If God Doesn’t Need Us, Why Obey?

Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 5-6, Jeremiah 43, Romans 5, and Psalm 19

God does not need us. Unknown

Not for one second is He powerless to act apart from our “help.”

Read 1 Samuel 5:1-5 again (or, if you skipped the reading – read these verses). 

1 Samuel 4 let us know that God’s people were not obedient and the ark of the Lord had been stolen. Simply put: God’s people blew it. 

But the first 5 verses of 1 Samuel 5 reminds us – very quickly and powerfully – that God does not need us to display His power among the nations. He can do it without us. He can cause a “god” made by human hands (Dagon) fall down on his face. To prove His point further, He can do it again – breaking off his limbs. God does not need you, me, or the nation of Israel to show those who worship false idols how great and mighty and wonderful and powerful He is. He can do it without us just fine – thank you very much. Like a child waking up to see what the tooth fairy brought during the night, so our great God can cause worshippers of Dagon to be struck with angst by what took place overnight. 

Which begs a question, doesn’t it?

If God doesn’t need us (and He doesn’t), then why does He tell us to do stuff, like “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19)? If He can show those who worship other “gods” that He is God without our help, why do we “need” to do it?

To answer this, consider what the psalmist said in Psalm 19:11. On the commands of God, he writes, “In keeping them there is great reward.” Doing what God says will bring GREAT reward. In other places, we are told the Word revives the soul (v.7), makes simple people wise (v.7), rejoices the heart (v.8), enlightens the eyes (v.8), is more valuable than millions of dollars (v.10), and tastes better than your grandmother’s chocolate pie (v.10). The point? Obeying God is incredibly good for you. To put it negatively: Not doing what God says will only bring you harm and destruction. 

Why do what God says do if He can do it without out us? Simply (yet wonderfully) because God loves us and really does want what is best for us. He knows what will ultimately revive our hearts and bring us genuine joy. A life of obedience to Him will be a life full of joy and everlasting pleasure. 

We don’t obey in order to get God to like us (read Romans 5:6-11 to let that wash over your soul!). We obey because He already does and yearns for us – out of love – to function the way He originally intended. 

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2 thoughts on “If God Doesn’t Need Us, Why Obey?

  1. Brad Weinischke says:

    That was beautifully written. The message raises a question for me. Is man’s free will a result of God’s design for man, a manifestation of the presence of evil in man, or the result of the absence of God in a man’s life?

    • You have asked a tremendous question, Brad! Though much could be said/written about this (and, for the record, much has and is being said/written about this), let me briefly say that I believe – with God being sovereign over all things – He ordained from the start for man to exercise responsibility/free will. He clearly gave Adam and Eve a choice in the garden (pre-sin). They chose to eat from the forbidden tree. They, in turn, were held responsible for their actions.
      God is sovereign, and within His sovereign “framework” He ordained for us to exercise free will.
      Is that clear as mud?

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