I don’t think we could ever overdo the conversation of obedience. Obedience is love. It’s such a big deal that God compares disobedience to witchcraft (1 Samuel 15:23). So, since we’re talking about obedience, let’s talk about Abraham.
Most people know the story of Abraham and Isaac. And the test he went through to prove his love and obedience to God. This test ended with Abraham not having to sacrifice his own son, as was the original command from God.
What I believe, is that Abraham’s obedience saved Isaac’s life. Let’s think about it.
Abraham didn’t know which mountain he was supposed to go to. “Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you” (Genesis 22:2). God told him to take his son, go to Moriah and then he would show him the mountain. And of course, as the story goes, once Abraham was there a ram was stuck in the bushes which in turn became Abraham’s sacrifice instead of Isaac. But, what if?
What if Abraham wasn’t obedient? What if Abraham didn’t go to Moriah? Even simpler, what if he didn’t go to the mountain God showed him? He would have only partially obeyed God’s command and partial obedience is still disobedience.
You see, I understand the foreshadowing details of this story. I understand the parallels. I understand the test. But what I’ve recently learned is that it was complete obedience to God that kept Isaac alive. Not the ram, not perfect timing, and certainly not coincidence. Obedience.
In essence, what I believe is that God will always provide a ram in the bush, it’s just that we keep on going to the wrong mountain.
Why do we get upset with God for questioning us when He knows us better than we know ourselves? When He knows our past, present, and future, how do we find room to get testy with Him?
A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”
I find it interesting that Peter was hurt that Jesus asked him the question three times. Coming from a guy that denied Jesus three times, you would think he would understand the need for the repetitive questioning. But, we do this too. We get impatient with God and quickly forget the eternal patience He has had with us. We get bothered when we have to receive the same lesson, but neglect to mention that we’ve refused to learn from it. Yet, when God asks us do we love Him, we have the nerve to get offended. As if the offenses we’ve committed against Him wouldn’t be reason to ask.
God sees our hearts. So it’s not like He doesn’t know if we truly love Him. I just think that God likes to reveal our hearts to us. So sometimes He has to ask. Sometimes you have to retest. Sometimes you have to repeat. As my friend says, you have to revisit and revise. And it’s what you find on the retest that reveals what you are. It’s in those moments that you get the answers to the questions God asked you.
Every now and then, the third time really is the charm. You just don’t know it yet.
Then he returned and found the disciples asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour?
I wonder how many times Jesus had his heart broken. I’m not talking about romantic love heart breaks. I’m talking about true devastation, utter discouragement, and disappointment.
I imagine the moment the disciples were sleep could have been one. He’s preparing for death, a violent one at that, and they’re sleeping…
Hours before they were so pumped up! Ready to die for Jesus! But now, they can’t even stay awake.
Sadly, that’s the point. We’re quick to say we’re ready to do what God hasn’t even asked of us. But we won’t do what He has asked. We’re ready to die. We’re ready to fight! Yet we won’t even stay awake to pray.
Truthfully, God doesn’t need me to vow to die for Him if I haven’t even committed to living for Him. What are you busy doing and promising to do, when all God asks of you is to stay awake? He doesn’t need any empty promises. He needs people to stay awake!
Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!
God told the Israelites that He had a command for them.
This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you, and it is not beyond your reach. – Deuteronomy 30:11
It wasn’t difficult, it wasn’t out of reach; it was the ability to choose Him, to choose a better life. He said if you choose me, you choose prosperity.
Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. – Deuteronomy 30:15
It’s pretty plain and simple.
Everyday, most of us choose to believe that we have no say in what happens to us. While some of that may be true, we do have a say in how we handle what happens. The world would have us believe there is no right or wrong choice for our life. Newsflash, there is. And we get to pick one or the other.
There’s no need to roll the dice. No Magic 8 Ball necessary. No tarot cards or horoscopes are needed. You pick.
God has given us the ability to choose. Right or wrong? Life or death? Heaven or Hell? It’s your pick. So what’s it going to be?
Do you ever think about how extreme and foolish the people who wanted Jesus crucified were? They seemed pretty bloodthirsty, and they didn’t seem to mind.
23 “Why?” Pilate demanded. “What crime has he committed?” But the mob roared even louder, “Crucify him!” 24 Pilate saw that he wasn’t getting anywhere and that a riot was developing. So he sent for a bowl of water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. The responsibility is yours!”
25 And all the people yelled back, “We will take responsibility for his death—we and our children!”
Wow, right? We want him dead. We want it to be our fault. And we want our children to be held responsible too. We want all the “credit” for this. But I think we all know the funny thing about credit. It’s really debt.
Which of them realized that their charge against Christ was the debt that He was on His way to pay for them? Do you?
I really want to approach the story of Christ’s crucifixion from a different perspective. I’ve been in prayer and asking God, that I not approach it as a story I’ve read many times, but as a part of my own biography. It may not be an event that I saw, but it was for me that He was there. It’s not just for the history books, it’s for my present and future.
The day that Christ was crucified is a pinnacle day in my own life story. Although it is a Bible story from many years ago, its purpose was and is for me. His crucifixion and resurrection are the events that make His life as a perfect sacrifice the final piece. Therefore, these events are what make my salvation the final piece.
To separate this story from my own personal biography would be in a sense, to separate salvation from my own narrative. And without salvation, without forgiveness, without God’s love, I am nothing.
Satan has a mission. It’s to make you feel as bad as he can, and to make sure you never see yourself as anything worthwhile. He wants you to believe a sinner can never be good enough. You’ve not smart enough, pretty enough, interesting enough, or pure enough. Whatever is enough, you aren’t it.
If he can get you to think impurely, he’s good with that. Because if you’re thoughts are impure, you probably are, and certainly too impure to work for God. And you must be bad, because if you weren’t, why would that thought come to mind? If you think like that, you won’t be thinking about God using you.
Matter of fact, if he can just get you to think enough shame, you’ll be too ashamed to act. If you can think you’re not good enough, then you’re never try to be better.
Mission: Think Bad is always in place. Mission: Think Bad Enough is Plan B. They are ongoing. As Joyce Meyer would say, it’s a battlefield of the mind. And if Satan can get you to feel like you’re losing there, he can get you to think you’re losing everywhere. In essence, if he can get you to think unworthily, you won’t try to do anything worthwhile.