As a former Catholic, I was taught that I could earn my way into heaven by following the Ten Commandments and participating in the Holy Sacraments. Whenever you learn something that Jesus addresses in Luke 18:18-30, the Bible corrects my misunderstanding. Since this account is mentioned by 3 of the 4 gospel authors, obedience are acts of faith that endear yourself to God, something a rich young ruler was unable to do.
But the [d]Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, Abraham, Abraham! He answered, Here I am. 12 And He said, Do not lay your hand on the lad or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear and revere God, since you have not held back from Me or begrudged giving Me your son, your only son. 13 Then Abraham looked up and glanced around, and behold, behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up for a burnt offering and an ascending sacrifice instead of his son! 14 So Abraham called the name of that place The Lord Will Provide. And it is said to this day, On the mount of the Lord it will be provided, Genesis 22:11-14.
Moses highlights this concept in the passage above. Prior to Genesis 22, Abraham had a habit of trusting in his own instincts rather than placing his full assurance in God. Perhaps, this is what led God to ask Abraham to do the unthinkable, sacrifice his promised son Isaac. When an angel of the Lord intervenes just before Abraham was going to go through with this, this obedience to God’s call endeared himself to the Lord.
If you will listen diligently to the voice of the Lord your God, being watchful to do all His commandments which I command you this day, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. 2 And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you if you heed the voice of the Lord your God, Deuteronomy 28:1-2.
Prior to Moses’ farewell address as Israel’s spiritual leader, he spends a chapter highlighting why God blesses obedient acts. Like a child who honors their parents, this is accomplished by listening intently and following the rules set in your home. Obedience isn’t a feeling, something you do when you want to. Rather, obedience is a daily conscience decision to seek God first and His righteousness, Matthew 6:33-34.
by Jay Mankus