The Danger of Prolonged Disobedience
In the Christian faith we are saved by grace when we trust in Christ as our savior. Christianity is also defined by God’s gift of free will. Although God does not force us to obey him, he appeals to us throughout scriptures to follow his commandments. Disobedience is something we all struggle with, but God’s redemptive grace offers forgiveness to the repentant sinner. But what happens when we choose to live in prolonged disobedience to God? Let me illustrate some stories that will show you the consequences of prolonged disobedience to God.
In the Book of Exodus, we see how God delivered the nation of Israel after years of bondage in Egypt. With God as their guide, you would think that they would trust him with their lives and their obedience. Instead they were quick to grumble and consistently disobeyed him. There were profound consequences to their prolonged disobedience. Instead of going right into the Promised Land, they wandered in the wilderness for forty years, until the last member of that defiant generation died. Even though they disobeyed God, He still provided miraculously for them during all those years in the desert. God’s grace was still at work, but the people settled for second best.
The next example from Scripture is one that transcends centuries. The Book of Esther describes the plight of Queen Esther to save the Jewish people in Persia from total annihilation during the reign of King Xerxes I.
In Esther 3:1 we are introduced to Haman, an evil man and adviser to the king, who hates Moredecai, a Jewish man who refused to bow down to him. As a result he plots to exterminate all the Jews in Persia.
I want to emphasize that the Jews are in slavery because of their continued disobedience to God throughout their time living in the Promised Land. This, of course, is bad enough, but to face a holocaust is unthinkable.
But in Esther 3:1, there is another detail about Haman that is often overlooked because it doesn’t seem significant. Haman is an Agagite. You might say, “so what.” Well, let’s keep going and see why this is a significant detail.
Centuries before, God told Moses in Exodus 17:14, “Write this down as a permanent record, and announce it to Joshua: I will blot out every trace of Amalek from under heaven.” God wanted this because the Amalekites opposed Israel entering the Promised Land.
We fast forward hundreds of years later to 1 Samuel 15:3 where Samuel the prophet tells Saul, the Israelite king, to “go and completely destroy the entire Amalekite nation – men, women, children, babies, cattle, sheep, camels, and donkeys.” Essentially this is the day of reckoning for Amalek.
At this point you might be thinking this is overreach. God wants even babies to be exterminated. Hold that thought and keep reading.
Saul initially kills every Amalekite he finds, BUT spares Agag, the king. Samuel ends up slaying Agag and it now appears that all the Amalekites are gone from the face of the earth. Regrettably, such is not the case.
In 1 Chronicles 4:43 we read that the tribe of Simeon finds a few Amalekites who had survived and kills them. So we think that is the end of the Amalekites, right?
Let’s now go back to the Book of Esther where we discover that Haman was an Agagite, a direct descendant of the Amalekites. Yes, this is the man who wanted to annihilate all the Jews. Now we have a better understanding of why God wanted all descendants of the Amalekite nation destroyed. This prolonged disobedience almost destroyed the Jewish race.
The good news is that God uses Queen Esther to spare the Jews and Haman and his entire family is killed. Had Israel killed every Amalekite, including babies, Haman would never have existed and the threat of permanent destruction would not have come about.
So in these two examples we see almost near extinction in one case and missing out on a destiny in another.
I know what it is like to be disobedient. Years ago, God spoke very clearly to me about a ministry He wanted me to do. Out of fear, I chose a safer direction and it cost me. I still ended up doing ministry but I believe that the scope would have been greater to the destiny that God had for me. God’s grace brought resolve to my life but as you can see, I still think about it.
So are you in a place of resisting what God is asking you to do?Is there a habit he wants you to deal with and you keep looking the other way?Don’t live to regret your disobedience to God.I encourage you to dive into obedience deeply and trust Him with your life. After all, Jesus told us that if we love Him, we will obey Him.