We all know the old hymn “Trust and Obey”. Those two words always go together. As we have been discussing this matter of obedience, it might be good to think about faith.
Faith involves action. The ordinary people in Hebrews 11 are only there because they did what God asked them to do. They were not "super saints." They, too, felt inadequate, overwhelmed, and not qualified to do what God asked them to do. Just like for us, disobedience was a real option.
Think about a few of their concerns.
God said to Noah, “Build a boat. I am going to judge the earth with rain.” At that time, Noah had never seen rain. He could’ve easily said, “No. I’ll look crazy!” But he obeyed anyway.
You can think of all the “what ifs,” but they will steal the joy of saying “Yes, Lord” to God’s instructions.
If I were Noah, I would probably think, What if I don’t have enough trees to cut down? What if I got the boat done and no animals came? What if I do this and God doesn’t send the rain? I’ll look like a fool.
But the passage says, “Noah did everything just as God commanded him (Genesis 6:22).”
He didn’t have a lot to go on except God’s promise. We speak of Noah today because he cut down trees and started building the ark, and God did His supernatural part.
And what about Abraham? All settled in, great business, successful and good family ties. All of a sudden God said, “Leave it all and get out of your home base.”
Abraham: “But God, can I represent you in my home town?”
God: “Abraham, leave this city and go.”
Abraham: “Okay, God, tell me where I am going.”
God: “Abraham, leave. I will tell you later.”
And Abraham obeyed. He fought through the “if only” thoughts that came to him: If only I could serve you where I live. What if I go, risk it all, and God never speaks to me again? Lord, this is too risky.
His feelings were no different than ours would have been, but he obeyed. He was probably scared to death as he left all his contacts, family, and business opportunities to trust God.
Do you think Noah and Abraham would tell us today that it was worth it, wondering if God would come through, risking everything? Would they tell us that it was worth it? Of course!
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." -Romans 12:1-2
Our lives are to be a living sacrifice—proving that God’s will is good, perfect, and trustworthy. We have to sacrifice in faith to point the world to Jesus.
"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds." -Hebrews 10:24
Brothers and sisters, let’s encourage one another to obey the Lord in faith each day.
John's travels for ministry behind the Iron Curtain led him to found East-West Ministries International in 1993. John and his wife, Susie, live in Dallas, Texas and have a grown daughter and two grandchildren.