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The Obedience of the Servant

(Isaiah 50:4-11)

Lesson 8 -- first quarter 1996
January 21, 1996

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 1995, Christian Light Publications

Perhaps the most obvious enemy of obedience is the rebel heart. This heart has an egotistical purpose for its existence and refuses to be subject to anyone. While this is a problem all those yet in the flesh must contend with, those who walk in the Spirit naturally maintain vigorous vigilance against it. An enemy of obedience which may snare us unawares is the distracted heart. I introduced the concept at the close of the previous lesson; did you catch it? If you didn't, don't feel too bad; I have often missed it myself. The distracted heart is very subtle.

The distracted heart allows circumstances and feelings to overwhelm it. It becomes so consumed with its failures, shortcomings and limitations that it refuses to move forward in obedience. Where the rebel heart refuses to submit to God's sovereign authority, the distracted heart refuses to accept His sovereign authority. The rebel heart boldly and proudly announces, "I won't" or "I needn't." The distracted heart pouts or whines, "I can't."

We tend to excuse the distracted heart. Can we not see that it is just as disobedient as the rebel heart? The distracted heart does not take God seriously. The distracted heart doubts God's wisdom, strength and foreknowledge. The distracted heart accuses the Designer and Creator, "Why hast thou made me thus?" (Romans 9:20).

I am quite certain we know how the Judge will deal with the rebel heart. How will He deal with the distracted heart? Matthew 25:30 answers the question quite clearly! My friend, this ought to convince us that God rejects the distracted heart just as much as He rejects the rebel heart. What God wants to put in each of us is a faithful heart. Will you submit to a transplant?

Now to the first verse of the printed text: Have you ever wished you would "know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary"? I most certainly have. Yesterday afternoon we were visiting with friends who had a week particularly full of struggles with God's ways; they seemed rather bushed by it all. This morning I sensed one of "my" teachers (I'm the principal) seemed especially beat. How I wished for "the tongue of the learned"! In the previous paragraph I referred to a heart transplant; how do we go about getting a learned tongue?

Perhaps you are the type that likes to read, study and take notes; perhaps you are not. I suppose doing those things is one way of educating the tongue so that it will respond with God's ways. However, I believe God's number one way of training the tongue is quite different. You will notice from the following verses that this divine method is far from painless:

"For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted" (Hebrews 2:18).

"Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God" (2 Corinthians 1:4).

"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

I call to your remembrance yet the "polished shaft" of the previous lesson!

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