- Ballynahinch Congregational
By Rev Victor Neill
'O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! Then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea‘ Isaiah 48 v 18
I think most would agree that we live in a world that is pretty chaotic and at this moment because of the Corona Virus - more chaotic than usual! But chaos in our world is not a new visitor to the planet – this has been the case from the earliest of times and the recipe for chaos is when people decide they can do their own thing and ignore God’s commands!
The Lord speaking through Isaiah addresses this issue. God’s commandments are not there to make life miserable and difficult for us rather they are for our well being, protection and guidance! ‘O thou thou hadst hearkened (listened and obeyed ) the result would been ‘peace as a river’ - calm and well being and righteousness and holiness ‘thy righteousness as waves of the sea‘.
There are of course well meaning folk who think if they obey the Ten Commandments as best they can that it will gain them salvation. However, we soon discover our inability to obey the commandments and that comes down to the fact we have never first obeyed the call of the Saviour to repent! 'Repent ye, and believe the Gospel‘ (Mark 1 v 15) in so doing we find peace and forgiveness and experience His wonderful salvation. When we come to the Saviour and experience His forgiveness then we shall want to obey His commandments/instructions as we find them in His Word. It will not simply be a case of ‘I must obey’ – but rather ‘I want to obey!’
One of the ways to demonstrate our love for the Saviour is that we gladly obey His commands as we find them in His Word ‘For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous (oppressive)‘ (1 John 5 v 3). Disobedience always carries a high price. Jonah is an example of the cost of disobedience, as is King Saul, who was told ‘Behold to obey is better than sacrifice‘ (1st Sam 15 v 22 ). There is no substitute for obedience! The hymn puts it well:
When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word, what a glory He sheds on our way; while we do His good will He abides with us still and with all who will trust and obey. Trust and obey for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey