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The Importance of Obedience (Deuteronomy 21:18-21)

Introductory Thoughts

The Old Testament Law sometimes condemned the guilty without remedy and with little mercy for the oft offending party. Our passage explains one such instance. It describes the method by which God's Law punished a disobedient child following repeated attempts made to correct him. Certainly, the method of punishment has changed under grace, but the passage proves the importance of obedience. Though God’s method of punishment has changed, His requirement for obedience has remained forever constant. Failing to learn obedience at an early age presents a stumbling block that impedes future growth. Perhaps this is why the Old Testament Law was so strict in punishing offending children. Unfortunately, far too many children in Christian homes think that if they could simply escape the confines of their godly homes they could truly enjoy life. Some of these children simply can't wait to grow up to be finally free to do whatever they want. However, God demands obedience and judges disobedience regardless of one's misconceptions.

Devotional Thoughts

  • (For children): Sometimes children think life is unfair because they seem to have so many bosses. Ask dad and mom if they have anyone whom they must obey. Ask what happens when they don't obey. If you learn to obey dad and mom now, obeying won't be nearly so hard after you have grown up. 
  • (For everyone): What are some of the reasons why it is important to learn obedience at an early age? In what situations must adults obey on a daily basis?
  • Do you think that the punishment of disobedient children described in today's passage was simply too strict under the law? Why do you think the judgment was so severe? What can we learn from this punishment?

Prayer Thoughts

  • Ask the Lord to help you see the importance of timely obedience.
  • Ask God to develop a godly obedience in you before you learn the bad habits of disobedience.


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