A brief study of the Bible reveals the seriousness of disobeying God. But many do not understand that there are several different ways of disobeying God. How does one disobey God? In this article, space will only permit noticing a couple of ways.
One of the most obvious ways of disobeying God is TO DO WHAT GOD HAS EXPRESSLY FORBIDDEN. When God forbids our doing a certain thing and we do it anyway, we sin! In Genesis 2:16,17, Adam and Eve were expressly forbidden to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The devil, in the form of a serpent, tempted Eve and she ate of the fruit and gave some to Adam and he also ate of it. Adam and Eve disobeyed God by doing what he had expressly forbidden and they suffered the consequences. They died spiritually on that day (Genesis 3:16-19). This is the first sin recorded in the Bible.
In Genesis 19, God instructed Lot and his family to leave the city of Sodom before He destroyed it. Through His angels, God instructed them to leave quickly and also not to look back. Lot's wife disobeyed God by looking back. She did exactly what God had expressly forbidden and she was immediately turned into a pillar of salt.
We read in 1 John 3:4, “Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. ” Even though something may appear trivial to us, if God has forbidden it, we must not do it. When God forbids something, we must respect his will and not do it!
A second way we disobey God is BY REFUSING TO DO WHAT IS COMMANDED. In the book of Jonah we read of God’s instructions to Jonah to go and preach to the wicked city of Ninevah. Instead of obeying God, Jonah boarded a ship that was sailing in the opposite direction. Because of his refusal to do what God had commanded, he was thrown overboard and swallowed by a great fish that God had prepared for Jonah. Jonah learned the hard way that there is no hiding from God or escaping our duty to God! We will either do what God commands us to do and be rewarded or we will suffer the consequences of our failure to obey God.
King Saul is another example of one who refused to do what God commanded in exactly the way that God commanded it (1 Samuel 15:1-23). God’s instructions to Saul were to destroy all of the Amalekites and all of their livestock (1 Samuel 15:3) because of their wickedness and rebellion against him. Saul disobeyed God when he spared the life of King Agag and also spared clean animals that were suitable for sacrifice to God. His intentions were good, but he was still condemned because he had failed to carry out God’s orders. The prophet Samuel told Saul that the kingdom would be torn from him and given to another. This Old Testament example should remind us of the importance of doing ALL that God commands, EXACTLY as God commands! When we only do a part of what God says, we have not obeyed God. King Saul lost his throne because of disobedience and we will lose our souls eternally if we disobey God! James 4:17 says, “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”
We can learn a valuable lesson from these Old Testament examples that we have studied and that is: God says what he means and means what He says!Our eternal destiny depends upon our obedience to God!