“But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4 NKJV)
“Observe and obey all these words which I command you, that it may go well with you and your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the sight of the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 12:28 NKJV).
In this week’s message, we would like to share some insights from the Bible on God’s blessings to His children when we read His Word and obey it. You may be a person who has already received the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, you’re a nice person, you go to church, and pray, but you may be experiencing what feels like many closed doors. You may not be receiving significant breakthroughs at work, school, in courtship or marriage, in your emotional or physical health, with your children, in ministry, or other areas of your life. As you ask yourself what could be the reason for your “seasons of drought”, we suggest you start by examining yourself and your walk with the Lord, with a humble and repentant heart (Psalm 51:17; Lamentations 3:40; 2 Corinthians 13:5). Are you really right with God? Do you really love Him by making time daily to learn and follow His ways (John 14:15)? Might the closed doors, afflictions, and troubles you are experiencing be directly related to your failure to heed God’s ways?
Being a Christian does not mean we will have a trouble-free life and in fact, the Lord Jesus Christ encouraged us saying “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NKJV). Various trials do come upon children of God and we are called to consider it pure joy because through them our faith is tested to be proven genuine and we also receive the honor of sharing in the Lord’s sufferings (1 Peter 1:6-7; 4:12-13; Matthew 5:11-12). Even upright men like Elisha, Job, and a man born blind suffered sickness, misfortune, and hard times but not necessarily because of their sin (2 Kings 13:14; Job 1:6-22; John 9:1-3). However, the Bible also tells us that the Lord Jesus came to give us life and life more abundantly so, we should also be experiencing some victories and breakthroughs in this life against the enemy’s schemes to makes our lives miserable and unproductive (John 10:10; Acts 16:25-34), even as we prepare for the life to come. A life in following the Lord Jesus Christ is also a life with many moments of joy and gladness (John 3:29; 15:11; 16:24; Luke 10:21; Acts 13:52). Despite our sufferings, we should have joy knowing that God has shown us such great love by calling us His children (Romans 5:8; John 1:12; 1 Thessalonians 1:6) and that “..our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17). Being children of God means we always have Someone, The Creator and Maker, The great I AM, who cares about our dire situation and is able and willing to help us (1 Peter 5:7; Mark 1:41; Hebrews 2:17-18). Our Father in Heaven is aware of what we need before we even ask! (Matthew 6:7-8.)
Consequences for Disobedience
In His faithfulness, God has given us choices and consequences. He has laid before us life and death and He pleads with us to “choose life” (Deuteronomy 30:19). In the Bible, we are told that the children of God were blessed and enjoyed peace as long as they obeyed God. But when they did evil in His sight, things did not go well at all and they reaped curses (Joshua 7:5; Judges 6:1; Acts 5:3-5). Many people sin against God either because they are truly ignorant and do not know what He requires, or because they willfully disobey His commands. One of the main reasons for the lack of knowledge is that they do not diligently read and study the Bible for themselves to renew their minds and learn what pleases God (Romans 12:2; 2 Timothy 2:5; 2:15). Many people make time for worldly things – such as reading worldly books and magazines online or offline, listening to worldly music, watching TV, watching videos online, and following other people while neglecting to seek God and this is committing the sin of idolatry and serving other gods (Satan) (Exodus 20:3). Satan does not offer any good reward for living worldly, but the Bible tells us that the wages of sin is death, which includes both misfortune and lack here on earth, and missing out on eternal life (Deuteronomy 28:29-30, 38-40, 42; Romans 6:23).
When we follow our own stubborn ways, we often don’t even know why we are struggling (Proverbs 4:19). There are numerous curses or misfortunes for disobedience and just reading Deuteronomy 28 alone should encourage us all to fear God and shun evil (Proverbs 3:7). This is by no means an exhaustive list but because of disobedience, you also invite the following:
- Poverty (Judges 6:1-6): For example, if you disobey Godly wisdom on managing finances and doing an excellent job at your work, you will be broke and dependent on others (Proverbs 20:4; 21:25; 21:5; 22:7; 24:33-34).
- Affliction or experiencing disasters (Leviticus 26:21; Ezekiel 16:49-50): For example, if you disobey your parents, all won’t go well with you (Ephesians 6:2-3).
- Lack of success in your field of work (Deuteronomy 11:16-17). For example, if you lie, when people learn about it, you will lose trust. The Lord hates a lying tongue (Proverbs 6:16-17).
- Misery (Romans 3:16). For example, if you repeatedly skip your prayers and Bible reading, you will grow weak in your faith and risk backsliding while having unanswered prayers (2 Chronicles 7:19-20; Psalm 89:30-32; Proverbs 1:28-33; Jeremiah 9:13-16; ). Likewise, if you have un-forgiveness, your prayers will be hindered (Matthew 5:23-24).
- Lack of peace (Isaiah 48:22; Romans 3:17). In addition, if you meditate on worldly news and secular music and movies, you will have a lack of peace. Try fasting from social media and secular music and secular TV for a week and see the significant difference on how much more peace you have in your heart.
- Oppression (Judges 10:6-7).
- Sickness and poor health (Leviticus 26:15-16).
- Fear and being ruled over by your enemies (Leviticus 26:17).
- Everlasting death and destruction (Deuteronomy 29:19-20).
You may say, “well, I rarely experience any of these things so therefore I must be perfect”. Let us make every effort to maintain a humble and repentant attitude (1 John 1:8-10). Remember what Jesus said to the disciples, “those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish” (Luke 13:4-5 NKJV). When we repent from our wicked ways and serve the Lord, we receive mercy from Him (Judges 10:16).
Some time back, I listened to a message by a well-known pastor explaining how life is difficult for Christians, and that in order to be saved we only need grace without the requirement to obey God’s commands. Although he was trying to encourage the people to focus on the Lord Jesus Christ, in the same message, he admitted to drinking beer for recreational purpose and justifying himself. This kind of teaching is dangerous, because it desensitizes Christians, and through drinking alcohol, smoking, etc., many Christians have lost their way in Christ and backslidden into the world (Ephesians 5:18). Isn’t God grace sufficient to comfort us (2 Corinthians 12:9)? After all, He is our Comforter, the one who comforts us, and He gave those who believe and trust in the Lord Jesus His Wonderful Holy Spirit, the Comforter, to abide with us forever (Isaiah 51:12; John 14:16; 14:26; 15:26; Jeremiah 32:27)! If the priests were not allowed to drink wine when entering God’s presence, how much more should we, born-again Christians, abstain from drinking intoxicating drinks since our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, in which He dwells (Leviticus 10:9; Ezekiel 44:21; 1 Corinthians 6:19; 1 Peter 2:5)? Being disobedient may sometimes yield a difficult life.
Blessings for Obedience
God gave us the Holy Spirit who leads us into all truth and helps us carry out His teachings and commands (John 16:13; Ezekiel 36:27). Obeying His Word yields many blessings (Deuteronomy 11:26-28; 28:1-14; Luke 11:28) including the following:
- Blessed children (Deuteronomy 12:28) and children who will be mighty on the earth (Psalm 112:1-2).
- A good and fulfilling marriage (Ruth 3:5-11; 4:10-12). In the example of Ruth and Boaz, the Lord also gave them the priceless gift of having the Messiah Jesus Christ in their lineage.
- Success in your field of work (Deuteronomy 7:12-15; 11:13-17; Proverbs 22:29).
- Prosperity and success wherever you go (Joshua 1:7-8).
- Good health and protection from diseases (Deuteronomy 7:15; Exodus 15:26).
- Deliverance from lies and deception (James 1:22; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12).
- Years of prosperity, contentment, and a long life (Job 36:11; Deuteronomy 5:33; 32:47).
- Peace like a river and many children (Isaiah 48:17-19).
- A good understanding (Psalm 110:10)
- The fear of God, humility and bearing the fruit of the Spirit (John 15:5; Deuteronomy 17:19-20; Galatians 5:22),
- Answered prayers (John 15:7)
- Experiencing God’s love (John 14:21).
- Ability to cling to God that we may love Him and ultimately inherit eternal life (Deuteronomy 30:15-20).
- Eternal life (Matthew 19:16-17; John 6:28-29;40; Romans 10:9-10).
It’s not vain, futile, or useless to obey God’s ways (Deuteronomy 32:46-47). Even if you are a Christian who has been living disobediently, if you genuinely repent from that life, the Lord promises to restore your life and make you prosperous again (Deuteronomy 30:1-10). However, when we disobey, we provoke God to anger and incur curses here on earth and without repentance, be warned that you will spend eternity in Hell and away from God forever (Deuteronomy 29:19-20; Deuteronomy 30:17-18; Deuteronomy 28:15-68; Revelation 22:14-15).
One of the primary responsibilities of children is to honor parents and if we do this, the Lord promises that all will go well with us (Ephesians 6:2-3). If you had children who repeatedly didn’t show you their love, listen to you, or perform the few chores you asked them to do, would you be inclined to hear their requests for what they desire and want? Unless you’re spoiling your child, you would not answer in the affirmative. In the same way, we are God’s children, and He is our Father. The Lord Jesus Christ commands us to believe in Him and to love one another (John 6:29; John 3:16-18; 1 John 3:22; Romans 10:9-10). We are to show our love to God by following the Lord Jesus Christ and obeying His commands and teachings (1 John 5:1-3; John 15:10). And remember God’s promise that says:
“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter the narrow road by learning God’s ways and obeying Him that we may be blessed in all we do and inherit eternal life (Luke 13:24; 1 John 5:1-3)!
Stay strong in the Lord and cling to His Word!
Janet and Abes.