Tag Archives: obedience

Because Great-Grandpa Said So

My dad’s dad’s name was Harold Eugene Scott. Grandpa stood about halfway between five and six feet tall. He wore bluejean overalls, had a missing index finger from working in the mines, and cracked jokes at the dinner table. I liked him. But I don’t really remember much else about him. I only saw him twice after my dad passed away in 1967. Unfortunately I have no idea what rules of life he lived by or what he expected of his children and grandchildren.

Can you imagine any modern family still living by strict commands laid down by a great-great-great grandfather three hundred years before? Obviously such a scenario is beyond my reckoning.

But it’s not beyond God’s.

Eugene C. Scott joins Mike in writing A Daily Bible Conversation twice a week.

TODAY’S READING (click here to view today’s reading online)

Jeremiah 35:1-36:32

1 Timothy 5:1-25

Psalm 89:14-37

Proverbs 25:25-27

If you’ve found A Daily Bible Conversation helpful, share it with your friends. Forward your daily email or send them a link to the website: www.bibleconversation.com.


1 Timothy 5:1-25: Paul was famous for his “household codes.” These are the lists of mandated or recommended behaviors Paul often includes in his letters. This chapter is a very good example. They are called “household codes” because the church in its beginnings focused on the home and family. This was long before the modern church reflected institutionalism through bylaws and constitutions. The church would be wise to move back to those family roots.

Not only are these household codes rich for showing us what God expects of us, but they show us that the early church was relational not institutional. All of these codes have to do with relationships. How the young should treat the old, fathers children, bosses workers, families widows, etc.

Yet we often preach, teach and study them as abstract behaviors. They are not. They are practical ways for us to fulfill Jesus’ command for us to love one another. This is why Paul tells Timothy that anyone who does not provide for his family is worse than an unbeliever. Believers in Christ love from the family out.


Obeying God’s direction, Jeremiah invites the Recabites, the sons of Jonadab to a wine tasting. He has prepared a room in the temple building. Tables are set. Silver wine chalices stand ready. Servants fill bowls with fine wine.

“Drink some wine,” Jeremiah invites. Imagine his embarrassment when Jonadab’s great-great-great grandsons say, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

I wish we had a video of this botched gala. Would we see Jeremiah shoot God a questioning glance? Or was he used to God commanding him to do really strange things? After the party did Jeremiah drop to his knees and cry out, “Why me, Lord? Why tell me to invite a bunch of teetotalers to a wine tasting?”

Later God tells him that this whole party was a lark, a living illustration of what obedience and faithfulness looks like. Something Israel has failed in.

Little did Jeremiah know that some three hundred years before Jonadab had commanded his family to never drink wine, live only in tents, and not plant crops. How could Jeremiah know such a thing? And even if he did know, how could he imagine they would actually keep that command? Not many of us would. Obedience such as that is rare. Did each new generation question and argue?

“Why, grandfather?”

“Because your great-grandfather Jonadab said so. He believed we should live as nomads, loose in this world because we belong to another.”

I wonder if God gave Jonadab the idea. Though not Hebrew, Jonadab (a decendent of Moses’ father-in-law Jethro) was a believer and these commands mirror the Jewish Nazarite vow (see Sampson) and God’s desire for his people to depend on him. Was this God’s plan for these amazing Recabites? As each generation of Jonadab’s decendent’s struggled to resist the pull of the culture around them and keep these commands, did God nurture this rare faithfulness just so after three hundred years he could invite them to a party to celebrate their steadfastness as a way to highlight Israel’s lack?

Only God knows. But it would be just like him. God never wastes a good opportunity to teach us, to show us how good life can be when we align ourselves with him and his will. Even if it takes hundreds of years.

In the end God rewards the Recabites. God decrees they would never “fail to have a man to serve” the Lord. Commentator Matthew Henry suggests the Recabites can still be found living separate in the desert to this day.

But wouldn’t having your life be a living picture of a right relationship with God be enough of a reward? Imagine that if one day, after years of obediently trudging God’s road, he invited you to a wine tasting party and at the end said, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Imagine that?

  1. What do these for passage have in common?
  2. What spoke to you?

If you’re reading this blog on Facebook and you’d like to join the conversation, click here. www.bibleconversation.com.

Eugene co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, CO and writes a blog eugenesgodsightings.blogspot.com


Filed under Uncategorized

The Rat In The Locker

“Hello, this is Lisa Myles,” my voicemail informed me this morning. “Your daughter is on ‘in-school’ suspension for sticking a dead rat in another girl’s locker. Over the weekend it began decomposing and our custodian has had to disinfect the girl’s locker twice. The girl isn’t a friend of your daughter’s, so we know it isn’t a practical joke. I’m sorry, but we won’t let her go to the amusement park with the rest of her class next week.”

The minute I heard “dead rat,” I knew my daughter had been involved. It’s a long story that brings a conclusion to a very difficult and frustrating seventh grade year.

The question is, how do I talk to her about it?

My default setting is set to: “yell at her, threaten her, get in her face, and ground her for the rest of her life.”

But I know a deeper issue is at work. As much as I want her to obey me with no questions asked, today’s reading helps me understand a better approach to conversing with my daughter when she comes home from school today.

It also reflects the way our loving God seeks to work on our issues with all of us.

Please join me.


2 Samuel 7:1-8:18
John 14:15-31
Psalm 119:33-48
Proverbs 15:33


2 Samuel 7:1-8:18. After consolidating his power in Israel, what was David’s first order of business? When many kings would begin enjoying the privileges of being king (i.e. building a palace), David sought to build a permanent home where Israel would gather to worship.

God saw David’s heart and rewarded him by promising him descendants on the throne for generations. Until Israel’s sin prompted God to send the nation into exile 480 years later in 586 B.C, a descendant of David sat on the throne. Eventually, a descendant would be born into David’s lineage who would reign as the King of kings and Lord of lords.

Although David didn’t build the temple (see verses 13-14), he began preparations for the massive building project.

Reading chapter 7, I can’t help noticing the intimate relationship David enjoyed with God. This didn’t suddenly appear in chapter 7—it was the result of an ongoing relationship over a process of years.

John 14:15-31. Despite the fact that he was about to be crucified, Jesus explains that the “prince of the world” (i.e. the devil) has no hold on him (v.30). In other words, Satan wasn’t orchestrating Jesus’ journey to the cross—Jesus and his Father in heaven were. Obedience to the Father meant going to the cross.

The literal translation of verse 30 is even more forceful. Literally translated, Jesus said the prince of the world, “has nothing in me.” The New American Standard Bible probably translates it most accurately: “For the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in me.”

Even when it appears that darkness is overwhelming us, Satan has absolutely no power over Jesus.

If you’ve found A Daily Bible Conversation helpful, share it with your friends! Forward your daily email or send them a link to the website: http://www.bibleconversation.com.


Three times in John 14, Jesus makes a connection between love and obedience:

  • “If you love me, you will obey what I command” (v. 15).
  • “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me” (v.21).
  • “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching” (v. 23).

Notice what comes first: Love. Obedience is the natural outgrowth of our love-relationship with God.

Looking at it from another perspective, our lives reveal the measure of our love-relationship with God.

What’s the point? God desires to establish an intimate relationship with us—which becomes very clear in John 15 (tomorrow’s reading).

Not coincidentally, Jesus describes the ministry of the Holy Spirit here as our counselor. The word refers to someone who comes alongside us and helps us in this endeavor.

The relationship between love and obedience is further evident in our reading from Psalms. “Direct me in the path of your commands,” the psalmist writes, “for there I find delight” (Psalm 119:35).

So what’s the underlying connection between love and obedience? When I love someone, I want to do whatever pleases that person. Not out of duty but out of delight. That’s why John can later write in his first epistle, “This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3).

The key to working with my daughter lies in connecting with her heart. The deeper my wife and I can attach to her, the more we’ll see her behave. This is a challenge for her because before we adopted her five years ago, she bounced around from home to home in the foster care system. Attaching–and therefore obedience–is hard for her.

But the same applies to our relationship with God.

Obedience devoid of a relationship with God is lifeless duty. But an intimate love-relationship with God naturally leads to obedience. We call this worship.


  1. What spoke to you in today’s reading?
  2. If, like David, you had ultimate control over your life and could accomplish all of your dreams regardless of cost, what would you do? What does it reveal about your priorities?
  3. What ongoing feuds do you have with God? How might a deepening relationship with him make a difference?
  4. How do you grow deeper in your love-relationship with God?

If you’re reading this blog on FaceBook and you’d like to join the conversation, click here.


Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, Colorado.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized