Before he came to our Battalion numerous stories circulated about his heroic accomplishments in battle. His chiseled face, refined manner, and unique oration invited respect. His heritage was American Indian. This only added to the luster of our unit the 1/506thCurrahees—a Cherokee word for “we stand alone.” When Johnnie Gilreath gave a command we didn’t question it. We didn’t analyze his motives or go our own way. We obeyed because we trusted him and knew he would look after our welfare.
Soldiers learn to follow orders because the good of the unit depends upon disciplined compliance. It’s motivating to follow good leaders. But it is not so easy to obey those in positions of authority who demand obedience because of the rank on their shoulders. Their power and decision-making are tainted by insecurity.
Proverbs 13:13--The one who has contempt for instruction will pay the penalty, but the one who respects a command will be rewarded.
Isn’t it profound that God’s Son, the Lord of lords, didn’t say “Do this, or I’ll zap you!” He never cajoled or demeaned, insisted or manipulated the allegiance of His disciples. He appealed to their (and consequently, our) hearts by stating—“If you love me, you will keep my commands”(John 14:15).
Trust and a humble willingness to comply are two major factors in whether or not we choose to obey God’s commands. Yet without love, both are anemic. What commander finds joy in soldiers who do their duty only because they have to! Jesus once said, “I know that His command is eternal life. So the things that I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me” (John 12:50). Are not God’s commands given to lead us to fantastic life? Because His Son overcame the cross to become our heavenly Advocate, our souls should burst with the unquenchable holy fire of gratitude and loyalty. Our hearts should explode with love for Him—a love that seizes every opportunity to do as He asks for His enduring glory.
What civilization in all of history has ever continued to prosper that spurned God’s commandments? The more a land justifies evil as good in the name of rationalism or enlightenment, the faster its foundations crumble beneath the weight of rebellion. God directs the way to acme (ne plus ultra)—who will choose to follow?
If God has given the command, He will look after everything; your business is to get up and go and trustingly wash your hands of the consequences. If God has made your cup sweet, drink it with grace; if He has made it bitter, drink it in communion with Him.—Oswald Chambers in Not Knowing Where
©1999 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)
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Photo used under Creative Commons from Rachel Maxey Miles