Obedience at All Costs
How many excuses are put forward by Christians for remaining in what they know to be unscriptural ecclesiastical associations which will not stand the test of the judgement seat of Christ.
One will put family connections, the natural and right dislike of bringing in disunity in his family, among those closely related, such as husband and wife, parent and child. Such put family feelings before loyalty to the Lord! Should that be? Should not the Lord be first?
Another will urge difficulty as to distance as a reason for being where he is, thus putting, it may be, personal ease and convenience before fidelity to the Lord.
Yet another will give as his reason for remaining in unscriptural connections that his sphere of usefulness would be greatly limited if he follows what he knows to be according to the Word. Here service is put before the Masterthe servant’s supposed usefulness before his Lord’s will!
What a general turning over would take place if all Christians were true to their convictions! I would urge upon all my readers to be faithful to the Lord and His Word at all costs.
What a significant warning Scripture presents in the case of king Saul. Ordered by God to utterly destroy the Amalekites, he “spared Agag, and the best of the sheep and the oxen, and beasts of the second bearing, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not devote them to destruction; but everything that was mean and weak, that they destroyed utterly” (see 1 Sam. 15: 9). When Samuel asked what meant the bleating of the sheep and the lowing of the oxen, Saul replied that he had spared the best of the flocks of the Amalekites in order to sacrifice unto the Lord.
It seemed a praiseworthy reason. Saul did not spare the best of the flocks for his own enrichment. There was nothing selfish in his action. It might be thought that the object in view would have atoned for his departure from strict instructions, but it was not so. The king had committed an act of unpardonable disobedience, an act which cost him his kingdom. Samuel answered in words that are legendary: “Behold, obedience is better than sacrifice, Attention than the fat of rams”. How scathing was Samuel’s language! “For rebellion is [as] the sin of divination, and selfwill is [as] iniquity and idolatry”, (1 Sam. 15: 22, 23). Strong language this! Pretty stiff price to pay for departing from the word of the Lord - even for the apparently laudable object of using the best of Amalek’s flocks and herds for sacrifice to the Lord!
How unutterably sad Saul’s end was! Amid the deepening shades of spiritism; hard pushed by the Philistines, the enemies of the Lord; bereft of his sons, who had fallen in the battle; in terrible despair, he committed suicide, falling on his own sword - his armour suspended on the walls of the temple of the heathen goddess, Ashteroth; his body hung on the walls of Bethshan - a terrible warning indeed.
Is this not a sharp warning to Christians who plead their usefulness as a reason why they should remain in unscriptural associations? Is not their disobedience on a par with Saul’s? Is not their act equivalent to sparing the best of the flock for sacrifice instead of obeying? Is the fat of rams a substitute for hearkening?
How many servants of the Lord, who have refused to follow what they know to be right on the plea that their usefulness would be curtailed, have found out that their spiritual power has largely, if not altogether, left them, and their usefulness been impaired?
For power with God we need to be right with God. And without spiritual power there can be no true usefulness.