“Skip! Come back here! SKIP!” David slumped on the porch, dejected. Why wouldn’t that dog ever listen to him? He had tried everything to teach him to mind. It wasn’t because he wanted to be mean to his dog. He loved him! He wanted to keep him safe, but Skip wouldn’t listen.
“What’s all the yelling about?” David’s dad asked, rounding the corner of the house.
“It’s Skip again. He just won’t come when I call him if he’s found a rabbit or something to chase. I’m afraid he’ll go out on the road and get hit by a car, or some larger animal will attack him. How can I protect him when he won’t listen to me?”
“Do you think he just doesn’t care for you? Doesn’t love you anymore?” Dad queried.
David shook his head. “No, I know he loves me. He’s so excited to see me every morning or any time I get back home from being gone somewhere. It’s only when he’s off chasing something that he won’t come back until he’s through running.”
“Hmmmm,” Dad mused. “He reminds me of someone else I know.”
“Someone who loves to play basketball, read, and play video games and is slow to obey his mom or dad when he’s asked to stop.”
“Oh, Dad, that’s not the same at all,” David said. “I’m trying to protect Skip and teach him how to be safe. You and Mom just want me to clean my room or do my chores. I can always do those later.”
“David, one of the things that makes me so proud of you is your desire to serve God. Did you know that God values obedience over anything else? He said that He would rather His people obey Him than to give Him great offerings and sacrifices.”
“Seriously? I thought sacrifices were, I don’t know . . . like the greatest thing you could do for God,” David answered.
“That’s not what God said when He told Saul why he was being fired as king. In 1 Samuel 15, God used His prophet Samuel to tell Saul that obedience is better than sacrifice and that rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft. Can you think of anything further from God than witchcraft?”
“No,” David admitted. “Wow! God is really serious about rebellion, isn’t He?”
“Yes, He is,” replied Dad. “Samuel told King Saul that because he had rejected the word of the Lord, God rejected him as king. Can you imagine how disappointed God was in Saul?”
“I’d never want God to be disappointed in me,” David said. “I’ll always obey God, no matter what.”
“I know you mean that, son. But when you don’t obey your mom and me, you are disobeying God. Remember the fifth commandment? ‘Honor your father and mother.’ Or how about the words of Paul in Ephesians 6:1? ‘Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.’ God is serious about you obeying us.”
Dad continued. “Mom and I are trying to bring you up to be the godly man you want to be. Just like you’re training Skip to be a well-behaved dog and to keep him safe because you love him.”
“Wow. I’d never thought of it like that before,” David said. “I’m going to try a lot harder to mind you and Mom when you first tell me what to do, and not wait for my time.”