OK, guys and gals, this seems obvious, but is there anyone who does not see that if YHWH is sovereign over all things, that we must therefore be obedient to Him in all things? Isn’t this the whole point of the Book of Jonah? In Gen. 22, God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. This was an ultimate test. But Abraham in simple obedience set out to do as he was told with no back talk whatsoever, trusting God to fulfill the promise to make him father of many nations. He knew God would never ask of him what was evil, but only what is good. And God substituted a ram whose horn was caught in a thicket for His sacrifice, and promised a blessing to all the world, which is the salvation of Christ Jesus. This also is a pattern, the substitution of one blood for another, but only if the heart of man is pure and obedient!
Look at Malachi 1:6-14. The impure heart leads to a pro formasacrifice that angers God! Giving has to be from the heart, not from the mere following of ritual, not from outward piety, or hoping to be well thought of by other people. Nor is God pleased by the blood of bulls and rams, Is. 1:11-16. He isn’t interested in money or things. He demands our unconditional love. He is our father. Does a child say to his father, “Dad, I will love you if you give me a present?” I hope not! I hope no one says something like this to their child either.
Those who are fortunate enough to have loving fathers know how much they owe to them. We owe more even to our Father, YHWH, without whom we would not exist. And we are in Himand He is in us. This is true even for the ignorant who do not know Him. We pity those who do not have a father’s love and those who do not know God’s love. And like a worldly father, God chastises His own, which is proof of paternity. Heb. Ch. 12.And we know that as His children we are heirs to his kingdom.Lk. 15:32; Ro. 8:17.
But the question remains, what do we obey and how do we obey? It is not the law of Moses. We died to the law! Ro. 7:4. What once had glory now has no glory because of the surpassing glory. 2 Cor. 3:10. When you shine a dim light in the dark it looks bright, but when the sun comes up in all its glory, the dim light fades to nothing. Read the whole chapter in 2 Cor. 3. So why was the law given? Paul explains that the Israelites were like children. The law was given as a teacher, guardian and disciplinarian until the Messiah came. Gal. 3:19-27; 4:1-7. But now that He has come, we are no longer under the law. Gal. 4:7. The law was abrogated. Eph. 2:15. And we need not concern ourselves with the requirements of food and drink, rituals, festivals, new moons, nor even sabbath days! Col. 2:16.
Further, in Hebrews Chapters 6-7 the author explains why we no longer need an earthly priesthood because Jesus is High Priest forever. Heb. 7:17-26. In days of old, only the high priest could enter the inner chamber where the Ark was and intercede for the people with God, only with the blood of a young bull for his sins and those of the people. And only once a year! Heb. 9:7. But, as God promised in Jer. 31:27-34, there is now a new covenant, better than the old covenant and the old covenant is obsolete and disappeared. Heb. 8:13. This is because Jesus paid for our sins once for all by His own blood on the cross. Heb. 9:11-14. And those who still have doubt about this issue read Acts chapter 15 and study the short epistle of Galatians.
Does this then allow us to violate the commandments about theft, murder, lying and adultery? Of course not! Ro. 6:1-4. We also died to sin; we can’t go on sinning! We are members of the body of Christ! So don’t be foolish that way.
The next part, though, is without the law to tell us what to do, how do we know? We must be led by the Holy spirit to lead Godly lives. Ro. 8:1-11. We are taught all things by the Spirit. The Bible contains a lot of valuable help, however. The beatitudes in Mt. 5 show us the heart attitude that we must have. The entire Sermon on the Mount, and Ro. Ch. 12-13; and Eph. Ch. 4-5 provide excellent guidance. And 1 Cor. 13:1-13. These are training wheels for the newly initiated. They are a starting place, a minimum base to build on as we learn to see with our spiritual eyes and feel the Spirit’s callings and warnings and pushes. It takes practice and growth. We should not harbor anger and allow it to live in our hearts; nor malice, hate, bitterness, envy, resentment, nor any of these kinds of negative emotions. We must pray and meditate and work to get rid of them bit by bit. The impulse to retaliate to rudeness of others, to punish transgressions, to speak harshly. Also, rough talk, cursing and crude language; nor any lies or deceit, or falsehoods. We are to live simply and wish for nothing but to serve, as is our proper place. And not think highly of ourselves. And love one another, and also our friends, neighbors, strangers and even our enemies.
We will receive many positives from this way of life. First is the liberty to turn to Jesus, the High Priest Forever, any time we need, not just in a temple made of stone, of on a special day, but any day as along as it is called today! This is, I believe, the meaning of Hebrews 4: 4-11. This includes access for those who are in prison, in the cancer ward, in a filthy alleyway, under a bridge, in a foxhole. Any time, 24/7/365. And the guarantee that when you come to Him with a true heart that He will be there,and He will take your plea and intercede for you in whatever you need. So, when your heart is heavy with sorrow, or whatever it is that is weighing you down, you can call on Him.
Additionally, God will give you callings and tasks and burdens, which are your blessing. As long as you are obedient, He will pay you back double like he did for Job. And spirit that will flow though you will pay you 10-fold and 100-fold in your heart and spirit for helping and loving other people.
The Spirit also prays for you. It intercedes with groans too deep for words. Ro. 8:26-7. St. Mother Theresa was once asked about her prayer life, and said “mostly, I just listen.” When asked what God spoke to her, she said “mostly He just listens.”
Life in the Spirit is a deeper, richer, fuller life, in obedience to God. Our days are blessed. Our suffering is purposeful and meaningful. Our activities are fruitful. I arise in the early hours eager to be up and to my Bible, my journals, my prayers. I am anxious to go to work in my own calling among the poor and homeless. I am privileged to do this because God asked and I obeyed, not through any special virtue I possess. Without Him I was nothing. A withered olive tree. I ask for His guidance and for the Spirit to fill me up and flow from deep within me like streams of living water. John 7:38-9.
All this does not happen at once. It takes time. Most of us start out too eager and He has to pull us back. Remember we are the slaves; He is the master. Friends of like mind are a big help. I am lucky He showed me some. You probably have friends you haven’t met yet. Go and meet them. Ask for burdens to carry and callings and tasks and ministries. He will give as you grow and are able to receive. Obey always. You will be a happier person. Do it all with love, with joy, with peace in your heart toward everyone, so far as you are able, and ask for His help in all these things. These are blessings and give thanks always. Amen.