January 19, 2018

Obedience and the Will of God

George Stiekes

And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him. (Genesis 22:3)

God had told Abraham to sacrifice his promised son, Isaac. We might imagine that it would have been a very emotional experience for Abraham. It is possible that Abraham knew all along that if Isaac was slain that God would raise him back up again (Hebrews 11:19).

Point: Abraham obeyed immediately. Indeed, God did provide an animal sacrifice, but there is a very important principle regarding the will of God. It is the fact that Abraham was close enough to God to recognized His nature. He told Isaac that they were going to worship God (Genesis 22:5). In the matter of doing God’s will, it boils down to whether or not you really trust God which comes naturally when you choose to be close to Him (John 14:21; James 4:8). If we are to obey God’s will, we must be ready to sacrifice our own will and that is not going to happen when we only maintain a mediocre relationship with the Lord. How close is your relationship with our Lord?

A mother told her daughter that it was time to go to bed. After repeating herself three more times in a span of about thirty minutes, this mother came into the room and said, "Didn’t I tell you to go to bed?" The daughter replied, "Oh, I didn’t hear you!" Two hours later, the girl’s father came home and wanted to relax. He put some ice in a glass and began to pour himself a glass of Sprite. Immediately the daughter came down the stairs shouting, "I want some Sprite! If we are honest, we tend to hear what we want to hear and tune out what we do not want to hear.

Jesus said, My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me (John 10:27). Those who truly want to know the will of God for their lives will hear the voice of the Lord and will follow.

There is a warning passage that begins in Hebrews 3:7 in which the author looks back to Israel’s failure in the wilderness. Three times (3:7-8, 15; 4:7), the author uses Psalm 95:7-11 to make his case. While it is said, Today if ye will HEAR His voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation (Hebrews 3:15). Israel’s sin was that of complaining, griping, and rebelling at God’s will as revealed through His servant Moses. Notice in verse 16 that THEY HEARD the good report brought back by two faithful spies and they rejected it. Caleb told the people, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it (Numbers 13:20). God brought them to that place and the people turned from His will.

Christians can harden their hearts toward God’s perfect will by complaining, griping, and rebelling at God’s clearly revealed Word and despising His works. It is very sad, but there are Christians who think they can get away with sin without realizing that their attitude and behavior is hardening their hearts and robbing them of God’s blessing and direction in their lives. When this continues over a long period of time, a believer can really mess up his life and his home. Some, without realizing it, will outwardly manifesting whether or not they were actually a Christian (I John 2:19).

Hebrews 11:6 reminds us that without faith it is impossible to please God. It is His will that we trust Him which involves our following His direction. Over the years, I have heard some believers complain that they could not find God’s will for their lives. WARNING: If you are not willing to follow God’s will as revealed in God’s Word, the Spirit of God is not going to entrust you with more of God’s will for your life.

Do you listen for the voice of the Shepherd? Do you seek to hear Him speak through His Word? If we have a Word from God, it would be very foolish to disregard it. I have thought of God’s will much like climbing a staircase. If you fail to hear and do God’s will at step one, you will never get to step two. However, it is in hearing and doing God’s will that you will advance to the next level in your spiritual life leaving the door open for the continuation of steps that will result in great blessing. Are you truly following the Shepherd of your soul?

George Stiekes held successful pastorates in churches in Michigan and Washington among other places. He currently resides in North Carolina and blogs at Reverent Reflections. We recommend his ministry and republish his material by permission.

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