Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 24 Number 4 April 2022
Page 6

Priscilla's PageEditor's Note

It Is an Imperative Choice

Marilyn LaStrape

Marilyn LaStrapeOver the years, I have bought and have been given many devotional Bibles with 365 daily Scripture readings with devotional insights. This year, I just happened to hear about one that I did not have. I was immediately interested in where to obtain one as quickly as possible. When I mentioned it to a family member, it “magically” appeared in my mailbox two days later!

The title of my article is taken from a statement made in the Devotional Daily Bible – NKJV – Signature Series. For March 9, part of the devotional insight is Be A Responsible FollowerNumbers 16:1-3.

     “Churches, organizations, marriages, and homes all can be affected by murmuring, by rebelling against those whom God has appointed to lead. Great blessing and joy and guidance come from turning such feelings over to God and obeying Him and those whom He has designated. It is an imperative choice.” Hebrews 13:17 was selected as Today’s Thought: “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.”

God’s Word is peppered with imperative choices, and not one of them is to be taken lightly or considered out of hand – ever. God says what He means and means what He says, and as students of His Word, we know that sometimes He only says it once. That is all that is needed. After all, we are referring to Jehovah God who spoke the earth and the universe into existence in six literal days!

Moses had much to teach and preach to the children of Israel before they crossed the Jordan into the Promised Land. He exhorted them in the strongest words possible to choose the God of Heaven.

I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days, that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to give them. (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)

God has wanted the best for us, the highest of His creation since the Garden of Eden. Satan is pulling out all that is in the world to make sure God’s creation is eternally lost! It is an imperative choice.

Psalm 32:9 commands, “Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding, which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, else they will not come near you.” Samuel brought the sin of stubbornness clearly to the surface when he spoke to King Saul about his disobedience. His lame excuse to justify his actions was made even worse when he attempted to blame his own subjects. In 1 Samuel 15:22-23, Saul was told exactly what a grave sin he had committed. “So Samuel said: ‘Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king.’” Are we stubborn or willing to yield? It is an imperative choice.

Psalm 99:6-8 speaks of forgiveness in the lives of three spiritual giants. “Moses and Aaron were among His priests, and Samuel was among those who called upon His name; they called upon the LORD and He answered them… You answered them, O LORD our God; You were to them God-Who-Forgives. Though You took vengeance on their deeds.” Please note that God took vengeance on the deeds of Moses, Aaron and Samuel and forgave them! Romans 12:19 emphatically reminds us that taking revenge is sinful and wrong. “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.” Mark 11:25-26 firmly states, “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” Forgiveness is a beautiful thing; if we do not give it, we do not get it. Are we always looking for the off-ramp to forgive another or do we hold grudges to the death? It is an imperative choice.

Mark 16:15-16 declares, “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe shall be condemned.” Paul told precisely what the Gospel is in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4. “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” As Paul preached the message of salvation to the church, 2 Corinthians 5:20-21 is indeed convicting. “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us; we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Do we understand that salvation is a divine accomplishment not a lifetime achievement award? It is an imperative choice.

Closing where these thoughts began, “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you” (Hebrews 13:16-17). Do we who belong to God understand we have been called to this expecting command to obey those who rule over us? God gave us two imperative reasons why we are to obey. He, then, gave a warning about the consequences of rebellion, rejection and disobedience. Do we understand when God brings everything we know, to the most dramatic of all endings, that we will be in the vastness of eternity in Heaven or Hell? It is an imperative choice.

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