knowing and obeying

Abraham was an old man and getting older. Just as he was getting too old for many of life’s adventures, God went to him and promised He was going to give him a son and that through this son, all the world would be blessed. But Abraham was only getting older and older and the possibilities for this to be true were becoming slimmer. His wife Sarah laughed at the prospect and thought that God is perhaps crazy. She made her own plans and told her husband to take her servant and have a son with her. Abraham obeyed her and doubted God, but the plan seemed to work at first. A son was born of Sarah’s servant, but this son did not turn out to be one who would bless the whole world. This son would be a curse to it. He will cause pain and strife and be a wild donkey of a man. Abraham had failed greatly. He did not trust God, but his wife instead and he caused great strife in the world that continues today. Now, Abraham is even older, 99 to be exact. It would seem that God took back His promise after all. But then, God reaffirmed His promise and told Abraham once more that he would have a son and this son would bless the whole earth and his children be too many to count. Even though Sarah still laughs at the idea, she wonders. Sure enough, she became pregnant and provided an heir, Abraham’s only heir. After all this, Abraham began to understand God and believe that He is trustworthy and faithful.

Several years passed and God went to Abraham again. He told him to take Isaac, his only son and heir and sacrifice him. Abraham reacted quite differently this time. He obeyed. And, he obeyed immediately. Scripture says that he got up early in the morning, put a saddle on his donkey, took his son and went to carry out what the Lord asked of him. When they got to the place of the sacrifice, Abraham, with a heavy heart trusted God and as he was about to sacrifice his son, God provided a substitute. He brought forth a ram to be sacrificed in Isaac’s place. Abraham was overjoyed, He knew that God would provide and his faith became sight.

And why did Abraham trust God this time? What had he learned? Abraham finally knew God. Abraham knew what kind of God he was serving and knew Him to be trustworthy and faithful. Abraham also must have known that God was infinitely wiser and higher than he could ever imagine to be himself. Abraham was right.

Now, let’s say that you have read the Bible through and through (I pray that this is true). You know it from cover to cover and love every minute that you get to spend reading it. From all of your time in the Word, you can only conclude that God wants everything that you have to give (Matthew 4:18-22Matthew 8:18-22Matthew 10:37-39…) You can only surmise that He wants you to be constantly letting go of the things that this world has to offer in order to gain something more valuable, knowing Him (Philippians 3:8). This is the mindset that Abraham gained from knowing God.

This next part you don’t have to imagine because it will hit you in the face everywhere you turn if you express a desire to give up comfort and control. People will try to convince you that you are crazy. I know because they have done this to me. I cannot tell you how many times believers have said to me that I don’t have to give anything to God, that He is not asking me to do the things that I think He is calling me to do. Uuuum…REALLY?!?!? Seriously?!?! Because every time I read the Bible, it looks like He is. Okay, I’m starting to get sarcastic. Bottom line: they are wrong and the Devil is using their words to convince you that God is not trustworthy. But whatever you do, do not let anyone talk you out of what the Bible is telling you to do or commanding you to give up for God. Just trust God and obey Him. Whatever the consequences are, that is His business. You just need to trust that He is who He says He is just as Abraham had done and you will be blessed.

Now, it doesn’t stop there. If you ever get past the point of letting people talk you out of something that Scripture commands of you, then you have reached the point of doing it. Once you get here, you will face so much resistance. People will laugh at you just as Sarah laughed at Abraham. People will hate you, call you a fool, tell you to go home and to stop loving people more than yourself, stop trying to help orphans and widows, stop being like Jesus. They will lie to you and say what you are doing will make no difference. This is a time for rejoicing. Jesus told us that this would most certainly happen, but He also said that when it does happen, we are to rejoice because our reward will be great in heaven and because the prophets who went before us were persecuted for the same reasons (Matthew 5:12). So don’t stop. You have come too far to stop now and with what awaits you, it is worth the suffering and pain. Do you want to know why I know that? Because God said so. And because I know the kind of God I serve. He is love. In fact, He loves me and all His servants just as much as He loves His only Son (John 17:23). He is faithful and just to forgive all of my sins against Him and to clean me of all my unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). He patient, slow to anger, gentle, kind, and the list can literally go on for an eternity, which is the amount of time He promises to those who believe in Him (John 3:16). I trust Him. And so, I will obey Him.

In Jesus’ parable of the talents in Matthew 25, the Master gives talents to three different servants. He gives different amounts to each and then leaves them to take care of them while he is gone. The first two servants immediately took their talents and doubled the money for their Master. The third servant though hid his money and did nothing with it for the Master. When the Master did return, the first two were overjoyed to give what they had earned to Him. The Master rejoiced in these servants because they were faithful to the task that He gave them. But the third was not faithful and when asked why not, he explained that he knew the Master to be hard and so was afraid and hid the talents. The Master’s response to this servant was quite different. This servant was unfaithful and the Master cast him away only to live forever without the joy obtained by the first two servants. Now what was the difference between the first two servants and the last? The first two knew exactly who the Master was. They knew that He was good and faithful and worthy of their lives. So, they were overjoyed to giver their time and efforts to His goals and purposes. The last servant on the other hand did not know his Master. He had not tasted of the Master’s goodness and had no taste for the joys of heaven.

So what I am saying is KNOW GOD! Spend time with Him. Don’t put it off. Soon, you will yearn for more and more time with Him. And when you start to know Him, you won’t be able to read the Bible without wanting to obey everything that it says. You will start to love your neighbors more and more every day. You will let the Spirit reign in your life and you will allow Him to lead your conversations, prayers, relationships, and life. You will want to see God move mountains and you will go anywhere and do anything He asks. And you won’t let people stop you for anything. You will “Taste and see that the Lord is so good” (Psalm 34:8).

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knowing and obeying

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