Why Follow the Commandments?

Rosalene Bowler
August 29, 2022

“How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him.” (1 Kings 18:21)

This verse of scripture comes from the Old Testament, when the prophet Elijah challenged King Ahab and the priests of Baal. They decided upon a test in which both groups, Elijah and the priests of Baal, would prepare an offering for burnt sacrifice, but neither group was allowed to light their sacrifice on fire. The god who was able to light their own sacrifice on fire without the help of the priests would win.

To spoil the story, Baal lost, and the God of Israel won by a landslide and a bonfire.

Apart from being wonderfully interesting, what is this story’s lesson and how does it apply to us today?

Here is some context: The Israelites had been in a drought for 3 years. The idol god Baal was worshipped as the god of rain and storms, so it follows that the fickle people of Israel turned to him for help, even if by doing so they broke one of the 10 commandments.

Can you think of ways this story may now mirror aspects of our day? Let’s look at another, clearer example that may shed some light for us.

17 ¶ And when [Jesus] was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?

18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.

19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.

20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.

21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.

(Mark 10)

Are there things that you prioritize above worshipping God in your life? The rich young man had the choice of staying where he was wealthy and comfortable, or leaving all he had and following Christ, on foot, probably for years if not until death.

Riches and staying home sounds far more comfortable to me.

And what about the Baal worshippers? I highly doubt Baal had 10 commandments for his followers to obey. So, wouldn’t it have been easier to worship him when one was in need of help, then turn around and cheat on one’s spouse when they deserved it, lie a little, steal if convenient, and ignore one’s aging parents?

It would be easier, but when has true conversion ever been an easy road?

Christ asks us to follow the 10 commandments, just as he asked the rich young man. It is wise to take the time regularly to examine our actions and our adherence to God’s commandments so we can make the needed adjustments and repent.

As we do so, God’s spirit will be with us, and our lives will be elevated towards Him.

Take the time to examine your own life now so you can repent and become the person God wants you to be.

“The Savior loves us always but especially when we repent. He promised that though “the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed … my kindness shall not depart from thee.” -President Russel M. Nelson

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