Gifts of Obedience
“Why do I have to call your name 500 times for you to come or answer?!” I ask my kids in frustration. “Please don’t make this harder than it has to be!” I say as I hold the clothes for the day and my three-and-a-half year old runs from me. “We are late! I asked you to put your shoes on twenty minutes ago. Why did you take your socks off?!” “Why is there pee on the floor?!” 😵💫 All statements/questions I have asked in the past week in frustration. As a mama, I often desire obedience from my kiddos. It would just be easier, right?
However, as my own expectations of obedience in others fall flat, I’m reminded of Abram and my own personal disobedience.
In Genesis 12, “The Lord said to Abram: Go out from your land, your relatives, and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, I will bless you, I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, I will curse those who treat you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (12:1-3). You know what fascinates me about this? Abram just did it. No questions. He packed up his things, people, and animals, told his wife, Sarai, and nephew, Lot, and they left.
Now side note, Abram wasn’t always as obedient. He oftentimes made decisions that could have gotten in the way of God’s promises to him, but God’s grace covered it. Later in chapter 12, there was a famine in the land. Abram traveled to Egypt because of this, and told his wife, who was very beautiful, to say she was his sister. This technically wasn’t a lie because she was his half sister, who at the time was 65 and the most powerful woman in the tribe. “Important economic and political contracts in the ancient world were sometimes finalized by the weaker party giving a woman leader to the stronger party. The woman would then become part of the leader's harem (this probably explains why Solomon had 700 wives 1 Kings 11:3)” (HCSB Gen. 12:15 footnote). Sarai did what Abram said, and as a result, she was taken to Pharaoh.
In order for God’s plan to be fulfilled though, He needed Sarai with Abram, not with Pharaoh, so God intervened. He struck Pharaoh and his household with plagues. This frightened and upset Pharoah, who then released Sarai and sent Abram away.
I desire obedience from my children. I like when things go my way. I like to feel as though I am in control of every outcome. Yet, God desires obedience from us. He likes when we walk in obedience to His will and call for our lives. He is in full and complete control and has authority over every outcome. We see these truths in Abram’s story here and later in Genesis. What else can we learn from Abram today?
However hard or trying obedience to God may be, that very obedience often leads to something better. It may not look better as we are walking the trail of it, but the outcome is far more than we ever could imagine. God says, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways.” This is the Lord’s declaration” (Isaiah 55:8 HCSB).
Despite our current physical, emotional, financial, marital, etc. circumstances, God desires good for our lives. “For I know the plans I have for you” — this is the Lord’s declaration — “plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11 HCSB).
Regardless of the mistakes we’ve made, make, or will make, God’s grace is bigger and brighter. “…My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me” (2 Corinthians 12:9 HCSB).
God doesn’t ask us to do it alone. He offers Jesus as the gift of saving grace and His Holy Spirit with the gifts of wisdom and counsel (and so much more). Obedience to God includes both gifts. First, accepting that Christ died for our sins. Then accepting and allowing the Holy Spirit to enter into and transform our lives. When we do these things, we allow God to work the Scriptures, His Living Word, in our lives, and what a gift that is.
If you haven’t accepted Christ, yet, it’s not too late. I’d love to talk with you and pray for the calling God has ordained for your life here on earth. If you have accepted Christ and are walking a hard road right now, please know I am praying for you, asking God to show His grace and mercy to you in that very situation. Have a great week, friends, and remember, you are never alone in this. Happy Thanksgiving!