28 thoughts on “O-B-E-D-I-E-N-C-E”

  1. I have always loved this song…must be a childhood thing because the tune needs some serious updating. However I do like the message of the song. “Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.”

    1. Hi Nathan, I was wondering what motions you used? like sign language, like were they complicated to learn? We are doing VBS for our church this year and are trying to figure out easy motions for our kids to learn. Thank you!

  2. Have y’all heard “rock of ages” sung to the new tune? I cry every time we sing it (which has been a few years now) at church. The words are so rich and powerful but I never paid attention to them because the old tune sounded like a funeral song.

    On another note, the greatest preacher of our age who you have never heard of (Albert N. Martin) preached a sermon entitled “Life of Principled obedience”. If you have the time you can listen to the sermon here: http://www.sg-audiotreasures.org/am.htm

  3. Unfortunately, when a seven year old sings this song, he or she gets the impression that obedience is the best way to show that you believe. Thousands of Muslims show obedience and do not believe at all, because they are under the law. Most unsaved children interpret Sunday School lessons and songs as rules to keep. This has no saving effect whatsoever. Whoever is under the law and is obedient to law is cursed, because the scriptures say, Cursed is every one who continues not to do every thing written in the law. For the unsaved seven year old, obedience does not show that he believes. It only shows that something motivates him to obey, whether it be the Holy Spirit or the law of Moses. When a child gets stars for attending Sunday School every week, the impression that God is pleased with performance based Christianity begins to enter into every concept the child has about God. This is essentially keeping the law. The child is then being groomed to believe that carrying a Bible to church, wearing a suit, and perfect church attendence equals God’s satisfaction. Scary! There is nothing saving about keeping manmade expectations of showing obedience. So the best way to show that you believe is just simply believe God and believe that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him!

  4. it just occurred to me that 2 of the first songs i ever learned as a child were “o-b-e-d-i-e-n-c-e” and “trust and obey”. that sounds about right.

    i wonder what happens when you play this backwards…

  5. Wait, there were motions? I don’t remember that! I remember motions to plenty of other songs (Lord’s Army, B-I-B-L-E, Jesus Loves Me, etc.), but not that one.

    Bill, for the record I *love* (even prefer) old hymns set to new music. I’m a huge fan of what Indelible Grace and others have done in those veins. I just made that comment in reference to the anti-new music attitude that is common in fundy circles.

    Alan, totally agree. You stated it much better than I could have!

  6. Remember all of the hand motions to “Father Abraham?” That is a great song to use at the end of children’s church when you are trying to kill time waiting for the guest evangelist to finish with the adults.

  7. Rob: Father Abraham was verboten under my first pastor. He thought that the hand motions encouraged wicked dancing. Also, I think he had a problem with the song on account of the whole “call no man father” thing.

    The Sunday school teacher’s first order of business after that pastor left the church to bring Christ to the Godless Catholics of the Phillipines (cause Catholics have never heard of Christ, don’t you know…) was to begin each Sunday school session with a rousing, rollicking rendition of Father Abraham. It was such guilty pleasure!

    Somehow, “I’m in the Lord’s Army” was totally cool to the aforementioned pastor. Maybe it was the military theme. I wonder if he would have let us sing “General Abraham”…

    As far as the wicked dancing thing goes- now that i’m grown up and married, i have a hard time seeing how “right arm! left arm!” could lead one into sinful lust. wait, i take that back. i have a hard time seeing how it could lead one into lusting after another person…

  8. Now I was told that “Father Abraham” was evil because it was incorrect. “The Jews are the only children of Abraham, silly! NOT YOU!!” And so began my second-class citizenship status in dispensationalism. . . . Sigh. Nice to be on the outside and actually *read* Paul’s epistles.

    And I agree with Alan on this one too. Remember the second verse:

    We want to live pure, we want to live clean.
    We want to do our best.
    Sweetly submitting to authority.
    Leaving to God the rest.

    Etc. Setting us all up for failure and abuse with that one. Professional Pharisaism takes a lot of work — even with little ditties.

    I do know the author of the song and the children for whom she wrote it. Personally. Went to school with them at BJU and have a continued friendship. I don’t know why I bring that up, tbh. Except to continue my sigh. . . .

  9. “Now I was told that “Father Abraham” was evil because it was incorrect. “The Jews are the only children of Abraham, silly! NOT YOU!!””

    I remember hearing a professor saying that once. I respect the man for at least being painstakingly consistent in his Dispensational-Arminian theology, especially as those consistencies were a factor in my becoming Reformed.

  10. I haven’t heard this song in a long time. Funny how I automatically did the sign language alphabet in the chorus without even thinking about it (with BOTH hands yet!).

  11. I’m going with Alan and Camille on this one. In fact, going so far as to steal Alan’s comment and re-post it on my blog (with links).

    What a song… Talk about reinforcing works-based sanctification!!

  12. Hehe. Works salvation: a concept so disdained by fundies, yet so central to their actual soteriology. As I explained to my Baptist buddies when I became Eastern Orthodox- we both believe that works are necessary for salvation, the Orthodox are just honest about it.

  13. Lisa asked: “How many fundy churches meet in granges? That’s what I wanna know!”

    When I got out of the Military and came back home (NC) in 1992, the church I attended as a teen had split, so naturally, the refugees had started another church in the Local Grange….. After we built “another” church building… yet another “church” started holding services in the grange when we vacated it… Ya, gotta love American Religion: Jet your feelings hurt or there is a split over a power struggle in the church… pick up a rock and throw it and wherever it lands… start another church. A pox on the whole system of man centered, man controlled, ego building American Religionism! 2/3 or more of those who are controlling a congregation from a pulpit should not be there at all.

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