There have been seasons in my life when God has opened up a door or stirred a restlessness in my spirit, and I’ve not moved.
Fear stopped me.
Or simply not wanting to listen.
But there have been times when God fanned a flame of desire in me I could not ignore or deny no matter how terrifying or preposterous, and so I jumped. For the most part, I’ve always been glad I did, but it never turned out like I imagined. God’s call is like that.
Abraham’s Jump of Obedience
Abraham was a jumper. When God told him to leave his home to go to a land he had never seen before, Abraham did. Sarah, who didn’t sign up for a life on the road when she married Abe, followed also. You probably know the story. They lived as tent dwellers following God and trusting His promises for a long time before they held their son Isaac.
Moments of doubt assailed them. They concocted their own method to help God conceive that precious promised son. But despite their humanness, and their failed attempt, they were obedient.
Obedience on that Very Day
In Genesis 17, God came to Abraham and renewed His promise and gave the covenant of circumcision to Abe. Abraham was 99 and Ishmael (the attempt to help God out with the plan) was 13, yet the Bible says, On that very day Abraham . . . did what God told him to do. No wavering or hemming or hawing. No asking God for a fleece.
That’s amazing to me. Maybe it was God’s kindness, His grace given to Abraham and Sarah that stirred Abraham to trust God even with this new covenant. Whatever it was, Abraham did what God told him to do.
I read about this in one of my favorite devotionals called Streams in the Desert. I opened it up the other day to this verse about Abraham and these words:
“Instant obedience is the only kind of obedience there is, for delayed obedience is disobedience. . . . Postponed obedience can never bring us the full blessing God intended or what it would have brought had we obeyed at the earliest possible moment. ”May 14, Streams in the Desert
Ouch. Those words sting. I’m thankful for grace and that God redeems, but how beautiful are the feet of the one who obeys. The one who bring the good news, the one who gives the elderly man a ride who is carrying groceries on foot, or the person who calls a friend when she keeps coming to her mind, or prays for the child thousands of miles away.
Obedience doesn’t have to be huge
Obedience doesn’t have to be life changing like moving to India, or quitting your job, or circumcising your 13 year old son like Abraham. It can be found in the most mundane daily activity. It’s that nudge of the Holy Spirit to pray for the person in traffic next to you or the one in front of you on her cell phone.
But sometimes obedience is huge. It does involve quitting your job and moving to the other side of the country, or to leave the church you’re attending. It’s really difficult when what you are currently doing involves helping others, but God is calling you elsewhere. We would think that God prefers sacrifice, but He doesn’t.
Trust and Obey
King Saul learned this the hard way. He didn’t follow all God’s instructions; he tried to justify his actions, and it didn’t end well. It cost him his position as king.
But Samuel replied:
“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices1 Samuel 15:22-24
as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
he has rejected you as king.”
We’ve got to trust God has good things planned. His plans usually don’t make sense in our world, but they make perfect sense in His. Remember, He holds the stars. He knows their name. And He knows the number of hairs on your head. He loves you.
Bite of Bread Reading Plan on Obedience (7 Scriptures)
Join me this week as we study verses about obeying God. I think you will be encouraged. I know I have been just making the printable with the prompts. Every morning I’ll post a scripture image and the prompt on FB, Twitter, and Instagram. Follow me on any of these to get the verse for the day. Here’s the BoB!
1 Samuel 15:22: But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
- Prompt: Is God nudging you to make a change? If you have time, read all of 1 Samuel 15 to better understand Saul’s disobedience. If you don’t have time, is there anything God is bringing to mind as you read this verse? Anything He wants you to let go of or follow through with despite what other people may think?
Deuteronomy 11:1: Love the LORD your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws and his commands always.
- Prompt: It’s the first commandment, Love the LORD. Obedience comes easier when the heart is involved, when we love the One who commanded it. Get on your knees today (if you can) and pray for the covenant making God, YHWH, to help you love Him more and more each day.
John 15:9: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.
- Prompt: He loves us. He loves you as much as He loved the Father. Soak in that today. Soak in the truth of Jesus’s love. If that’s hard to believe, ask for greater faith.
2 Corinthians 10:5: We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
Prompt: Our thoughts need to be obedient to Christ! Our thoughts! Not just our actions. I believe He does that through the knowing the Word and the Holy Spirit take-over. Pray for Holy Spirit to take over your thoughts and write down this verse. Post it several places in your home.
Revelation 14:12: This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus.
- Prompt: The context of this verse is the eternal punishment that will be given to those who worship the beast and his image. We must be patient in our worship and our obedience. The following verses have to do with Jesus’s commands. He really only had two. Do you know what they were?
2 John 1:6: And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.
- Prompt: And this is His command. Who do you need to love on today? Be obedient! What does that look like?
John 15:14: You are my friends if you do what I command.
- I want to be His friend, don’t you? And what was it He commanded? Write down a tangible obedient act of love you can do today.
The Blessing of Obedience
I’m learning how faithful God is every time I jump out in faith. I’m always blessed for the obedience. It never looks like I imagined. It usually takes much longer to get to the tangible promise. Some I am still waiting to see. But the blessing of obedience is not fame or fortune. It is so much more. The blessing is a tangible, deep relationship with the Covenant Maker Himself. It’s the blessing of walking with Him everyday. And that my friends is more precious than any dream or answered promise.
Has God been leading you or nudging you to do something? Don’t miss the blessing. Remember, obedience is better than sacrifice. Let. It. Go.
Obedience is the fruit of faith; patience is the early blossom on the tree of faith.Christina Rossetti
Join the conversation! Leave a comment. :)
Digging Deep in Obedience,
PS. Virtual Bible Study Wednesday Night !
When: 7:30 PM ET. (Lord willing . . . and Facebook not having technical difficulties like last week!) Hope you can join me!
Where: Facebook- just follow me!