The Blessings of Obedience

Most people live their lives searching for happiness. Unfortunately, most people never find it because they are looking in all the wrong places. How many people have you known that have sought happiness in a beer bottle or in a sinful relationship? Quite a few people have tried what the sinful world offers and yet they are still unhappy.

This was the case with the ancient Israelites. For a period of time they had enjoyed happiness when they loved the Lord with all their heart, soul, and mind. But as the years passed, they began to look for happiness in many other places. They began to worship idols and turn away from the commandments God had given them. After many generations, things became so bad that God chose to remove his blessing and to punish the people he loved so much.

How did this happen? It happened because the Israelite people refused to listen to what God had commanded in the Bible. He had sent prophets to them to warn them about the consequences of sin. But they refused to turn from their sin and submit to the commands God had given them. The end result was quite bad. The prophet Micah was one of the prophets who addressed the sinful actions of Israel. From the second chapter of his prophecy we learn three vital truths about the Bible.

Those who reject God’s Word will become very wicked (1-2).

Things had become so bad in Israel that the people were dreaming about sin. As they lay in their beds, they would plan out the wicked actions they wanted to do the next day. Then just as soon as they had awakened from sleep, they were ready to act out their desires on the people around them. For the people of Micah’s generation, this involved taking land and houses from the rightful owners. One queen of Israel went so far as to wrongfully accuse a man of a capital crime so that her husband could take possession of his garden! What a dreadful time in which to live.

But this is what will happen to a nation which rejects the Bible. As our nation continues to head down that slippery slope, we are already seeing the increasingly wicked nature of our fellow countrymen. Homosexuality, abortion, pornography, adultery, materialism, and many other sins are becoming very common in America. Why is this? Our country has forsaken the Word of God. Most of the people in our country no longer care what God has said in the Bible. And because of that, they continue to grow more wicked day by day.

Those who reject God’s Word will be punished (3-5).

So, what will happen to these people? Will they get away with their sin? Absolutely not! God’s response to the wickedness of Israel was very decisive. Because they had rejected his commands, he sent a great punishment that they would not soon forget. Despite the wealth they had accumulated over the years, these wicked people would be punished by the all powerful hand of God. In 722 B.C., God sent the Assyrian armies to capture the Israelite people. During the fierce conflict many of them were killed.

And at that time, the tables were turned on them. Those who had unlawfully taken land and homes had the same thing done to them. Their property was confiscated by others and they never saw it again. What a way to go! Was it worth it? No, but they learned the truth of Galatians 6:7. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” It may seem like you are getting away with your sin, but some day God’s punishment will come.

Those who reject God’s Word will miss God’s blessing (6-7).

The sad thing about all of this is that it didn’t have to be this way. God had told the Israelites that obedience to his commands would give them great blessing. They knew this! But instead of obeying, they chose to search for happiness elsewhere. When Micah preached to them, they told him to stop talking. They didn’t like what he was saying because they didn’t like what God was saying. But it was exactly what they needed to hear.

God used Micah to point out the blessings of obeying God’s commands. God said, “Do not My words do good to him who walks uprightly?” In other words, the person who obeys God’s commands will be blessed. That is the way God has designed things to work. If you love God completely and obey what he has commanded you to do, you will find him to be good to you. But if you hate God and despise what he had commanded, you will not enjoy these same blessings.

Conclusion:

How do you fit into this message? It all depends on your response to the Bible. Are you someone who loves God and is seeking to obey him? Or are you someone who hates God and has rejected his commandments in the Bible? The answer to that question will determine how God will respond to you.