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Why Obey God?

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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He said, “If you will listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the LORD who heals you.”

Exodus 15:26

As the Israelites began their journey from Egypt to Mt. Sinai, they soon ran out of water. When they finally discovered a well-watered oasis, it turned out that the water there was bitter. So they complained to Moses, who passed on their complaint to the Lord. He responded by making the water good to drink.

But then the Lord added a conditional promise: “If you will listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians” (15:26). Here is a classic covenantal statement, in which God’s blessing is contingent upon the people’s obedience. It provides a rationale for obedience: If you obey, you will be rewarded.

Yet God provided another reason for obedience. After promising that if the Israelites obey him he will preserve them, he added: “for I am the LORD who heals you” (15:26). God is not just any old god, but the one who revealed himself to Moses as the Lord, “I AM WHO I AM.” This Lord, a God of grace and mercy, is Israel’s healer. In this context, healing is a metaphor for deliverance from Egypt. So the Israelites should obey God, not only because of what he will do for them, but also because of who he is and what he already did for them.

And so it is with us. We obey God, in part because we know that obedience leads to blessing, but, more basically, because of who God is and what God has done for us in Christ. We live a life of obedience in response to God’s grace poured out upon us.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Why do you obey God? What motivates you? When you struggle to obey, what helps you to do it?

PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank you for the rewards of obedience. Even as you promised to bless Israel if they obeyed you, so you have promised to me. Help me, I pray, to live a life open to your blessings.

But, beyond this, may I obey you because of who you are and what you have already done for me. May my obedience be an act of gratitude, a worshipful response to your grace in Christ. Amen.

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