Devotion, Difficult Text(s)

Do You Obey God or Do The Right Thing?

What if God asked you to do something that contradicts what you have known to be right? Would you obey God if...

Written by Dr. Rei Kesis
· 5 min read >

Hosea 1:2
When the LORD began to speak through Hosea, the LORD said to him, “Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the LORD.”
Hosea 1:3
So he married Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.

There is what we know is right. We know it is right because we think or believe God has approved it. It is right because we have been taught it is right. Sense of right and wrong is instilled in us at a tender age as we grow. Do you obey God or do you do the right thing?

The basis of right and wrong may vary but the fact that there is right and wrong is acceptable by many. For some the basis of right and wrong is the Bible, for others, it is a philosophy and yet for others, it is tradition. Do you obey God or do you do the right thing?

What if God asked you to do something that contradicts what you have known to be right? Would you obey God if what He asks of you contradicts what you have always known to be right? If you were sure this is God talking to you and asking you to do that which you know is wrong, would you do it? Do you obey God or do you do the right thing?

Jonah refused to go to Nineveh since he believed God was asking him to do something that was wrong and God wouldn’t even execute it to the end. Jonah’s sense of right and wrong conflicted with instructions from God. Do you obey God or do you do the right thing?

King Saul was told to wait for Samuel to offer sacrifices before he goes to war. Samuel delayed and critical military time for strategy and tactics was getting lost. Troop morale was going down. Waiting for a God-appointed man to lead worship before engaging in war seems the wrong thing to do. What God was demanding at this point was contrary to what was right in common sense and the doctrine of war. King Saul, defied God and he offered the sacrifices himself. God rejected him as king because of this act. King Saul did what he thought was right, but it contradicted what God had commanded. Do you obey God or do you do the right thing?

Apostle Peter was taking a siesta. God appears to him in a dream. God asks him to wake up and slaughter unclean animals and eat them. These animals are unclean according to God’s own word from the time of Noah’s Ark and rules in the first five books of the Bible. God was asking Peter to do what God had prohibited in the Bible. Peter protested, but God told him off. Do you obey God or do you do the right thing?

In our text today, God asks prophet Hosea to marry a prostitute. A prophet, a spokesman for God. A man of God. An example of spiritual life. Then God asks him to marry the kind of woman he condemns in his sermons. This act of marrying a prostitute was not going to go down well with religious leaders and the better than thou know it all believers. Yet God insists that Hosea must marry a promiscuous woman. Do you obey God or do you do the right thing?

This story has shaken many people’s understanding of God. Many of us prefer a predictable God. A predictable God means He is under our control and we can act out to please Him or manipulate Him. However, the God of the Bible remains sovereign and refuses to be predictable. For God to be God, He must remain a mystery. Therefore, some people have concluded that the story of Hosea is not true, it is just an analogy story, nothing real. Some of us take up the position that this story is real and it happened as it is written. Hosea was actually told to marry a prostitute. Do you obey God or do you do the right thing?

Today’s text forces us to have a clear understanding of God. God is not limited by anything, not even His own rules to us. God tells us not to kill, but that law doesn’t apply to Him. God will kill people in Hellfire, yet He says do not kill. God cannot be bound or put in a box. God cannot fit in a laboratory for Him to be studied. God is free and sovereign and He can surprise us with instructions that may defy our understanding.

Our allegiance must be to God and not to what we think is His word. What we think is His word may be a wrong interpretation. What we think is His word may not be His word. We must be totally obedient to God. The reason why we obey the Bible is that we believe God speaks to us through it. Therefore the Bible is not the object of our obedience, God who speaks through the Bible is the object of our obedience.

That means the right thing is not what we have known to be right. The right thing is not what we think is right. The right thing is what God has clearly said. Once we are clear on what God has said, we must obey it without question. Right is what God says. Right is what God clearly says. Do you obey God or do you do the right thing?

We must have a relationship with God and love God, as opposed to relating with God’s word and loving God’s word but not caring about God. If we focus on God we focus on relationships and not theatrics of measurable religious activities. There is more joy and peace in relating with God than in obeying a word that we spend time arguing on its meaning and who is right. The word is only sensible if it is the word of a God we relate with and love. Therefore we must seek to obey God and not do the right thing, because the right thing may not even be right nor God’s will.

We have not said or demeaned the word of God nor the need to do the right thing. What we are saying is that we must first relate with the giver of the word who is the word. Jewish leaders so loved the word and the right thing, that when the giver of the word came and lived with them for over thirty-three years they didn’t notice because they were focused on the word and the right thing. They killed Jesus then rushed home that Friday evening to keep the Sabbath. Doing the right thing, keeping the Sabbath was more important than God to them. We can be so blinded by our passionate Bible study and study of prophecies that we totally fail to notice Jesus. We must first relate with Jesus and love Him all the time above what we think is right. Hosea obeyed God and ignored what was thought to be right!

The word says keep the Sabbath. The good God tells us that we can heal on Sabbath. We can rescue animals from danger on Sabbath. . It is never about the word, it is always about the God who sends the word. If we know the God who sends the word, the rigidity we experience will ease. Our allegiance is to God and not to our definition of the right thing.

If God told a vegetarian to eat meat would he or she do so? If God told a health reformist to go back to their past ways would they? If you find it hard to implement what God says in order to be right, you have made right a god. That is idol worship. If God told you who dress so well, to dress skimpily and go for the latest fashions and show up in church with it, would you? If you feel tempted to correct God, you have made an idol out of what you think is right. If God told you, monogamous fellows, to embrace polygamy, would you? What if God challenged your attitude towards women and the LGBTQ group? Would you still love this God? Do you obey God or do you do the right thing?

John 5:39
You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me,

The study of scriptures without making a relationship with Jesus a priority is a waste of time. It is never about the word and the right thing, it is about our relationship with God. May God challenge us beyond our expectations. May God help us to have allegiance to Him first and then to what else He has put in place. Allegiance to God and not just His word. Allegiance to God and not what we think and believe is the right thing. May we have an allegiance to God and God alone, in Jesus’ name, Amen!

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Written by Dr. Rei Kesis
Rei Kesis is an ordained Pastor of the SDA Church and A Senior Lecturer of Applied Theology and Religious Studies. Profile

20 Replies to “Do You Obey God or Do The Right Thing?”

  1. Amen 🙏

    May God help m to have allegiance to Him first and then to what else He has put in place- allegiance to God and not just His word.

    May my allegiance be to God and not what I think or believe is the right thing.

    May I have an allegiance to God and to Him alone- in the Name of Jesus I pray.

    Blessed Wednesday my brother.

  2. Thanks Dr.Kesis for the message today.
    I will live to obey God’s instructions.

    1. Once again Doc may you be blessed with more for many for such good words for inspiration.
      Glory to God Almighty 🙏.

  3. We must obey God because he makes and breaks rules in tune to His will. He is sovereign.

  4. Dr. This is quite an exposition on a controversial subject. It must take wisdom and holy spirit guidance to bring it out this clear without leaving the reader confused. Blessings to you.

  5. This truly is a difficult text. It seems a bit confusing but it gets clearer when I ponder on the message. Nice article.

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