To disobey means to defy or to break the rules or to go against the laws of the land or society. Therefore disobedience means defying or breaking the rules or going against the laws of the land. For example when the rules or the laws say that we should not steal, fight, cheat, defraud, kill or tell lies, and we do such, we are disobedient. We have done what we are not supposed to do.
God made laws for us to obey. These laws are in the form of commands, commandments, ordinances and statutes. The laws tell us what God wants us to do and what He does not want us to do. When we do what God wants us to do, we have obeyed Him and we become righteous. But when we do what God does not want us to do, we have disobeyed Him and we are disobedient.
Disobedience of God’s laws is called: ‘Sin’. Therefore, when we do what God does not want us to do, we have sinned against Him.
The disobedience of Adam and Eve. (Genesis 3) The Bible tells us how the first human beings, Adam and Eve disobeyed God and sinned against Him.
After creating Adam and Eve, God built a beautiful Garden for them called the Garden of Eden. They were to stay in the Garden so that they might continue God’s creative work. Everything was beautiful, orderly and stable. Adam and Eve ruled over the animals and birds and took care of the Garden. They were both naked, but they were not ashamed of their nakedness.
There were many trees in the Garden, and God commanded Adam and Eve to eat the fruits of all the trees except one. The exception was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If they ate of the fruit of that tree they would die. So, God called Adam and commanded him:
“You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.”
By these words, God gave man the freedom to do what is ‘right’ and likewise the freedom to do what is ‘wrong’. At the beginning, Adam and Eve obeyed God and they ate only the fruits of the trees they were told to eat; so they were ‘righteous’. However, one day when Adam was not around, the devil came in the form of a serpent and said to Eve: ‘You shall not die.’
The serpent told Eve that if she ate the fruit of the forbidden tree, she would not die. She would become wise, even as wise as God Himself, and would know good and evil. The serpent said to Eve:
“You shall not die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Eve believed what the serpent had told her and wanted to be wise; so she ate some of the fruits of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. She found Adam and gave him some of the fruits, and he also ate; so they were disobedient. Immediately they finished eating the forbidden fruit, their eyes opened and they realized that they were naked. They became ashamed of their nakedness and took fig leaves to cover their bodies.
God knew what Adam and Eve had done. They had broken His Commandment. Therefore he called them, but they were afraid to appear before Him because they were naked, and so hid themselves. God told Adam that he was naked because he had eaten the forbidden fruit. Adam blamed Eve for the disobedience, and Eve in turn blamed the devil. God was angry that the man and woman He had created had disobeyed Him. The offence of Adam and Eve had disturbed the good relationship that previously existed between them and God. The relationship had broken down completely. It also broke the order and peace in the Garden of Eden.
Consequences of Adam and Eve’s disobedience
The consequences of the disobedience of Adam and Eve were many. It brought about a sense of guilt, suffering, evil, the breakdown of law and order and the loss of God’s Kingdom (rule) over man. We have seen all these bad consequences of sin from what happened after Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit.
1) Disobedience brings sense of Guilt: (Genesis 3:6-7). After Adam and Eve had disobeyed God by eating the forbidden fruit, their eyes opened and they realized that they were naked. They were ashamed of their nakedness. Instead of innocence, there was now a sense of guilt for having done wrong. Therefore, sin brings a sense of guilt.
2) Disobedience brings Suffering: (Genesis 3:14-19). God made Adam and Eve suffer for their disobedience by punishing them so that they may learn not to disobey Him again. They were driven out of the Garden of Eden, which was their paradise. Instead of living in comfort, they were to suffer and die. The woman was to suffer pain at childbirth. The man was to earn his living by struggling and sweating for his daily bread. The serpent (devil) was to be their worst enemy. Thus, sin brings suffering.
3) Disobedience brings Evil: (Genesis 4:1-12). The disobedience of Adam and Eve affected their children and all mankind. Their children became evil and continued in the disobedience of their parents. When Cain realized that God had rejected his sacrifice in favour of that of his brother, Abel, Cain did evil by killing his brother. God was angry with Cain and He punished him. Instead of being a farmer, Cain was to become a fugitive and a wanderer in the wilderness. Therefore, sin leads to evil and wickedness.
4) Disobedience causes breakdown of Law and Order: (Genesis 6:5-7). As the descendants of Adam and Eve multiplied on earth, there was more and more evil. The people imagined wicked things against their neighbours and fought them and killed them. There was so much wickedness and cruelty in the world that law and order broke down completely. God was very, very angry. He was sorry for creating man because, instead of obeying Him, man had become rebellious:
“The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him to his heart.”
The Flood: (Genesis 6: 11-22; 7 & 8). As a result of the disobedience, wickedness and rebellion of man, God decided to destroy the whole world by flood. There was only one man who pleased God because he was well behaved. His name was ‘Noah’. God decided to save Noah and his family together with a pair of all animals. He directed Noah to build a very large boat. When Noah finished, he went into the boat with his family and a pair each of all animals. The flood lasted for one hundred and forty days and it destroyed everything on earth. After the flood, Noah and his family and the pairs of the animals settled on earth once again.
The Tower of Babel: (Genesis 11:1-9) Soon after the flood, the population on earth increased until there were many people in the world. The people began to disobey God again. They became very ambitious for they said:
‘Let us make a name for ourselves’.
Therefore, they came together against God by building the Tower of Babel to reach heaven. God fought against this evil by confusing the people. He gave them different languages, so that they could not understand themselves. Those who spoke the same language came together in small groups. In the end, all the people were scattered in small language groups over the surface of the earth.
5) Disobedience brings about the loss of God’s kingdom (rule) over man: The break in relationship that the disobedience of Adam and Eve caused between God and man meant that God’s rule, which He established over man by commanding him to obey Him, was no longer present in his life. By his act of rebellion, man had lost God’s kingdom or rule over him.
But God promised to restore His rule over man through a seed of the woman. In passing judgement on the serpent (the devil) God said that a seed of the serpent would crush the heel of man while a seed of the woman would crush the serpent’s head. Jesus Christ is the Promised Seed. The crushing of the serpent’s head means deliverance from the evil influence of the devil to restore God’s rule over man. Therefore, the coming of Jesus Christ was not only to reconcile us with God by restoring the good relationship, but also to deliver us from the evil influence of the devil and restore God’s kingdom (rule) over us.
Our own acts of disobedience and consequences
Every day we do what we are not supposed to do. We disobey the school rules and the laws in the society. We come to school late; sometimes we do not come to school at all; we refuse to do our home work; we refuse to obey our class prefects; we fight with our schoolmates; we cheat by copying our friend’s home work or work during examinations. We fight with our friends in the community; we tell lies to our parents at home, teachers at school and elders in the community. Some of us engage in sex before marriage.
When we disobey our parents they beat us and we suffer the pain. When we disobey school rules and regulations we are expelled from school and we ruin our academic career. We become drop-outs; and we bring our good family name into disrepute. When we engage in sex before marriage which we are not supposed to do, we – the girls, may get pregnant and stop schooling or we the boys may become young fathers; or we may contract diseases associated with sex like gonorrhea and HIV/AIDS that lead to suffering and death.
Disobedience against the National Laws
When we disobey the laws of the country there are serious consequences for us and those around us. When we go on protests which we are not supposed to do, we destroy things around us. We set cars on fire, and we destroy the property which people have worked very hard to acquire over a long period of time. When we disobey traffic lights/signals we may injure or even kill innocent persons that use the road.
We are fined heavily or sent to jail when we disobey our national laws. We can even be condemned to death by the courts when we disobey national laws.
Religious Guidance and Counselling
1) God wants you to obey Him always: Some of you are good because you pray to God to give you spiritual power to obey Him always. As a result, you always obey your parents at home, and your teachers and prefects at school. That is very good because it makes your relationship with God, your parents, teachers and prefects a very good one. Keep it up.
However, some of you do not pray to God to help you obey Him always. Therefore, you have no regard for God and you disobey your parents, teachers and prefects. Your relationship with God, your parents, teachers and prefects is very bad. You must learn to pray to Jesus now.
God wants all of you to pray to Him to help you obey Him so that you will always obey your parents, teachers and prefects. When you do that, you will have good relationship with God and with everybody, and everyone will like you.
2) God wants you to think about the consequences of your actions: Some of you are good because you pray to God to help you think before you act. Therefore, you think about the consequences of any action you want to take. If the action is good and will benefit those around you, you do it. If on the other hand, the action is bad and will harm those around you, you refuse to take it. This is very good. It brings about good human relationship. Keep it up.
However, some of you do not think about the consequences of your actions before you act because you do not pray to God to help you think before you act. Therefore, you do not care if your actions will damage your relationship with those around you, or injure others. This is very bad. Pray to God now.
God wants all of you to pray to Him to help you think seriously about the consequences of your actions, so that you will always do things that will promote peace, love, friendship and understanding with those around you.
Religious and Moral Lessons
- Adam and Eve were influenced (tempted) to sin by the devil (serpent). You must learn to pray to God to help you to avoid bad friends who would influence (tempt) you to disobey your parents, teachers and elders.
- Adam and Eve broke the good relationship with God by their sin of disobedience. You must learn to pray to God to give you spiritual power to avoid acts of disobedience that can break the good relationship with God and your parents, teachers and elders.
- Sin brings shame and disgrace leading to a sense of guilt. This sense of guilt is harmful to our religious and moral development. You must learn to pray to God to give you spiritual power to do things that will promote your religious and moral development.
- The sin of Adam and Eve affected the whole of mankind. This teaches you that your behaviour influences the actions of others. You must learn to pray to God to help you behave in a morally good manner so that your behaviour would benefit others.
- Sin leads to suffering, hardship, and loss of life and property. You must learn to pray to God to help you avoid those bad things that would lead to the evil consequences of sin.
- God wants you to think about the consequences of your actions before you act. You must learn to pray to God to help you always to think about the consequences of your actions before you act.