Down through the years some of us have pointed out that God didn’t give Moses The Ten Suggestions.
With similar conviction we rightly recognize the importance of being obedient to God.
Many have also observed that the only real solution for the world will come in a day when God’s Messiah rules the world with a rod of iron (Rev 2:27).
So, let’s think about this, together. When we pray, as part of “The Lord’s Prayer”, …”Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…” (Matt 6:10), do we assume that the kingdom of God is primarily a matter of bowing to the power and authority of God?
My guess is that most of us would agree that no one deserves to be obeyed more than God. But do we mean then that obedience is the best we can give to him? Do we step up to the highest ground of his kingdom when we agree to do what he tells us to do?
Here’s why I’m pressing the question. The Hebrew and Greek words that are often translated “obey” in the Bible have a first meaning of “to hear, or to listen.” In fact, when Moses writes, “Hear O Israel, the LORD our God is one LORD (Deut 6:4), the word “Hear” is the word which is also translated “obey”.
I’m convinced that God isn’t just saying “obey me”. Rather he is first saying, “Listen to me. Give me your attention.” “Do you hear and sense how much I love you?” Such words go very well with, “Come, let us reason together says the LORD” (Isa 1:18).
For those who belong to Christ, his kingdom is not primarily about power, authority, and order. It is first of all a kingdom of the heart– an ordering of thoughts that are gratefully true to the care he has shown for us.
What friendship or marriage would work if the ultimate issue always came down to “just tell me what you want me to do”?