Obedience by Faith
Today’s reading: Esther 4-6; Acts 5:17-42
“Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.” Esther 4:16b
17 But the high priest rose up, and all who were with him (that is, the party of the Sadducees), and filled with jealousy 18 they arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison. 19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, 20 “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.” Acts 5:17-20
Obedience to God must be by faith, because it does not always bring pleasant results immediately and, sometimes, it can even cost you your life. Yet for the Christian, his obedience always has a positive outcome because even loss of life brings him into the glorious presence of God.
Esther was queen, but she and all the Jews were under a death sentence because of Haman’s instigation of the king’s decree. Mordecai challenged her to go to the king and plead for a reprieve from the law. After some back and forth, Esther agreed, knowing that, if the king did not hold out the golden scepter to her, she would be executed. She uttered her famous words, “if I perish, I perish.”
Of course, in her case the king did receive her and her plea was heard. She did not have to wait long for the reward of her obedience.
The apostles continued to preach the gospel of the risen Christ, and the chief priest and the Sadducees had them thrown back into prison. This time the angel of the Lord opened the door of the prison and sent the apostles back to the temple to preach. The officials looked like fools when they sent to the prison and could not find them. Finally, a report came in that they were preaching in the temple again. At their hearing they maintained that they “…must obey God rather than men.”
There really is no downside to faithful obedience to God for even if we perish, we win the victor’s crown. Be ready to obey by faith today, no matter what the outcome. If you are opposed, or prosecuted you may go straight to glory, but, if not, you will be able to rejoice “that you were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.”