2 Chronicles 11:4
“Thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren: return every man to his house: for this thing is done of me. And they obeyed the words of the LORD, and returned from going against Jeroboam.”
Rehoboam found out the hard way that obedience doesn’t always benefit the believer. Yes, Rehoboam made a foolish mistake in not listening to the advice of the older men around him, but he still did right after he lost most of the kingdom. The disadvantage Rehoboam found in obedience is when he gathered his army to go and take the tribes back that rebelled against him. When his troops were gathered to go to war, God sent a prophet to tell him, “Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren…” The key to Rehoboam’s life is found in the verse above when it says, “And they obeyed the words of the LORD…”
You are going to find times in your life when obedience won’t always be beneficial. It is in these times when the LORD will find out your heart for Him. The heart of a believer is revealed when the result of obedience is disadvantageous to the believer instead of being beneficial. Obedience doesn’t always benefit you. Obedience doesn’t always agree with your plans. Obedience will often humiliate you and make you look bad to others. True obedience to the LORD is not doing what the LORD tells you to do when you want to do it and when it benefits you, but true obedience to the LORD is doing what He tells you to do even when it disadvantages you and goes against your desires.
One may then ask, what are the benefits of obeying? If obeying doesn’t benefit me, what is the purpose of obedience? There are three distinct benefits of obeying the LORD when it doesn’t benefit you.
First, obeying the LORD when it doesn’t benefit you pleases the LORD. Ultimately, your desire should be to please the LORD. Let me ask you, are you happy with the disadvantages of obedience when the only advantage is that it pleases the LORD? You will find how much you love the LORD when the only advantage of obeying Him is that it pleases Him. Your love for the LORD is a shallow love if the only time you obey Him is when obedience benefits you. You are going to find that there are times when pleasing the LORD is the only advantage of obedience.
Second, obeying the LORD when it doesn’t benefit you shows your trust in God’s plan. My friend, trusting the God who sees the whole picture is one of the wisest things you will do. You may think that your obedience is disadvantageous, but it is always good for you if your obedience fits into God’s plan. You are going to have to trust the God who knows the plan for your life if you want to obey Him at all times. You are going to find that there are times when it takes total trust in God’s providence and omniscience to obey Him.
Third, obeying the LORD when it doesn’t benefit you keeps you from having to suffer the consequences of disobedience. Sin always has its consequences, and disobedience is sin. If the only benefit you get from obeying God is that you don’t have to suffer the consequences of sin, that is a great benefit in itself.
Let me ask you; do you obey God when you see that obedience doesn’t benefit you? Let me remind you that obeying the LORD always benefits you, but you must trust that the LORD knows what is beneficial to you.