We love to talk about the goodness of God. His love, peace, grace, but what is our part in this goodness of God that is bestowed upon us? I know we can’t earn our salvation, but nothing brings us into closer contact with God than obedience, which is the reason for writing this post on stories of obedience in the Bible.
I hope these Bible stories about obedience encourage you and maybe prick your heart a bit. As we see the necessity of obedience to God’s word, we find that we fall short.
No, we cannot change our sinful nature, but we do have control over our actions. If you are in a spiritual dry spell or feel a disconnect, these Bible stories and verses about obedience may be exactly what you need.
Examples of Obedience in the Bible
Scripture is full of do’s and don’ts. These are important. We serve a holy God, one who cannot stand in the presence of sin. We cannot remove sin ourselves, which is the entire point of salvation through the blood of Jesus, but we can choose to obey God’s word or ignore it.
The Bible is full of stories of obedience and disobedience, good choices and bad, righteous behavior and evil. They are recorded to teach us, guide us, and instruct us. They prove that God is always with fallen mankind, extending grace and mercy as well as judgment and conviction.
Grab a cup of your favorite drink, get comfy, and let’s study these examples of obedience in the Bible.
Hezekiah Shows Obedience to God
Found in 2 Kings 18-20, the story of Hezekiah is a great example of obedience. He begins his rule during a period of time in which Judah was not following God. They were a sinful nation, worshiping other gods.
The first thing Hezekiah does is clean up all of the idolatry. He destroys their places of worship and their images. He worships the one true God and doesn’t stray from His commandments. Scripture doesn’t say, but no doubt he reestablished the Sabbath days, holy days, and other acts of worship and repentance commanded by God hundreds of years before.
He was bringing the people back to where they should be.
However, as always in life, evil is ever present and the Assyrian king first destroys Israel and then comes for Judah. Because of Hezekiah’s obedience and right standing before the Lord, god delivers them in a mighty show of power and strength.
John the Baptist and Jesus
John the Baptist and Jesus were second cousins (right? This stuff always confuses me!). Their mothers were first cousins.
John the Baptist had the very important and foretold role of preparing the hearts of man for the coming Messiah. He preached repentance and turning away from sin. He pointed out individual sins without hesitation and people from all over lined up to be baptized.
John the Baptist knows Jesus is sinless and has no need for repentance and protests. Jesus asks him to do it anyway. He asks him to be obedient.
John the Baptist is a faithful servant of God and does what Jesus asks even though he doesn’t understand it.
The Apostles Show Obedience to God
After Jesus ascends to heaven, the apostles have an incredible task. They are commissioned to not only continue to teach the people who believed Jesus was the promised Messiah but also to spread the gospel.
By this point, satan has come to the realization that killing Jesus did not solve his problem, only made it worse, and he begins his own campaign of destruction.
He begins with the opposition of the Pharisees to Jesus’s disciples. These are the same men who opposed Jesus and arranged for his murder. They also thought that killing Jesus would end their problem with this fanatical teacher. They were also wrong.
The disciples continue Jesus’s words, healing and preaching in the streets. The religious leaders are annoyed, arrest them, beat them, and send them on their way with strict instructions to “knock it off”.
The disciples discuss this and come to a conclusion.
But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men. (Acts 5:29)
Many times we are met with opposition when we try to stand for truth. We are ridiculed, isolated, and made to feel as if we’ve done something wrong. Stand strong. If the apostles had succumbed to the pressure in their day, the church would’ve died.
Saul Shows the Opposite of Obedience to God
I’ve been trying to keep these examples on the positive end of the spectrum, but some of those most impactful words on this topic were spoken by the Prophet Samuel to King Saul.
“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.” (1 Samuel 15:22-23)
Let’s give some background. Saul was chosen to be king by God after the children of Israel begged God for a ruler like the other nations. God had been their king, but they wanted to be like everyone else.
Saul was a humble man in the beginning and for awhile all went well. I don’t know if his position went to his head (not unlike some people in the media these days) or if he decided he wanted to do things his own way, but he made some poor choices. He had Samuel to tell him God’s will, but he stopped listening (obeying) and receives these harsh words.
He also loses his position as king. Disobedience will destroy the work you are doing for God.
At the end of Saul’s life, we find him a jealous driven crazed man, hunting down to kill the next appointed king. Not a good end to what could’ve been an amazing life.
Why is Obedience Important?
Before I answer the question “why is obedience important?” let’s go over a beautiful passage of scripture that talks about the law of the Lord. Far too often we think of obedience as a list of rules we are to follow and often times we do it grudgingly. I don’t think this is what God intended.
When sin entered the world, He needed to have a list of rules (so to speak) to teach us right from wrong. False gods took the stage almost immediately. Actually, not too terribly long after the fall, man had become so wicked that God had to destroy the earth with a flood.
Man needs a baseline. Something to measure actions and motives against. Without it, we are like many people today, wandering around without a direction (as James refers to doubt “wave of sea, driven and tossed by the wind”).
Let’s take a look at this “list of rules” we all like to resist. Obedience is so much more than that.
The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. (Psalm 19:7-10)
God’s truths are perfect, sure, right, pure, clean, and true. When we are obedient to them, they convert our soul, make us wise, bring us joy, enlighten us, and give us hope.
My prayer for you is that your heart sings the words of the Psalmist.
I made haste, and did not delay To keep Your commandments. (Psalm 119:60)
Click the image above to check out a great Bible reading plan by Ladies Drawing Nigh. Beautifully done!
Benefits of Obedience in the Bible
Proverbs teaches us about the benefits of obedience, but we first have to remember that wisdom is the direct result of the fear of the Lord and following His instruction.
Discretion will preserve you; Understanding will keep you, To deliver you from the way of evil, (Proverbs 2:11-12)
We will begin our list of benefits of obedience in the Bible with these Proverb verses in mind.
- Obedience preserves us by keeping us from evil
- Obedience keeps us connected to God- when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, their connection with God was broken and we have all been seeking for that reunion ever since.
- Obedience heals our relationships- when we obey verses about forgiveness or turning the other cheek, we find our relationships become less strained.
- Obedience makes us better parents- when we are connected with God, our homes are more peaceful and we are raising our children with God given goals in mind. God commands us in Deuteronomy to teach his laws to our children, ensuring they also live a life of truth.
- Obedience brings us joy
- Obedience gives us hope
Bible Verses about Obedience
Let’s keep digging into this topic, but leave stories of obedience in the Bible and focus on individual verses. May these Bible verses about obedience touch your heart and answer any questions you have.
If you love Me, keep My commandments. (John 14:15)
If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land; But if you refuse and rebel,
You shall be devoured by the sword”; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken. (Isaiah 1:19-20)
But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, so I do. Arise, let us go from here. (John 14:31)
But He said, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” (Luke 11:28)
But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’ (Jeremiah 7:23)
Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me. (John 14:23-24)
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (James 1:22)
I’ve heard multiple people comment with disgust about Adam and Eve’s poor decision in the garden all those years ago, but the truth is, God gives each of us the same choice. To obey or not. The choice is ours.
I pray that these stories of obedience in the Bible helped you in your study. I hope you share your thoughts in the comments below.