Obeying What Is Commanded
It truly is amazing how many times mankind has been unwilling simply to obey what is commanded of them. All the way in the beginning, Adam and Eve were guilty of such. The LORD commanded “…Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Gen. 2:16-17). God had prepared and supplied ample sustenance for Adam and Eve, but unfortunately that was not enough to dissuade disobedience. We are taught that later the serpent began to cast doubt into the mind of Eve. “…And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:1-5).
If things had ended there, then Adam and Eve would not have ushered sin into the world. However, we find, “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat” (Gen. 3:6). Please notice that their lack of obedience did not put them in a better condition. On the contrary, there was a sense of guilt and regret. “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden” (Gen. 3:7-8). All that Adam and Eve had to do was obey what they were commanded, but instead they disobeyed and lost “paradise” on Earth.
Then consider the man named Naaman. Here was a man that had the disease of leprosy, for which there was no known cure. His wife had a “little maid” of the Israelites that served her. This “littlemaid” revealed to Naaman’s wife, “…Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy” (2 Kings 5:3). After some events transpired, “Elisha the man of God” instructed that Naaman should “…come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel” (2 Kings 5:8). Once Naaman arrived, “…Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean” (2 Kings 5:10). One would like to think that if he were in Naaman’s place (afflicted with a disease for which there was no cure), then he would readily obey in hope of healing.
Unfortunately that was not the case at first. “But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage” (2 Kings 5:11-12). Naaman was on the cusp of a great blessing, but he allowed his preconceived notions and ideas to keep him from simply obeying what he was commanded to do. Thankfully for Naaman, he had some servants that were able to reason with him. “And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My Father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean” (2 Kings 5:13)? Just simple obedience to what was commanded was the answer. “Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean” (2 Kings 5:14).
Today, the blessing of salvation is available to all mankind. However, many people, for whatever reasons, will not simply obey the Gospel and be saved. Let us remember that it is written of Jesus, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec” (Heb. 5:8-10).
~ Corey Barnette