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What Happens If I Don’t Obey God Immediately? (Jeremiah 48:10)

Jeremiah 48:10a states (NIV):
“A curse on him who is lax in doing the LORD’s work!” This is one of those passages that tends to get your attention in the midst of prophetic dialogues of woe and doom. It is at once compelling and frightening. In the context, the chapter speaks of the destruction of Moab. And the verse itself bears reference to those who are called upon to bring vengeance upon that country. However, the Word of God here has implications for all of us.

Have you ever received a direct command from God where He told you to do something specific? How did you handle it? Did you do it immediately? Did you wait and try to reason out whether or not it was really God? Did you treat it lightly as if it could wait?

When God speaks, we should listen. One of the basic aspects of child rearing is training the child to respond to the authority of the parents. If a child learns that he can take his time in responding to Daddy or Mommy, he will. Before long, that behavior blossoms into a nonchalant attitude toward all authority, and by adulthood, you have a human being who is no more fit for service in God’s kingdom than a horse or mule “whose mouth must be held in check with bit and bridle.”

Think of the prophet in the Old Testament (1 Kings 20) who told a soldier to smite him. The soldier refused, possibly out of good natured humanitarian reasons for all we know. The prophet told him, “Because thou hast not obeyed the voice of the LORD, behold, as soon as thou art departed from me, a lion shall slay thee. And as soon as he was departed from him, a lion found him, and slew him.”

When Elisha sent Gehazi on a mission, he told him, “Gird up thy loins, and take my staff in thine hand, and go thy way: if thou meet any man, salute him not; and if any salute thee, answer him not again.” In other words, get the job done, and do it now!

There is an urgency about obedience to God that seems to be lost in this generation. When God speaks, we listen. When God says do it, our job is to say, “Yes, sir!” When God gives us instructions, they are to be carried out to the letter.

How many times in business or in family have you heard the exchange between the one who gave directions and the one who did not follow them? It usually goes something like this: “Why didn’t you do what I told you to do?” “Well, I thought…” “That’s your problem. I didn’t ask you to think. I gave you directions on what to do.”

Is that too hard? Have we grown so soft and touchy-feely that we cannot be reminded that we are generally very ignorant of God’s greater purposes and that the very best thing for us to do is be completely obedient as much as we possibly can?

Another example is that of Jonah. When Jonah was told what to do — with clarity — he ran the other direction. God took care of his disobedience with the right kind of discipline for him. Yet, after Jonah was vomited out onto dry land, as he lay in a pool of whale indigestion, what was the voice that he heard? Did Jonah hear God speak to him saying, “You’ve been disobedient to my command and have suffered for it. You need a support group to recover. Perhaps after you have talked about this and worked through your anger and your sense of loss, you will be ready for my service again.” Is that what God said?

No. God said, in essence, “Get up. Get going.” There was no support group for Jonah. There was no need for one. What Jonah needed was to obey. Your healing is in obedience. No amount of counseling, support, prayer or inner searching will deal with the inner conflict that comes from knowing that God has spoken and you have not obeyed!

A curse on him who is lax in doing the Lord’s work! Ouch! Double ouch! But we need to be reminded. This is not our show. It’s not our life. We are His servants, His children, His friends — if we do whatever He commands us to do.

In conclusion, take a moment and pray. Ask God if you have been lax in doing His work. If so, then truly repent. And start off where you left the path of obedience. God is waiting. So are those who will benefit from your obedience.

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2 Responses to "What Happens If I Don’t Obey God Immediately? (Jeremiah 48:10)"

  1. Vanessa Astley says:

    What if the word was “you need to give Simon up” but you married him anyway ?

    1. craig says:

      1 Corinthians 7 gives the commands we are to follow at that point. If a believer has a spouse who is content to dwell with the believer, then the believer is not to depart from his/her spouse. Paul makes that point very clear.

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