English Article: Obedience and Reward | Duglas Joseph
The fruit of obedience is always sweet. Obedience to God’s commands is the true sign of our love for God. Obedience is submitting ourselves to the authority and will of God. It includes both submitting to Him and then expressing that submission in actions, words and thoughts. However, disobedience shows rebellion and distrust of God. To be disobedient means we rely on self-will instead of surrendering to God’s will. Am I really submitting my life to the will of God? Am I ready for absolute obedience to my creator?
In the Bible, there is a beautiful life story of a poor widow called Ruth. The story is a classic example of the reward given for absolute obedience and loyalty. The story begins with a tragic note. Ruth lost her husband, father-in-law and brother-in-law in quick succession, and is left with her sister-in-law Orpah and mother-in-law Naomi. With no further brothers to take over the role of their husband – as was the custom at the time – both young women were free to return to their own family and re-marry, and were encouraged to do so by their mother-in-law.
But, instead, Ruth decided to go with Naomi to her home town. They were left with nothing and Ruth forced to find a work to provide for them. She found a work in the field to gather the grains which the harvesters left. Boaz was a wealthy land-owner who owns the field treated her with respect and recognition. ‘May you be richly rewarded by the Lord… under whose wings you have come to take refuge’ (Ruth 2:12)
Naomi instructed Ruth to lie at his feet while he was sleeping and present herself to him as a deserving wife. Though this was a risky plan, Ruth’s response – ‘I will do whatever you say’ (Ruth 3:5) – reflects her total trust in, and submission to, the authority and wisdom of her mother-in-law. Finally Boaz liked Ruth and decided to marry her. From a labourer, she elevated to the status of mistress. The message we receive from Ruth’s story is that, there is a reward for loyalty and obedience.
The disobedience of first man and woman Adam and Eve brought calamity to the whole mankind. In the Garden of Eden, Adam ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3:6). Before Adam disobeys the God’s instruction, the earth was a blessed place. Happiness and peace were there. There was no violence. Adam had the opportunity to fill the earth with his offspring. Due to disobedience, God’s creation was cursed. However, through the perfect obedience of Christ, man has regained the lost life and union with God.
‘’For as by the one man’s [Adam’s] disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s [Christ’s] obedience the many will be made righteous( Romans 5:19).
From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible has a lot to say about obedience. As His sons, God desires us to obey Him. Deuteronomy 11:26–28 sums it up like this: “Obey and you will be blessed. Disobey and you will be cursed. “In the New Testament, we learn through the example of Jesus Christ that believers are called to a life of obedience.
First and foremost, our obedience brings salvation and eternal life. Paul and Silas replied to the Jailer’s question ‘’ What must I do to be saved?’’ ( Acts 16:30) Their answer shows the simplest way to salvation. ‘’ Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved’’. (Acts 16:31) The jailer had obeyed the instruction to believe in Christ.
One of the greatest reasons why God wants us to obey Him is because it brings His blessings on our lives. Psalm 1 tells about the man who fins ‘’Joy in obeying the Law of the Lord’’. His life is like a fruitful tree whose leaves do not wither and he enjoys success.
In Jesus Christ, we find the perfect model of obedience. As his disciples, we follow Christ’s example as well as his commands. Our motivation for obedience is love:
If you love me, you will keep my commandments ( John 14:15)
In the Bible, we could see that God blesses and rewards obedience. God’s promise to Abraham is a standing testimony to this truth. “And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed—all because you have obeyed me.” (Genesis 22:18).
Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me. Exodus 19:5. In the New Testament also there are many verses which testify the reward for those who obey the Word of God. Jesus replied, “But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.” (Luke 11:28).
‘’But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. (James 1:22–25)
Obedience to God demonstrates our love and Faith. ‘And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments. If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did (1 John 2:3–6)
In the Bible, we could see another startling verse that states that Obedience is better than Sacrifice. But Samuel replied, “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. Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have rejected the command of the LORD, he has rejected you as king.” 1 Samuel 15:22–23
In short, God desires His children to obey Him. God is pleased with obedience. “Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in obedience to him” (Psalm 128:1) Obedience is the practical acceptance of the authority and will of God in our lives.