to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice *
October 09, 2019 – Wednesday
Matthew 8:26 NIV
26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
Today really consists of additional comments on what was said yesterday as a reader wrote in and said, He rebuked the wind in the same fashion as He rebuked the demons, and later the Pharisees; Mark and Luke use the word for “muzzle”. This suggests that all three forms of chaos and opposition came from the same source. Of course the three forms of chaos and opposition are 1) the furious storm in verse twenty-four, 2) various references to the demons throughout the New Testament, and 3) the Pharisees. who almost universally opposed Jesus.
First, off to the Blue Letter Bible where I discovered the word for rebuke was the transliteration epitimaōfrom Strong’s G2008 with definitions: to tax upon, i.e. censure or admonish; by implication, forbid:—(straitly) charge, rebuke. Then to Bible Gateway where I looked at the same verse in over 60 translations or versions where 48 stated Jesus rebuked the storm, six stated Jesus commanded the storm, four said He ordered or gave orders to the storm, one said He spoke sharp words to the storm, and one said He told old the wind to be silent, the sea to quiet down: “Silence!”
Before going any further it needs to be stated Jesus clearly rebuked or admonished His disciples stating, You of little faith, why are you so afraid? This was clearly a teaching moment from the Teacher to His students for something they should have already known from His prior miracles. And He did this from a sitting or reclining position for the very next thing we read in the verse is that Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. He didn’t even get up until after He rebuked His disciples.
Of course having risen He rebuked the winds and the sea, but one should not at all consider this means He saw the storm as a living thing. Instead it was nature and nature was always at His beck and call. When Jesus rebuked or commanded demons, they were often in great opposition to Him and He would necessarily command them to do as He wished even while they resisted. When He rebuked the Pharisees He was not commanding them. Instead He was making clear their pride and arrogance was blinding them to the truth. Thus I believe when Jesus addressed the wind and the sea, He simply told them what He wanted them to do and they had no choice but to do as He wished and directed. This is much like what we see in the Old Testament in Psalm 106:9 and Nahum 1:4.
God could force us to do as He wishes, but His desire is for us to come to Him of our free will and choices. When we do so, there are a great many rewards for us in eternity. The demons have already made their choice and we know where they will spend eternity. Most of the Pharisees choose poorly as well.
(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)