Alphabet Of Manly Virtues: “O” Is For “Obedience”

25 Jun

(“The Alphabet of Manly Virtues” is a 26 post series examining various character traits of godly men. Check back every Tuesday and Thursday for new posts! To view other entries in the series, click here.)

oOnce upon a time, there was a guy named Namaan. He was a pretty important dude. In fact, he was general of the king’s army. Namaan was a successful soldier and general, and God was with him. Namaan also had leprosy, which sucked.

Now Namaan’s wife had a maid, and one day the maid said to his wife, “Look, miss, there’s this guy over in Israel. He’s kind of a “miracle man” – known for healing people and doing other crazy stuff like that. If only your husband would go visit him, the man might heal him!”

So Namaan’s wife told Namaan, who in turn told the king, “Mr. King, apparently there’s some guy over in Israel named Elisha. They say he can do miraculous stuff like heal people and raise them from the dead. Do you mind if I go visit him?” The King was a pretty good guy himself. “By all means!” he said. “I’ll even send you a letter of introduction to the king of Israel.” So Namaan travelled over to Israel with a pile of gifts and delivered his king’s letter to the king of Israel. The king of Israel opened the letter and read it,

“Hi there! If you’re reading this, it means my general Namaan has made it to you. I’ve sent him to you myself. Heal him of his leprosy, would you?”

Well, the king of Israel freaked out. “How the heck am I supposed to heal this guy of his leprosy?! What does he expect me to do – I don’t have ability to do something like that!” He was so mad, he tore his clothes, cause they were made in China and cheap like that.

Then Elisha – the miracle man – heard about what had happened and sent word to the king of Israel, “Hey, Mr. King – don’t get so upset! Send this Namaan character to me; I’ll take care of him.”

So the king of Israel sent Namaan to Elisha’s house. But when he got there, Elisha’s servant came to the door with a message: “Elisha says to go to the Jordan River and dunk yourself seven times. Then you’ll be healed.”

Well, Namaan wasn’t too impressed. “Seriously? The guy doesn’t even greet me in person, then he tells me to go to the Jordan River and take a bath? The Jordan river is nasty! Couldn’t I at least go to the Abana or Pharpar Rivers? They’re so much cleaner!” With that, Namaan stormed off.

But his servant caught up with him and said, “Namaan! Hang on! Look – if Elisha had told you to go to the Albana or Pharpar River and dunk yourself and you’d be healed, you would have, right? So what is it to you to go to the Jordan River? You’ll still be healed if you dunk yourself; what do you have to lose?”

By now, Namaan had cooled down and saw the good sense in his servant’s case. He sighed, “You’re right. Let’s go do this.” So they went down to the Jordan River, which was super nasty, by the way, and he dunked himself – once, twice, thrice, four-ice, five-ice, six-ice. As Namaan came up out of the water after the seventh dunk, his skin was completely healed – smooth as a baby’s bottom!

A bit sheepishly, though also very excited, Namaan went back to Elisha’s house and thanked him.

*********************

This is a true story. A bit modernized, but you can read it for yourself in the Bible in 2 Kings chapter 5.

Sometimes we – just like Namaan – are called by God and others to do things we don’t want to do. We’re asked to pack up and move for our job. We’re called to quit a team because they play on Sundays. We’re demanded to pull over because we were speeding. We’re told to turn in a 20-page paper for our final grade. We’re requested to offer our time, energy or resources for a cause. These are all things we may not want to do, and yet they have a purpose to them – to maintain order, to hold to personal values, to allow us promotion or further skill assets, to simply be a blessing to others.

Obedience should not be a matter of “how much?” or “when?” or “why?” or “to whom?” In Matthew chapter 22, Jesus said,

‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.” (The Message)

 Obedience should be a response of love – our love for God and, because of our love for God, our love for others. Disobedience is never an option when God is involved. He loves us, cares about us, and knows what’s best for us. He may ask us to do something we don’t want to do, but disobedience to Him is never the better option. Obedience to man is trickier because we are all fallen, sinful, and impure. Our best interests aren’t always best interests. Our motives aren’t always pure. Our honesty isn’t always complete. We can only see a part of the whole picture or so far into the future. We face many instances when obedience is required of us, even though we know (or sense) that obedience isn’t a right response. In these cases, we should ask ourselves if our response is first and foremost a response of love to God. We should also ask ourselves if our response of obedience would compromise our relationship with God. If so, respectful disobedience would probably be an acceptable (though unfavorable) response.

In conclusion, I’d suggest that when obedience is asked of you by God, you respond accordingly. It’s for your best. When obedience is asked of you by man, on the other hand, assess the situation – reviewing the two greatest commandments – and respond as you think Jesus would. You can never go wrong when you WWJD?.

-Adam Rozanas

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Since January of 2012 he has been serving with TWR Radio 155 in Johannesburg, South Africa as an on-air Presenter, Music Manager, and Social Media Coordinator. In his spare time Adam enjoys attending concerts, hitting the gym, reading, and writing. He’s also an aspiring photographer. Connect with Adam on Twitter, Facebook, and on his blog.

2 Responses to “Alphabet Of Manly Virtues: “O” Is For “Obedience””

  1. asrozanas June 25, 2013 at 09:13 #

    Reblogged this on Adam Rozanas and commented:
    I recently had the opportunity to guest-write for More Than A Beard.
    Give my post a read…

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Alphabet hard | Jaye Em Edgecliff - July 16, 2013

    […] Alphabet Of Manly Virtues: “O” Is For “Obedience” (morethanabeard.com) […]

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