Why Should We Obey God?

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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“You must faithfully keep all my commands by putting them into practice, for I am the LORD. Do not bring shame on my holy name, for I will display my holiness among the people of Israel. I am the LORD who makes you holy. It was I who rescued you from the land of Egypt, that I might be your God. I am the LORD.”

Leviticus 22:31

Why should we obey God? There are many answers to this question—many that are right, many that are wrong. Among the most commonly held, but incorrect, answers would be the following: We should obey God in order to earn salvation. We should obey God because otherwise he'll make our lives miserable. We should obey God because that guarantees a painless life.

Right reasons for obeying God are many, including: We should obey God because it's the right thing to do. We should obey God because obedience leads to a fulfilling life. We should obey God because Jesus taught us to do so. One could easily come up with dozens more answers by a careful study of Scripture.

Leviticus 22 provides a reason for obeying God that we might easily overlook. The whole chapter spells out a variety of laws pertaining to the offering and eating of sacrifices. Verse 31 summarizes: "You must faithfully keep all my commands by putting them into practice, for I am the LORD." Obedience is a response to God's very nature as embodied in his holy name. Verse 33 adds, "It was I who rescued you from the land of Egypt, that I might be your God. I am the LORD."

At first this might seem like an odd way to sum up a chapter on obedience. But, in fact, the last verse of Leviticus 22 provides a powerful rationale for obedience. The Israelites are to obey the Lord in response to his gracious salvation. Their obedience isn't meant to earn God's favor, but rather to respond to this favor already given. God's own name, the LORD, embodies his grace and mercy (see Exod. 34:6-7). Thus, to honor God's name is to live in response to his grace by obeying his commands.

As Christians, our call to obedience is in many ways similar to that of Leviticus 22. Romans 12:1-2 reveals that though we do not offer literal sacrifices, we are to offer our whole lives as living sacrifices to God. We do so because of God's mercy given in Jesus Christ. Thus, we should obey God out of love for God and gratitude for all that he has done for us.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: If you were to be asked the question "Why obey God?" what answer(s) would you give? In what ways does obedience benefit God? In what ways does it benefit us?

PRAYER: Merciful God, today I begin by thanking you for your amazing grace, for coming in Christ to save the world, including me. Thank you, Lord, for the way your grace has filled, shaped, and guided my life. Thank you for the privilege of living in your grace each day.

May I seek to obey you in all that I do, Lord, not in order to earn your favor, but so that I might respond appropriately to your favor already given to me. As I receive your mercies, which are new every morning, may they motivate me to offer myself to you, all that I am, all that I do. May my obedience to you be an act of thanksgiving, a demonstration of my love for you.

All praise be to you, O God, because you have rescued me from sin and death and because your grace fills my life each day. Amen.

P.S. If you're looking for some Advent inspiration and cheer, my blog features an online Advent calendar, with a photo and a Bible passage for the days of December leading up to Christmas Day. Simply visit my website and click on the link for today's date.