Obedience can be challenging under the best conditions when it totally makes sense, like being obedient to the laws of the road. This obedience keeps us safe and alive so sure, we may not like stopping a stop sign when we think no one else is around, but we do it just in case there is a blind spot. Obedience when it is to a call from God and doesn’t make sense, that is a whole new ball game.
Hebrews 11:8-10 gives us a look at one of the all-time most obedient people throughout the entire bible…Abraham. Abraham was astounding in his life and living by faith, in my opinion. He believed God on some radical calls and promises and we only see him truly frustrated and wavering in faith when he took matters into his own hands. And yet, even when he messed things up, he brought himself back around to obedience to God, and God blessed him beyond all he could imagine. In this first look at Abraham, the writer of Hebrews shows us radical obedience when it didn’t make sense.
Flip to Genesis chapter 12 for the original account of Abraham, back then known as Abram’s, obedience. Abram and his family were doing just fine, living life in typical fashion. In our first introduction to Abram, God calls him to not only leave his family land, but to leave his actual family. Abram is 75 years old, set in his ways, and God shakes it up. He doesn’t tell him exactly where to go, He simply says to pack it all up and head out. He then gives an outrageous promise, “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great and you will be a blessing.” (Genesis 12:2) One verse later we read that Abram pulled together his family, including his nephew Lot’s family, and they took off. No argument. No excuses. Just obedience. Can you imagine how the rest of his family reacted? I’m relatively certain they thought he was nuts.
Obedience is personal because the call of God is personal. While there are some expectations in how we are to live that go across the board, how we fulfill our reason for being created is individualistic. God places opportunities and invitations in my path that He doesn’t necessarily place in yours and vice versa. We are each responsible for being obedient to God’s voice. Now, one of the many things I love about God is that He doesn’t push or punish us when we express reluctance. Living by faith acknowledges the challenge of obedience and then does it any ways because we know it’s the right thing to do.
A few years ago my daughter and I were at church and we were just mingling after the service. She came up to me and said she felt God asking her to go talk to a woman and tell her she was loved. She was nervous, who wouldn’t be? Talking to strangers isn’t always easy and going up to them with a word from God feels doubly hard. I simply told her to be obedient. She followed God’s call on her life for that moment and in the end, the woman hugged her, cried and told her that she needed that message. Beautiful!! God can do whatever He wants and, He chooses to work through us. Wow!
Obedience changes the atmosphere for the here and now and, it changes the landscape for the future. Not only do I need to be obedient for my own walk with God, the people around me need me to be obedient as well. God isn’t playing some cosmic chess match just for the fun of it, the stakes are too high. He is active and seeking hearts willing to live by faith, be obedient and love the world around them. We all have opportunities to be like Abram, he was just an average guy that was willing to be obedient and look what happened.
Be obedient even when it scares you. God is with you and He won’t leave you or forsake you. Keep walking even when it doesn’t make sense and keep your faith activated. You may never understand exactly why God called you to do something but He knows why and He knows the needs. Obedience changes everything!