Fixating on What’s Important: Obedience

french bulldog on studio shot

By Bill Fix

Over the last few weeks, my wife and I have noticed our son asking a lot of questions. Maybe it’s the dog days of summer or perhaps it’s just the age he is now, but some days he’s challenging our very sanity with so many inquiries. So I told him that for him to really learn some of the things about which he’s asking, he should look up the answer, and I found the perfect opportunity…

“Dad, were there bugs on the ark?”

I turned a Bible to Genesis 6 and had him read. When he got to verse 20 that mentioned birds, animals, and “creeping things,” I asked him what he thought creeping things were. We assume that term would include insects, spiders, scorpions, and perhaps reptiles also. To circumvent the inevitable question about specific types of bugs, birds, or animals, I then asked him if God told Noah to take two of every type of bird, did God really need to specify that they needed two eagles, two hawks, two hummingbirds, etc.? He understood that “two of every sort” included the whole category.

Seeing the wheels turning in his mind, I then used Noah’s obedience to God’s instructions as an example for him. (Normally, our son Thomas is an excellent listener, especially in school and large groups. But at home, he’s often argues or complains if he doesn’t want to do what he is told.) So I pointed out to him all the specific instructions God gave Noah in Gen. 6:14-16. What if Noah had made the ark out of cedar instead of gopherwood? What if Noah made the ark two stories instead of three? What if Noah hadn’t covered the inside and outside with pitch? Would he and his family still have been saved from the flood had he not followed God’s instructions exactly?

Then I had Thomas read Gen. 6:22: “Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did.” Noah didn’t negotiate with God. He didn’t complain that a three-story ark was too hard to build. Or that he needed power tools to adequately build the ark. Or that the skunks stunk too badly to come on board. He didn’t say he had other priorities he had to place above building the ark. He followed God’s instructions.

The lesson for my son was if Mom or Dad gave him an instruction, I wanted to be able to say, “Thus Thomas did; according to all that Mom commanded him, so he did.” He understood my point.

On a much larger scale, the same principle still applies to mankind today. When God provides specific instructions, He expects us to listen (2 Tim. 3:16-17), not invent our own doctrines (Col. 2:20-23; Mt. 15:8-9). This pertains to the day Christians meet to observe the Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7), the type of music in worship (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16), and the role of baptism in salvation (Gal. 3:26-27; Rom. 6:3-4), etc.

Whatever God’s instruction is, let it be said of us: “Thus Christians did; according to all that God commanded them, so they did.”

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