The word obedience is a great Biblical word in the life of the believer. It is at the very heart of our service, our salvation, and our sanctification. Many an invitation call has been made with these words.
Trust and obey,
For there is no other way
To be happy in Jesus,
But to trust and obey.
In our lesson today, we learn that to be obedient to the Word of God we must be skillful and intelligent in the truths and ways of God.
16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
We are to be wise in the Word of God so that we can determine that which is really good, from that which is counterfeit; wise so that we can distinguish things that are untrue, in order to improve our opportunities to serve. All the while knowing that we remain surrounded by those who would deceive us, and therefore take us away from God’s work.
8 The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the folly of fools is deceit.
We talked last week about how the believer is to recognize the truth among a sea of counterfeit. You learn to tell the difference by diligent study of the real thing. To rightly divide the word of truth requires meticulous, constant, study, an open heart to the words of the Holy Spirit, and simplicity in our faith in Christ.
We are to be wise enough not to be deceived, and yet so simple that we will not be deceivers. It is a Holy simplicity that Paul describes here. To have a holy simplicity means that you are someone who does not contrive, or have evil intentions. We are not to be sophisticated in the ways of evil, we are to be simply faithful in our knowledge of the Lord.
An obedient believer is to recognize wisdom, recognize evil, and recognize that both can be found in the church. To believe otherwise is to be naive and foolish. To be obedient to God requires that we know the truth of what God says so that we will not be deceived by the lies of Satan.