February 26, 2023
- By Ed Powell
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"And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time saying, Arise and go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee." Jonah 3:1-2
How typical Jonah is of our self-directed ways. Having heard God's command to go to Nineveh, he turns to his own way and goes in another direction. The amazing thing is that God speaks to him a second time. How long-suffering God was to Jonah, and also to us today, when we persist on "going our way" instead of yielding in obedience to God's way, thinking we know best and can certainly handle our lives without Him. Jeremiah said, "O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps" (Jeremiah 10:23).
Have you ever noticed that "reconciliation" always begins with God? He is the One that seeks us. We did not seek Him; He sought us. We did not love Him; He first loved us. We did not draw ourselves to Him; He draws us to the Father. So often when we face a decision of obedience, we start rationalizing; we weigh the pros and cons, and we doubt and debate issues. We would save ourselves many heart-wrenching experiences if we would follow in "simple obedience."
Obedience and faith go hand-in-hand. Obedience often means we have to "step out in faith" when we do not see anything. Faith is not intelligent understanding; it's more than that. Faith is a deliberate commitment to God, a trust in the faithful character of God, when I do not see a way. It is complete reliance on and trust in the One who is true, able, and faithful to "perfect that which concerns us."
Another important factor in obedience is our immediate response. When God told Abraham to take his only son, the son he loved, and offer him for a burnt offering, we read, "Abraham rose up early" and made his way to follow the Lord's leading. The simplicity of Abraham's response exemplifies his complete trust in God. His immediate obedience reflects his sense of urgency in following God's will in the most trying time of his life. God said, "Take thy son," not presently, not when it's convenient, not when you come to some decision, but NOW.
To climb the heights that God wants to take us to, we cannot have a passive attitude toward God. God wants immediate, full, and complete response, exercised in an obedience that stems from a heart of love for Him. Abraham did not yield to his own sympathies, his own insights, his own reasoning, or "anything" that would compete with or hinder his complete obedience to God.
God wants to lead us into ventures of faith to a "life that is beyond ourselves." He wants to take us into experiences that can only be accomplished by the manifestation of His mighty power in our lives! He has a plan and a purpose for our lives that is "exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think" (Ephesians 3:20). Are you a candidate for such a life, an exciting adventure of faith for His glory? "He is faithful who has called you" (1 Thessalonians 5:24).
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://www.litmin.org/dare.php?date=2023-02-26
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