Tag Archive: Obedience


Scripture

Matthew 21:28-32 (NIV)

28 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’
29 “ ‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.
30 “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.
31 “Which of the two did what his father wanted?”
“The first,” they answered.
Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.

Observation

I don’t know if I’ve heard it before, but I’ve recently heard the expression that “delayed obedience is disobedience.” It really stuck in my head. In my life I can say that there have been many times when I have had a problem with authority which stems from pride. Too often have I seen some instructions, usually by some sort of authority, like my company or the government, and I “notice” something amiss in the instructions. Sometimes it might be something that doesn’t make sense to me. “Why do it like that?” As I think about it, I often have a hard time following instructions that don’t make sense to me. I’d say it’s a huge fault of mine. This pride that something has to make sense to me in order to do it. Even as I write this, I can feel a tug at me that what I’m writing just can’t be true. I feel such a need to defend myself. To point out that instructions should be clear and easy to follow. Perhaps I am digressing in that.

In these verses, I see two sons. One, with whom I can relate, who say’s he’s not going to do what his Dad asked him to do, but then changes his mind, and does it. I have done that. If I don’t see the merit in doing something, usually a specific way, that I have deemed, doesn’t make sense to me, I will decide not to do it. Then, I have been known, to “see reason” and then do it.
The other son tells his father that he’s going to do as he asks and then doesn’t do it. While I can’t think of any specific examples right now, I do have a sense, knowing myself, that I have, in my delayed obedience, pointed out that other people didn’t do “it” but I did.

I asked the Lord to have this notion that delayed obedience was still disobedience explained to me. Now, when I recently heard this in a message, I accepted it. Of course, I said. In agreement to the notion, “delayed obedience is disobedience.” Then, in today’s reading, I ran into this parable. I have read this before but not in this “new” context. The more I think on it, the more I can remember identifying with the first son. However, today, as I said, I was like, “how can that be disobedience?! He did what his father asked him to do! Go after the second son.”
In examining these verses, I even looked at these in different translations. A helpful way, I’ve found, to understand what is being said. All the verses I previously looked at seemed to be saying the same thing, which didn’t really help me to see more clearly (he changed his mind (NIV, NLT, ESV, BSB)). I want to take just a moment and point out that, in thanksgiving, that I believed I was wrong. Somehow. Delayed obedience is disobedience. It had to be. So, I thank God that He kept me pushing on until I understood why I was confused. When I looked at these verses the “light” came on:

King James
He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.

New King James Version
He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went.

American Standard Version
And he answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented himself, and went.

All of these versions show that the first son didn’t just change his mind, but regretted what he had said to his father, “I will not go.” I can understand this a lot better. Both of the sons sinned. The first son was disrespectful to his father in his disobedience to him but realized that what he had said was wrong and so did as his father asked. The second son sinned against his father when he told him that he would do as he asked but then didn’t. Of the two sons, the first son, who repented of his sin, was the one who did the will of his father.

Application

I’m so thankful that the Lord brought this to my attention today. I always want to do what He asks me to do when He asks me to do it. As I walk with the Lord more, I realize that, even as I read the Bible, and think that I understand what is being said to me, that I don’t grasp everything and, more importantly, I don’t realize that I’m missing something. However, I know, as I seek Him more, daily, that the good work He’s doing in me, will one day be complete.

Prayer

Thank you, Father! Thank you for who you are. I praise and exalt you! Thank you for clarifying this to me today. Please help me to be humble and obedient to your word. Please renew in my a clean heart that always say’s yes to you and does what you want me to do when you tell me to do it. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being.

Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days.  I saw none of the other apostles—only James, the Lord’s brother. Galatians 1:15-16, 18-19

Then after fourteen years, I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also.  I went in response to a revelation and, meeting privately with those esteemed as leaders, I presented to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain. Galatians 2:1-3

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