March 4 – Obey Whether You Understand or Not


  • Lev. 11:46-47
  • Deut. 14:3-5
  • Lev. 11:4-23, 41-45, 24-38; 20:25-26; 11:39-40
  • Deut. 14:21a
  • Lev. 17:15-16
  • Ex. 22:31
  • Lev. 17:10-14; 7:22-25
  • Ex. 23:19b


In today’s reading GOD gave the Israelites a list of animals they could not eat. GOD said that eating them or touching their dead carcass would cause them to be unclean until evening. GOD told the Israelites what to do but did not explain why. This happens sometimes in the parent-child relationship. Sometimes the parent gives the rule to the kid and explains the reasoning behind it, and other times the parent simply gives the rule.

When I was a kid and my parents would tell me something to do I would occasionally ask why. Most often the reply was, “Because I said so, that’s why.” As a child I hated hearing this response. I thought it was fair for me to get an explanation as to why I had to do or not do what Mom or Dad was telling me. As I got older my perspective changed. I came to realize that a parent does not owe their child a reason why. They may choose to give an explanation, but it isn’t required.

Then one day I heard this same scenario played out but the father gave a different response to the child. The dad said, “Son go do [something specific],” and the child said, “Why?” The dad then responded, “Because I am Daddy.” I loved this response and I have tried to remember to use it on my children as they’ve asked “why?” over the years. You see, this response relies not on an explanation of the rule or command, but on the relationship between the parent to the child.

In my opinion, it is often what is unspoken, yet communicated clearly, that is most powerful. The unspoken-yet-clearly-communicated part in this example is, “Because I am your father I have been given responsibility to take care of you, and I am older, wiser and have more life experience than you. You don’t have to understand why I’m telling you this. You simply have to obey me.”

There are times when we need to understand why, and there are times when we need to simply trust our Father and obey. Regardless of whether we understand the reason why, we do understand who is commanding us, and therefore we should obey. Later on, the judge and prophet Samuel would say to King Saul:

So Samuel said: “Has the LORD as great 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 Sam. 15:22 NKJV)


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