FMH Childrenís Club International
P.O. Box 640109
El Paso, TX 79904
The following letter-form was brought about as a means of teaching my children the Word of God through the mail. And of course, quite naturally so, thatís the reason I begin these letters with "Dear Children" and end them with "Love Dad". So for the rest of you who participate in these weekly messages, please keep their original intended purpose in mind.
14 June, 1998
Are you ready for Obedience part II? Well I hope so because this is one very serious subject when it comes to our salvation (making it to Heaven). And as you should remember from last weekís message, we talked about my friend and the loan that God never intended for me to loan him. And even though I did disobey God the Father by not doing as He had instructed me to do, just maybe, through my public confession of wrong doing, I can somehow turn my disobedient mess around. And based on the events of last week thereís a good possibility that just maybe I have started my friend to thinking.
And just what do you think heís thinking about? Well if you were in his shoes, and you needed to borrow money, but the Lord didnít want you to have it, wouldnít it make you wonder why? I mean you think about it: why in the world didnít the Lord want me to loan him the money? Well to be perfectly honest with you I donít know all the details but I do know just a few. And likewise it was a few of those same details that I gave out in last weeks message that evidently put my friendís brain into gear. You see it was after he got last weekís sermonet that we had a very short talk on the phone, and it was decided that we weíre going to have a much longer talk Friday, after work, at my apartment. But thatís only what we were going to do because his work got in the way and nobody met with anybody.
You see Godís got a message for me to deliver to my friend and of course Satan doesnít want him to hear it. And seeing how itís God Who wants me to get this message to him itís got to be something very important. Therefore if my friend hears what the Lord has given me for him to hear, and he understands it, believes it, and then obeys it, the results will be a whole lotta changes going on in his life and all for the glory of God. And seeing how Satan is trying his best to block my attempts to get Godís message through to him (face to face) I guess Iíll just have to do it the best way I know how. And seeing how I write a whole lot better than I talk anyway (and that ainít saying much), I guess maybe itís best to just keep right on doing what Iím doing by doing it through this letter.
Now please donít any of you get me wrong; I am not picking on my friend. Because as I hope you will see before this mini series on Obedience is over with, this message is not only for my friend. You see in reality the list of people who need to hear this sermonet the most includes me, you, and everybody else. Because reading from I Timothy 2:1-4 we find, "Exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men... For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth."
So God wants everyone to be saved, and everyone has the ability to be saved, but believe you me thereís going to be a whole lotta folks who just ainít gonna be saved because of that one word "disobedience". And if youíll remember back a few weeks ago when we did the series on Why Itís Difficult For Some Women To Have Children, it will be easy for you to understand just how far back the word disobedience goes back in history. Because it all started with Godís first grown up children (Adam and Eve) and from then on out it never stopped. In fact after that very first act of disobedience was committed (sin) in the Garden of Eden there was probably only One Who obeyed God the Father throughout His entire life... and He was the perfect Son of God... and His name was Jesus.
Because the fact remains that no matter where you turn in the Holly Bible (starting in Genesis and ending in Revelation) you will always find God giving us poor old pitiful humans very strong warnings to "obey". And in chapter 28 of Deuteronomy God the Father lays it on the line (through His prophet Moses) when He says, "And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I commanded thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God. Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store. Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out."
Now I donít know if all of that managed to sink into your brain, but just that one word "blessed" should have the ability to bring a smile on anyoneís face. Because itís a known fact that when anyone is being blessed by God the word "need" doesnít even exist in their vocabulary. And since this promise of blessings holds true for not only His Jewish children but for the rest of His children as well, then it only seems logical that anybody and everybody in their right mind ought to be grabbing hold to it. And of course the only requirements to being able to receive these blessings is to overcome that great big IF in the middle of the Scripture: If we will obey God, and do what He tells us to do, we will be blessed. And then when God decides to bless us there ainít nothing (except disobedience) thatís going to stop Him; we will be blessed!!!
But letís not stop there because reading on we find, "The LORD shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways. The LORD shall command the blessings upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. The LORD shall establish thee an holy people unto himself... And all the people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the LORD; and they shall be afraid of thee. And the LORD shall make thee plenteous in goods... The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure... And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them: And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them."
You see all those great promises from God that are spelled out in the first 15 verses of chapter 28, can be ours if and only if we obey Him!!! And thatís the good part. But iffin (new word) we donít obey Him itís the very next 53 verses that none of us should even want to hear. Because in them we see Godís "not so desirable" promise of the curses that will follow. And reading on into verse 16 we can see them for ourselves: "But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field. Cursed shalt be thy basket and thy store. Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out."
So all of the blessings of God just got turned into the curses of God and all because of that one word "disobedience". But seeing how Father God so desperately wants us to understand this one very important word, He continues on in the Scripture with a little more detail (you might even say that the bad is so important that it deserves a little more air time). But anyway, continuing on with the reading, "The Lord shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me. The LORD shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee... The LORD shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust... The LORD shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies... And thy carcase shall be meat unto the fowls of the air... The LORD shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart... Thou shalt betroth a wife, and another man shall lie with her: thou shalt build an house, and thou shalt not dwell therein... Thou shalt beget sons and daughters, but thou shalt not enjoy them; for they shall go into captivity."
So have you heard enough of the bad to be convinced that the bad is really bad? Well maybe just a little bit more: "Moreover all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded thee: And they shall be upon thee for a sign and for a wonder, and upon thy seed for ever. Because thou servedst not the LORD thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things..."
And those are the two (and only two might I add) choices God has given us: obey and be blessed or disobey and be cursed. There should be no confusion about it because it doesnít take an Einstein to understand it. There are only two choices and the difference between the two is as obvious as black and white. But even though this truth is undeniably simple and straightforward (white being good and black being bad) itís only what we might call human nature to try and make the color gray acceptable in the eyes of God. And one of the best (worst) real life examples of this gray area is found in Samuel 15:1-26. So picking up the story of Saul in verse 1, "Samuel also said unto Saul, The LORD sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and women, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass."
OK, before we go much further into the story let me first bring you up to speed. Godís chosen people (the Jews) wanted a king... and in His own perfect time God the Father was going to give them a king... but Godís chosen people just couldnít wait that long. So seeing how God the Father likes to give His children what they want, if they bug Him long enough for what they want (regardless of whether it be good or bad) He will eventually give in and give them what theyíve demanded. And since they wanted a king, and they wouldnít take no for an answer, thatís exactly what He gave them... and his name was Saul.
And even though this thing of Saul being king was not what God wanted, He gave Saul every available opportunity to do the job assigned to him (being king). And seeing how God the Father never gives anybody a job to do without first giving them the proper tools to do it with, there was no doubt about the fact that Saul was totally prepared to be king. You see Saul didnít go into this thing with his hands tied. He was fully equipped to do everything that he needed to do, and the only other thing necessary for him to do was to just obey God!!!
So now that Saul was totally equipped and ready for the job at hand, letís see how he does on his first assignment; taking care of the Amalekites. Continuing on with the story: "And Saul gathered the people together; and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand footmen, and ten thousand men of Judah... And Saul Smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou comest to Shur, that is over against Egypt. And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly."
Now if you will remember God told Saul to "...go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and women, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass." Thatís what God told him to do, that was Saulís part in this whole matter (obey), but for some reason that ainít what Saul did. Because it was only very shortly thereafter that God the Father had a heart to heart talk with the prophet Samuel: "Then came the word of the LORD unto Samuel, saying, It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night. And when Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning, it was told Samuel, saying, Saul came to Carmel, and, behold, he set him up a place, and is gone about, and passed on, and gone down to Gilgal. And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD. And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?"
So itís right about here in the story that we can assume from all indications that either Saul went completely brain dead or he developed an extraordinary ability to lie. You see not only did he do what he wasnít suppose to do, but he even managed to convince himself that what he did wasnít really wrong. Or then again, could it be possible that he disobeyed without even knowing what he was doing? Not hardly! You see Saul tried the old "turn the black into gray trick" but it didnít work with God. Because reading on we find, "And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed. Then Samuel said unto Saul, Stay, and I will tell thee what the LORD hath said to me this night. And he said unto him, Say on. And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the LORD anointed thee king over Israel? And the LORD sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed. Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the LORD, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the LORD?"
Saul was dead meat, God the Father already had already hung him out to dry, but he still wouldnít give in, give up, and admit the truth. And to be frank and honest with you, it was that one little flaw in Saul that eventually took him on into to the place that nobody in their right mind would want to go. But reading it for ourselves, "And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and have gone the way which the LORD sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal."
See what I mean? Samuel wanted desperately for Saul to fess up to his problem, but talking to Saul was like talking to a brick wall. So enough was enough and Samuel finally laid it all out on the line. "And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king. And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice. Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the LORD. And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD hath rejected thee from being king over Israel."
Now them are what you might call pretty strong words. Samuel told Saul that his disobedience was nothing more than rebellion, and if you arenít too certain about the word rebellion just consider it as witchcraft. And if that ainít enough already, going right along with whatís already been said, Samuel goes on to say that Saulís stubbornness was so strong that he had actually turned it into his very own god. And because of this, Saulís rebellion, stubbornness, or disobedience (call it what you like) to God the Farther resulted in his anointing as the King of Israel being totally and completely removed. And as for the rest of the story of Saulís life, it was from this point on that he continued to slip and slide right on down the slippery slopes of disobedience right on into the burning fires of Hell.
So how does that make you feel about being disobedient to God? Well itís just like I said earlier, this book called the Holy Bible is full of bad stories about good people turned bad... and itís all because of the very simple fact that they refused to obey God. Now going a little further towards the end of the Old Testament we can find the book written by the great prophet Ezekiel. And just as predicted, even though so many people had already lost their everlasting and eternal lives to disobedience, the stories in this book are no different.
And knowing how you must want to read about this one powerful prophet of God, letís get it on with the program. So reading from chapters 1, 2, and 3 of the book of Ezekiel, "Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God... The word of the Lord came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was there upon him. And I looked, and, behold a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of fire. Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man. And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings. And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calfís foot: and they sparkled like the colour of burnished brass. And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings. Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward. As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle. Thus were their faces... And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning."
Talk about blowing your mind! What God allowed Ezekial to see in this vision was nothing short of what you might call a very unusual experience. Ezekial was being shown things that not too many people were privileged to see. He was special to God because God had a very special job for him to do. But what he had just seen was just a little bit of the action, because the Scripture goes on to say, "And there was a voice from the firmament that was over their heads, when they stood, and had let down their wings. And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD."
Can you even try to imagine what you would do if you saw what Ezekiel saw? Well you would probably do the same thing he did, because, "And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake. And he said unto me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee. And the spirit entered into me when he spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard him that spake unto me. And he said unto me, Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day."
So this was the very special job that God had chosen Ezekiel to do. You might say that he had been given the chore of dealing with a bunch of disobedient spoiled brats. Because God the Father goes on to say, "For they are impudent children and stiffhearted. I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD God. And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them. And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house. And thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear; for they are most rebellious. But thou, son of man, hear what I say unto thee; Be not thou rebellious like that rebellious house..."
Talk about one tough mission! Ezekiel had what you might want to call a challenge on his hands. It certainly wasnít going to be an easy one but the Spirit of God was with him. Because as we read on, "And he said unto me, Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with my words unto them... So the spirit lifted me up, and took me away, and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit; but the hand of the Lord was strong upon me. Then I came to them of the captivity at Telabib, that dwelt by the river of Chebar, and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days. And it came to pass at the end of seven days, that the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word of my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul."
Now just in case you didnít know it, a watchman was someone who stayed on the lookout for approaching danger, and then warned the rest when it finally came. And the danger that Ezekiel (the watchmen) was to warn Godís chosen people about was the danger of disobedience. You see their lives were in immediate danger but their minds were so far gone that they didnít even know it. And this job that God the Father had given Ezekiel to do was so important that He went on to repeat the instructions just one more time. Because He said, "Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul."
Now I hope that every one of you understands the earthshaking tone of God the Fatherís voice as He delivers these words to the prophet Ezekiel. And just in case you do see the white as white and black as black but yet try to imagine it a nice shade of gray instead, please let me help you see it correctly again. Godís Word is forever!!! This Wonderful Book called the Holy Bible is all that there is and all that there needs to be. Starting with Genesis and ending with Revelation we have everything that we need to know about what God expects of us when it comes to this one very important word OBEY. And since we are talking about it, speaking of gray, if you and I have any gray matter between our ears (brains) weíll be shaking in our boots at just the thought of ever even so slightly disobeying anything that God has instructed us to do.
So regardless of what any preacher or any denomination might say, the truth of the matter is that you can be saved at any one moment in time but yet lose it through a very simple process called "disobeying God". And furthermore, seeing how I know this truth, I also know from Godís Word that if I donít warn each and every one of you about the consequences of not obeying God then I too will be held guilty of the same offense.
So that my friend is what this life is all about, and likewise thatís why I preach what I preach. Total obedience to the Word of God (Genesis through Revelation) will get you into Heaven, but thereís one question we must all decide on: is it worth the effort?
To obey God is not impossible. Heís given us everything that we need to get the job done with the exception of one itty bitty little thing. Because in order to obey God and do what Heís called us to do we must add one more thing by KEEPing THE FAITH!!!
Dad (Bruce Hallman)
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