Earlier this week, I was sharing with two of my grandchildren about having teachable spirits and of being obedient to God’s Word in their young lives. I’ve always said that if a person doesn’t have a teachable spirit then a life of struggle and disobedience awaits them. our decisions will bring either blessing or chaos. My prayer for myself, my adult children, their mates, and my grandchildren is that we will have teachable spirits and seek to be obedient to God and His Word.
This morning as I was reading my Bible, following a two-year plan to read the Bible through in that time period, I found the principle of being obedient and teachable versus being disobedient and prideful. Genesis 4 gives the account that Eve gave birth to two sons, Cain and Abel. Abel was a keeper of flocks and Cain was a tiller of the ground, a farmer if you will. Both fully respectable jobs, both approved by the Creator. However, the problems began with the required sacrifice. They were to worship with these sacrifices. While it isn’t specifically spelled out here in Genesis, Hebrews 4 suggests there was to be a blood sacrifice. It speaks of the faith of Abel and his obedience to God in his worship. The writer of Hebrews goes on to say that it was counted as righteousness to Eve’s second son. Cain’s sacrifice was not so. He brought his best but not what God asked. Obedience vs Disobedience, faith vs unbelief, relationship vs religion.
As I contrasted the life of Simon Peter, I saw that he was zealous for His Lord, cocky, and prideful. Matthew accounts the time that Jesus was revealing to His disciples what was ahead for Him. Peter, in his impulsiveness, declared that would never happen. Jesus gave a harsh rebuke, saying that satan was using this disciple. In fact, he used the strong words, “Get thee behind me, satan!” Not too long after this, Peter declared his undying love and faithfulness to the Savior, saying he would never stumble, even if the everyone else did. It was then that the Lord looked at him and told him that before morning, Peter would deny the Him three times. The sad thing was, he did.
The difference in Cain and in Peter was that Peter had that teachable spirit. He learned a valuable lesson. After His resurrection, Jesus spoke specifically to the disciple, asking him three times if he loved Him, giving him his ministry with each answer. (I wonder if asking him three times had any significance since Peter had denied Christ three times?) I believe Peter’s sin brought grief and repentance. Jesus’ questions to him in love provoked answers from obvious humility. Simon Peter was no longer arrogant and prideful, but meek. He exemplified a teachable spirit. The Lord’s commandment to him was to give his life to shepherding the flock of Jesus, feeding, nourishing, preaching and teaching, even if it meant a martyr’s death, which it did.
Saul disobeyed God by not destroying the Amalekites and everything they had, and keeping their king, Agag, alive and even taking their plunder. He then offered a sacrifice to God from the plunder. Total disobedience. Samuel told him that “to obey is better than sacrifice.” I wonder if we halfway obey and then attempt to bring our pitiful offerings to God?
We can only be obedient from the heart as we crawl upon the altar and surrender our lives to God daily. It is from the abiding relationship with Jesus that we can experience true obedience and worship.