Isaiah 48:18 If you had obeyed me,
Then peace would have come to you like a full-flowing river.
Good things would have come to you again and again,
Like the waves of the sea.
How did “obey” come to have a negative connotation? I mean, it’s from a Latin combination of ob + audire, which simply means “toward” + “to hear”, which is akin to a Greek word meaning “to perceive”, and a Sanskrit word meaning “evidently”. None of that background implies or infers badness, right?
Obey is defined as “to comply with or follow the commands, restrictions, wishes, or instructions of”; “to follow commands or GUIDANCE of”. (see my post on “the code is more like guidelines.” (https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=3715581761516286684#editor/target=post;postID=6787976082952746996;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=3;src=postname) (Wow, it feels cool including a link to something I’ve previously written.) Guidance isn’t bad, is it? Maybe it’s the “to do what someone tells you to do, or what a rule, law, etc says you MUST do” definition that is the cause of this negativity. We don’t like being told what to do. I know I don’t. Still.
I know for sure I didn’t when I was young and head-strong. These days, I’m much more willing to be heart-strong. Or I should say, to let myself be heart-strong. Because that’s where disobedience comes from, isn’t it? We let our head – our own thoughts or understanding on how something should go – over-rule what we know in our heart to be right? Well, I’ve learned the hard way that disobedience usually is the harder way; the longer road to the same end.
I think, that if I had obeyed all along, I would still be where I am today. There’d be some differences, of course, but there’d be a lot of similarities, too. i.e. I still would have married Barb (we met at my sister’s wedding). My recent health probably would have been the same (the heart valve was genetic). And I’d be a worship musician and writer. The main difference would be that I would have started this career a lot sooner. I wouldn’t have been side-tracked by trying to be secular. A rock-star. I would’ve obeyed God’s call, and gone right to worship musician.
This morning, I considered all the ways I lost my way between that altar call at age 10-12, when The Spurr Family evangelicals came to our church, and young adulthood and it’s rock-star dreams and eventual compromise (aka detour) to nicely-paid career doing the next-best thing (creating with computers).
Definitely, it was the worldly distractions, especially the shiny ones. It was pleasures and parties (drinking and sex, oh yeah). It was forced forgetfulness, avoidance, and procrastination of the continuous tugging on and of my heart-strings (I never, after all, gave up on my love of playing that darn guitar.) It was fear of what others would think of me. And there was a good bit of envy and jealousy of others’ rewards and talents, o yes there was. And an inability or an unwillingness to see the miraculous all around me.
Maybe it was that blindness that was the biggest factor – or rather, it was my mis-understanding that obedience meant “blind obedience”. I just googled that phrase: “the unquestioning adherence to inherently imprecise rules, even in the face of silly or adverse consequences; more simply, essentially doing something BECAUSE you are told to, adhering to the rules BECAUSE they are the rules.” Instead of doing what is right (having actually thought about it), it being coincidentally something someone has suggested you do or something that has legal consequences. In other words, again, not thinking about it for myself. I refused to learn. I refused the easy way.
Isaiah 48:17 The Lord [says]
“I am the Lord you God.
I teach you for your own good.
I lead you in the way you should go.