What if we do the right thing by action but our heart is filled with anger and bitterness or frustration? Or what if we do the right thing but we go about it the wrong way?
Disobedience does not always mean choosing to do something that is obviously wrong. Disobedience is even those little things that we choose not to do or what we try to get away with sometimes, trying to do as little as possible.
Disobedience is more about compromise. We obey in some areas, and yet we compromise in others, or we choose which laws or rules to obey – neither option is true because partial obedience is still disobedience. The truth is God calls us to be fully and completely obedient – God calls us to not only do the right thing but to do it in the right way.
When have you compromised what you believe or what you knew you were supposed to do? How did that turn out for you?
In God’s Word, we will see that the Israelite’s obeyed God by rebuilding the wall, but their fields and families suffered from neglect. They were obeying God in one respect, but they were going about it in the wrong way, resulting in disobedience and their need to repent. Likewise, we must consider in our own lives the importance of not only doing the right thing, but doing the right thing in the way God desires. Plus, we need to make sure that we are being obedient in all areas of our life. Because we can’t be obedient in one area and yet be disobedient in other areas. Because partial obedience is still disobedience.
I have been guilty of that by being overly zealous for the gospel and actually neglecting my responsibility that have with my family. God has given us our family as a gift and we need to be good stewards of that and meet their needs as well. It’s easy for me to say that I am doing what God has called me by advancing His kingdom and sharing the gospel, but am I doing it at the expense that my family suffers. There is a fine line in this because yes, we should be zealous for the gospel and mission focused but not to the extreme where we neglect the needs of our family. But the other side is some people will say that their family is so important that they won’t sacrifice their time for the sake of the gospel which is also disobedience. What ever extreme you may lean toward its actually disobedience to God, so we have learn how to balance both sides of it, by giving our family the time they deserve as well as the time God deserves to share the Gospel for His glory.
When it comes to obeying God, why do you think the way we do something is just as important as doing the thing we are command to do?
In Nehemiah’s story we see that God’s people the Israelite’s faced conflict from both the outside and inside as they sought to rebuild the walls. However, because they persevered and repented from what they were doing and put their faith and trust in God, they accomplished God’s will despite their difficult circumstances.
The same thing can be said for us, we shouldn’t compromise our faith because our circumstances become difficult, thinking that by lying or being dishonest it would help us. What is most important is doing what is right and being honest and having integrity, trusting in the Lord. The initial request to rebuild the city was endorsed by the King, and carried out under his protection and support. But would they be able to achieve this ambitious plan? Read Nehemiah 4:7-14
God’s people were confronted with difficulties. First, God’s people were despised by Sanballot and his associates – these men were set on stopping God’s people from building the wall. Second, the foundation of the walls were in ruins. The primary reason Sanballot and his associates were so adamant about stopping this work was because once the walls were built, it would be hard for the enemies to exploit the Israelite’s.
All though the enemies of God’s people plotted together to stop their task, God’s people stood confident in the face of conflict. So trusting the Lord to protect them, they guarded one another and continued building the wall. Nehemiah was sure of God’s protection and provision in this task. He called the people to not be afraid but to remember their God, how great and awesome He was. V.14
Nehemiah’s trust was founded on His knowledge of God, who would fight for them, just as He had in the past. The same must be said for us. Our trust and our confidence should be in our Lord, because of who He is and what He has done. God is trustworthy, Faithful, and keeps His promise. Even after the Israelite’s resumed building and were encouraged by Nehemiah, they still faced opposition. Read Nehemiah 5:1-13
God’s people were so focused on the work of the wall, they had apparently neglected their fields, so they hired others to work their field in exchange for grain. Yet, the King was demanding the taxes that they owed. Because of this situation, God’s people were selling their children into debt-slavery. Even so, at this time they also neglected the poor and compromised their ability to provide for themselves.
I have been guilty of focusing on the work of the ministry and neglecting my other responsibilities and even my family, justifying it, by saying that reaching the lost is so critically important. Yet, the truth is I was not being obedient. Yes, I was obedient to the great commission, but I was neglecting my family and other responsibilities.
We, like the Israelite’s, can never fully live up to God’s law. Even though the Israelite’s were fully focused on accomplishing God’s will in building the wall, they compromised in other areas. As they compromised in other areas, the entire work of building the wall was compromised.
Why is it important that we keep a close watch on our own lives as we seek to be obedient to the will and commands of God? We might think we are doing God’s will and being obedient in one area, but yet compromising in another area.
The good news is, when Nehemiah confronted their sin, they repented and sought to make right their wrongs. Just as the Israelite’s repented after Nehemiah’s convicting call, we should also repent when confronted with compromise in our own lives.
What are some areas of compromise in your own life where repentance is needed?
Nehemiah became angry, and rightly so. Not only had they placed their children and the poor in a terrible position, they were also charging interest against one another. Jews charging other Jews interest was strictly forbidden in the Law of Moses. Despite the threats from both the inside and out, God worked in His people to accomplish His task in miraculous time. Read Nehemiah 6:15-16
This story is a clear reminder that God’s people should not underestimate what God can accomplish through them if they trust in Him and persevere in obedience. Remember if God is with us who can be against us, we are more than conquers through Christ. And throughout this story, Nehemiah reminded the people that God was with them. Nehemiah also declared that God would not only give them the ability to accomplish this task, but that He would also make them prosper. Nehemiah knew that God would fight for His people and in the end they realized that this task, even by their enemies had been accomplished by God.
We should be reminded that God fought for us through Jesus Christ so that we have victory over sin and death, therefore, we can be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that our labor in the Lord is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Corn.15:55-58
Our salvation, and our eternal hope is not dependent upon us, but God. So we can rest in Christ!