to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice *
November 26, 2019 – Tuesday
Ephesians 6:1-6 NIV
1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
2 “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—
3 “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”
4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.
6 Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.
In the six verses above we see the word ‘obey’ three times. Once for children and twice for slaves. In all three cases the same Greek word is used, from Strong’s it is G5219 hypakouo and is defined as to listen attentively; by implication, to heed or conform to a command or authority:—hearken, be obedient to, obey.
Looking at verse one alone Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Anyone who has children or has raised children or remembers their own childhood remembers a parent or parents saying “Are you listening to me?” or “Did you hear what I said?” Clearly part of a child’s direction to obey parents is to listen to what they are saying when they are talking to the child. If a child eventually learns to pay attention to his or her parents, then they are all the more likely to pay attention to what the Lord is saying to them in His Word – the Bible – or what He is saying to them through their pastor, preacher, or minister.
How about the two verses for slaves to obey their earthly masters? First let’s look at Strong’s once again for the definition of slave. It is G1401 doulos and is defined as a slave (literal or figurative, involuntary or voluntary; frequently, therefore in a qualified sense of subjection or subserviency):—bond(-man), servant. Clearly it could mean a literal slave or it could mean someone working for another. Slavery was common throughout the Roman Empire during the time this was written and in many places the slaves outnumbered those who were not slaves. Beyond that there were many businesses with numerous employees. I mention all of this as the instruction for slaves herein could/would also apply to any of us working for someone in some organization or business. There is a reason we sometimes call our bosses ‘slave masters’ as they have little or no concern for those who work under their supervision.
However, the direction for slaves is for Christian slaves, those who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior , repented of their sins, turning their lives around living for Jesus. This would be just as true for us today if we have done the same. Then we obey our earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as we would obey Christ. [We] Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from our heart. Changes the how and why we approach our jobs as we do. It’s no longer to get ahead or to get a promotion (not bad things in and of themselves) but instead doing the will of God from our heart.
It is important to note Paul did not stop here, but went on to give instructions for masters or what today we might call supervisors, bosses, management, or employer. 9 And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that He who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with Him. Whether you are master in the first century Roman Empire or an employer today, if you were or are a Christian you have been given instructions on how to treat those who fall under you in the chain of command. Jesus will show no favoritism due to your position.
Following Jesus and as a Christian treating people as you know – you have been told – Jesus wants you to treat them is great evidence of your faith. Live your faith, put it into action with those around you.
(to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice)
* Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. (1 Samuel 15:22)