Read: 2 Kings 16-18, Psalm 112, Matthew 23, Titus 1
“The mighty God, the maker of heaven and earth, will not be one of many treasures, not even the chief of all treasures. He will be all in all or He will be nothing.”
– A.W. Tozer
Disobedience is linked to disbelief. When you stop believing, you stop obeying. I obey Jesus because I trust Him. I trust that Jesus is good, pure, wise, and RIGHT. When I trust God is doing the right things for His glory and for my good, then I obey Him more readily. When I doubt that God is good or that what He ordains for me will work towards good, obedience becomes more of a labored effort. When we stop believing in the essential goodness (rightness) of God we start rejecting His counsel. When we reject the counsel of the Lord, we become like the God-hating fools around us–for that is what underlies disobedience: a hatred of God. Rejection of God’s counsel leads us (as it did Israel in 2 Kings 17) to self destruction, the sacrificing of our own children, and the selling of ourselves to do evil (which has the implicit, if unspoken, intent of making God angry).
This decadent progression is sure: From lovingly living to make God glad, we fall to living hate–existing to provoke God to anger. This is the devil’s fate and a lack of belief leads us to act like him. Trust (utter, complete belief) in who God says He is and what He tells us to do makes us like Jesus. There is no treading water. The current of fallen Eden pulls us away from trust. We must fight to trust! We cannot mix a trust (obedience and fear of the Lord) with a fear of other rulers, peers, or colleagues. In truth, we cannot fear the Lord unless we ONLY fear the Lord. Jehovah will not be one of many gods, He will not even be the biggest of many others, He alone must be worshiped. In 2 Kings 17:41, partial reform is enacted and the people of Israel “feared the Lord but served the carved images.” To not trust fully is to disbelieve.
The devil ceaselessly tries to undermine our trust in Jesus. Satan hates those who trust God, for our trust in God reminds the devil that he did not trust and now bears the consequences. Further, the enemy knows that our trust in Jesus is both his undoing and our deliverance. Trust in Jesus is what defeats the schemes of evil. Active, energetic, faithful belief in who God is does the greatest damage to the devil’s plans; this is why he does everything he can to undermine our trust in Jesus.
When the devil is muttering in our ears (and in our language) like lying Assyrians at the gates, we need to “hold our peace, answer him not a word” (2 Kings 18:36). We don’t engage in a battle of wits with the devil; we battle at the level of our will. Ignoring his attempts to undermine our trust in Jesus, we resolve that we are going to give the devil no energy or attention. We are going to give ALL our trust, ALL our obedience, ALL our strength, ALL our thinking to Jesus. We defeat the devil by believing and obeying God.
“Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”