As the Lord Commands

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Commands. Demands. Requirements. Each day, from the youth to the elderly, each person chooses whether or not they will heed one, a few, or all of the assorted commands they are given. In fact, this is probably the hardest thing each of us to do – doing what we are told – giving in to the demands and/or requests of others.

Take any number of examples from your life – whether parent, child, husband, wife, boss, employee, citizen or government. In your life’s distinctiveness you may have authority over someone, but you also and always will be under someone else’s authority. Therefore (whether you are coerced or you are willingly submissive), when you do what others command you to do, you ultimately demonstrate that they possess the ability to direct your life. As a youth, my parents taught me that I would never be completely sovereign. Eventually, I had to choose and learn to obey their instructions, the same for the instructions given by my bosses; the same for the government; and eternally – God. We adults have the same problem as children – neither wants to submit to authority. Consider Adam…

When reading Genesis 2.15-17 we, in 20-20 hindsight, look at Adam and think, “Why did you not listen to the command?” But consider yourself, are you, am I, are any of us that far removed from Adam? We all want to do things our own way. We are so dead set on having things our way, that this self-willed attitude has been lauded in song boldly proclaiming, “I did it my way.” But really and truly, we are never free to do it my way. Adam did it his way. What did it get him? Trouble. Death, destruction and a life alienated from everything good. Now consider Noah…

Noah, a man not so blessed as Adam. His society was in shambles: lying, cheating, murder, stealing, rape (Genesis 6.5). He could have blamed the problems on his progenerates. In the midst of the temptations and ungodliness, he could have said, “Why fight? Besides, everyone is doing it” which was almost true because all but 8 souls died. Noah could have persuaded himself into being self-governing like the society around him. Yet he chose not to follow the footsteps of Adam; instead he chose to do as the Lord commanded. Noah ultimately submitted to God, but in his submission to God he had to submit to human authority (both to other individuals and the governments) unless that authority contradicted God Himself (Acts 4.19).

As the world sees it, Noah did not live up to his full potential as a person. Worldly thinking encourages self-satisfaction and self-sovereignty. Yet, Noah had none of these characteristics. He submissively built a boat to God’s specifications; he servantly took animals into the boat meeting God’s specifications. How foolish it must have seemed to a dying world? Yet because of Noah’s obedient foolishness to God’s instructions, the Scriptures express a noble compliment: “Thus did Noah, according to all that God commanded him, so did he.” If any one statement could be said about you and your self-sovereignty, could it be said: “Thus did [insert your name here] according to all that God commanded?”

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