And he asked them of their welfare, and said, Is your father well, the old man of whom ye spake? Is he yet alive? And they answered, Thy servant our father is in good health, he is yet alive. And they bowed down their heads, and made obeisance. (Genesis 43:28)
Ever run into a word that you can never remember how to pronounce correctly? Isn't it frustrating? Well for me, "obeisance" is one of those words. Is it o`-bee-suhns or o`-bay-suhns?
Another is "ambassage" (Luke 14:32). The problem here lies in the fact that today the word is spelled "embassage," though the meaning is the same. And in case you're interested, it is pronounced `em-bə-sij (accent on the first syllable).
Anyway, when I looked up the proper pronunciation for "obeisance" (which I'm sure I've done several times before), I found that either pronunciation is acceptable (one dictionary listed the long a pronunciation first, the other the long e pronunciation first). But none of that is the point.
The word is defined as:
…a movement of the body made in token of respect or submission
…acknowledgment of another's superiority or importance
Now, regardless of how you pronounce the word, it is clear that the root is OBEY. And what stuck out in my mind was the fact that obedience is rooted in humility. In the same way, I believe it's pretty obvious to see that rebellion is rooted in pride.
If you're struggling with obedience in some area of your life (and we all do from time to time), remember that it is God Who puts authority in place, and He does so for a reason. And we are all commanded to submit ourselves to that authority. You see, God has the right to tell all of us what to do. And He's transferred that right to various people in our lives. To be obedient, we must humble ourselves and acknowledge that fact.
If you're struggling with obedience in some area of your life, you need to check up on your estimation of yourself (the great "Who do you think you are?" question), and think a while about how much God hates pride…Isaiah 14 might be a good place to start.
JESUS humbled himself and became obedient (Philippians 2:8). May we all follow His example!