distressing that we cannot eat, drink or sleep. May we be supported and sustained in the dreadful conflict. I shall tarry here till it is thought unsafe by my friends, and then I have secured myself a retreat at your brother’s who has kindly offered me part of his house. I cannot compose myself to write any further at present. I will add more as I hear further.” Abigail Adams included in her letter to John a passage of scripture, “The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but the God of Israel is He that gives strength and power unto His people. Trust in Him at all times, ye people pour out your hearts before Him. God is a refuge for us.”
We must not forget who we are. Paul poured his heart and soul into encouraging believers at Ephesus. He wrote to make believers aware of “who they were in Christ.” Who are we in Christ in this 21st century? The phrase “in Christ” or the equivalent to it, meaning belonging to Christ, is mentioned 35 times. This is more than in any other New Testament book. Paul was determined to emphasize to the believers living in Ephesus who they were in Christ and what could be done through their faith. He gives them clear advice on how to stay strong in the Lord. (Ephesians 6) I appreciate his words and believe they apply to my life today. I pray they minister to you also.
“[For I always pray to] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight into mysteries and secrets] in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him. By having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you, and how rich is His glorious inheritance in the saints (His set apart ones), and [so that you can know and understand] what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe, as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength.” (Ephesians 1:17, 18, 19 AMP)
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