We live, I think it’s fair to say, when many Christians believe obedience is optional. This is the same viewpoint held by many in ancient Israel, so that God addresses those folk, those disobedient folk, in very straightforward terms. Here is what he says:
The LORD will also subject you to madness, blindness, and confusion of mind. You will feel your way along at noon like the blind person does in darkness and you will not succeed in anything you do; you will be constantly oppressed and continually robbed, with no one to save you. You will be engaged to a woman and another man will rape her. You will build a house but not live in it. You will plant a vineyard but not even begin to use it. Your ox will be slaughtered before your very eyes but you will not eat of it. Your donkey will be stolen from you as you watch and will not be returned to you. Your flock of sheep will be given to your enemies and there will be no one to save you.
Your sons and daughters will be given to another people while you look on in vain all day, and you will be powerless to do anything about it. As for the produce of your land and all your labor, a people you do not know will consume it, and you will be nothing but oppressed and crushed for the rest of your lives. You will go insane from seeing all this.
The LORD will afflict you in your knees and on your legs with painful, incurable boils– from the soles of your feet to the top of your head. The LORD will force you and your king whom you will appoint over you to go away to a people whom you and your ancestors have not known, and you will serve other gods of wood and stone there. You will become an occasion of horror, a proverb, and an object of ridicule to all the peoples to whom the LORD will drive you.
“You will take much seed to the field but gather little harvest, because locusts will consume it. You will plant vineyards and cultivate them, but you will not drink wine or gather in grapes, because worms will eat them. You will have olive trees throughout your territory but you will not anoint yourself with olive oil, because the olives will drop off the trees while still unripe. You will bear sons and daughters but not keep them, because they will be taken into captivity. Whirring locusts will take over every tree and all the produce of your soil.
The foreigners who reside among you will become higher and higher over you and you will become lower and lower. They will lend to you but you will not lend to them; they will become the head and you will become the tail! All these curses will fall on you, pursuing and overtaking you until you are destroyed, because you would not obey the LORD your God by keeping his commandments and statutes that he has given you. (Deut. 28:28-45)
Disobedience… it’s insane.