11/21/S – An Obedient People

1 Kings 9:1-28; Acts 8:25-40; Psalms 129:5-8; Proverbs 28:6-7

OT: “When Solomon finished building the temple of the Lord, the royal palace, and all that Solomon desired to do, the Lord appeared to Solomon a second time just as he had appeared to him at Gibeon. The Lord said to him: I have heard your prayer and petition you have made before me. I have consecrated this temple you have built, to put my name there forever; my eyes and my heart will be there at all times. As for you, if you walk before me as your father David walked, with a heart of integrity and in what is right, doing everything I have commanded you, and if you keep my statutes and ordinances, I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised your father David: You will never fail to have a man on the throne of Israel. If you or your sons turn away from following me and do not keep my commands — my statutes that I have set before you — and if you go and serve other gods and bow in worship to them, I will cut off Israel from the land I gave them, and I will reject the temple I have sanctified for my name. Israel will become an object of scorn and ridicule among all the peoples. Though this temple is now exalted, everyone who passes by will be appalled and will scoff. They will say, “Why did the Lord do this to this land and this temple?” Then they will say, “Because they abandoned the Lord their God who brought their ancestors out of the land of Egypt. They held on to other gods and bowed in worship to them and served them. Because of this, the Lord brought all this ruin on them.”” (‭‭1 Kings‬ ‭9:1-9‬ ‭CSB)

After Solomon dedicated the Temple, the Lord appeared to him once again. The Lord let him know that He had heard Solomon’s prayer – but He wanted Solomon to know something far more important. Opulent temples don’t impress the Lord. Grand and eloquent oratory and prayer don’t impress the Lord either. The Lord is pleased and moved by integrous hearts that are worshipfully yielded and obedient to Him and Him alone. The temple that Solomon built and God consecrated was not a guarantee of God’s habitation and blessing forever. If Solomon or his sons after him turned from the Lord and led the people into idolatry, God would remove His presence from the nation and reject the temple. While God appreciates the art that comes forth from our worship, it’s not the art that He is after. God is after our hearts. A beautiful song that is not sung from a heart of humble, consecrated, and obedient worship is just that: a beautiful song… it is not worship, nor is it accepted as worship. But even an offering that is at best mediocre in our eyes, if it is offered out of the fullness of devoted worship, is beautiful and accepted by the Lord. We keep our lives consecrated… we remain connected to the vine and in an abiding relationship with the Lord… we remain full of the Holy Spirit… we remain covered by God’s grace as we walk before the Lord with integrity and do everything to honor and keep His word, will, and ways.

NT: “An angel of the Lord spoke to Philip: “Get up and go south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is the desert road. ) So he got up and went. There was an Ethiopian man, a eunuch and high official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to worship in Jerusalem and was sitting in his chariot on his way home, reading the prophet Isaiah aloud. The Spirit told Philip, “Go and join that chariot.” When Philip ran up to it, he heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you’re reading?” “How can I,” he said, “unless someone guides me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him… Philip proceeded to tell him the good news about Jesus, beginning with that Scripture.” (‭‭Acts‬ ‭8:26-31, 35‬ ‭CSB)

Philip is an example of a man who is consecrated to the Lord and obedient to the Lord in every way. Not only did he honor and treasure the word of God, he also precisely obeyed the leading of the Lord through the indwelling Holy Spirit. He remained full of the Holy Spirit because he honored the word, will, and ways of the Lord. He was able to more fully obey the word, will, and ways of the Lord because he was full of the Holy Spirit and conformed to His leading. Not only was he led in the moment by the Holy Spirit – he had also been diligent to study God’s word and understand it well enough to teach it and explain it to others. Because of Philip’s obedience, an entire nation was opened to the good news of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God. God desires to use us the same way He used Philip… and He will be able to if we consecrate our lives, walk in integrity of heart, and fully honor and obey the word, will, and ways of the Lord through the enabling and empowering of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

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