Saturday, September 13, 2008

Obedience - A message to men

(From Heath's weekly messages to men of Omega Psi Phi)
1 Samuel 15:17,22-23 (NKJV) ‘So Samuel said, “When you were little in your own eyes, were you not the head of the tribes of Israel? And did not the LORD anoint you king over Israel?”……So Samuel said: “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king.’

Some of you may remember the movie Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and I am talking of the original one with Gene Wilder not the recent rock opera one with Johnny Depp. Nevertheless the premise of the movie was that Willie Wonka was looking for an heir apparent to his chocolate throne as a candy maker. He did not consider choosing an adult for as he put it an adult would not be obedient to following directions in how the factory should be run. So he decided to choose rather a child but not just any child but an honest child who would be obedient. If you remember there were four other children who were terribly spoiled and selfish. Due to their pernicious behavior they all got into ridiculous trouble that ruled them out for Willie Wonka choosing them to run the factory. Charlie however came from poverty but more importantly he was humble and honest and because of his humility, honesty and obedience he was chosen to be Wonka’s heir apparent.

This is an interesting story in the scriptures that has some connection to Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory except these verses do not have a happy ending particular for Israel’s first king Saul. In brief Saul had been commanded to wipe out a nation of “terrorists” (no pun intended). Apparently the Amalekites were a ruthless barbaric nation led by a barbaric king. Saul is commanded to destroy them but rather he opts to keep the king alive as well as some trinkets for himself. Now the purpose is not to argue whether they did or did not deserve to be destroyed. There are other directions that we could go with this passage and other passages were war was according to these texts initiated and encouraged by God but that is not the purpose of this discussion. This passage speaks to a greater issue of relationship, trust and obedience.

Relationships to all of us are important. On every level of our lives we have connections and covenants. Covenants that entail spoken or at times unspoken issues of understanding that should never be infringed upon but all of us have lived long enough to know that many times they are infringed upon whether by us or done to us in some way shape or form.

In short brothers all of us have broken vows of some kind in our lifetime. Some of us are repentant of what we have done, others of us have deluded ourselves to believe that what the other does not know will not hurt them or us and the rest of us have gotten ourselves so caught out there that we don’t know to get back on track. Apply that to any area in your own life experiences.

The issue here that we find is between Saul and God. In these opening verses Saul is reminded about his humble beginnings. Why do you think that is? Sometimes all of us need to be reminded where God has brought us from. There are times that monetary success and other worldly acknowledgments can cause our noses to rise higher in the air than they were ever intended to. Sometimes we forget that we are all responsible to someone as well as for someone.

Now brothers I will not engage you in your own personal walk with God. That is your walk whatever it is and if you have convinced yourself that you bear no responsibility in how you conduct yourself publicly or privately then that is between you and your understanding of who God is. But check on this, walking with God is about trust and understanding. The issue with Saul was not a matter of him not following orders but it was an issue of trust. He kept this wicked king alive as well as residuals from the battle after he was told not to because he did not trust that God would provide and keep him. It is like standing in front of someone you love and trust but you refuse to fall back because you are afraid that they won’t catch you.

What’s holding you back right now in your life from taking that next step with God? Are you going to bank on waiting until you can’t go and be out anymore when you are old and unable to do it or God forbid your health deteriorates and then you decide to trust in God? Let’s not simply call on God when we open or close a meeting or when we are doing a memorial service. Let’s get it right and keep it straight with God. Remember to say a prayer for those families who lost loved ones seven years ago and if you don’t know any families personally I ask that you pray for the family of Edna Stephens who was a member of my church who worked in the Pentagon and was killed on 9/11/01.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father,

We know where you desire us to strive to be in you and we know where we are. We have gotten so caught up in pleasing ourselves that it is only in moments of loss or death that we seem to attune ourselves to you. In our fun and frolic help us to be mindful of what our attainments are and lead us we ask to walk in them publicly and privately.


God bless,
Brother Heath Cheek

No comments: