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As We Obey

     Two months ago, I sat at my kitchen table and wrote out a prayer to God in my journal.  I had felt the heavy nudging of the Holy Spirit to quit my job--that I was doing too much and needed to drop that in order to focus more attention on family and ministry.  So, I prayed, “Lord, I need You to replace this income so that I can stop working.”

     As We Obey - My Friend DebbieIt seemed like a fair enough prayer.  We don’t live an extravagant life.  We don’t have texting plans on our cell phones or more cable channels than anyone could ever watch.  We drive used cars until they die, don’t go on vacation, live in a small house, and shop at Wal-Mart.  My income has never been for luxury or greed and so it seemed reasonable to submit my need to God and ask for His help.

     But, God doesn’t always stick to what we think is “reasonable” or “rational.”

     Over the weeks surrounding that time, God had been teaching me about obedience and asked me to step out in faith over many issues.  Everything I read seemed to be about obeying God in faith and letting God worry about the outcome.  I even wrote about it myself in my devotional blog.

     I had written about Luke 11:11-17 when Jesus healed ten lepers.   The men were outcasts of society, who cried out to Him to “have pity on us!”  It says, “When he saw them, he said, ‘Go, show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were cleansed” (NIV).

     The Bible says, “As they went, they were cleansed.”

     Sometimes God tells us to obey even before we’ve seen the provision or the healing.  As you obey God’s call to give, He will provide.  As you obey His call to minister, He will equip you.  As you obey His call to go, He will direct your path.

     The blessing is in the going and in the obedience. 

     Two weeks after I had prayed to God about wanting to quit my job, my husband called on his way home from work and asked me over the phone if I would stop working.  “Just pray about it,” he said.  I told him I had already prayed about it.  It was all written out in my prayer journal and I had already told God that I would obey once He provided financially.  To which my husband very gently reminded me that I had just written these words that very day in my devotional blog: “As I’ve meditated on obedience, I’ve realized that healing, deliverance, blessing, and provision come as we obey—not before we obey.”

     Oh, yeah, I remember writing that.

     Then I told God that obeying is fine, but this step of obedience didn’t really make sense to me because it doesn’t quite fit my plan and doesn’t fully work out on paper.

     To which God once again reminded me of the Israelites and their journey out of Egypt.

     The Israelites had a plan when they left Egypt.  They marched out of captivity in battle formation because they expected God to take them via the quickest route between The Land of Goshen in Egypt to Canaan.  Along that route, lived the battle-ready Philistines.  So, the Israelites envisioned a few quick fights, about a month-long hike and voila—Promised Land!

     Yet, Scripture says:

When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle.  (Exodus 13:17-18, NIV).

     Not only did God take them the long way around, He took them to Horeb where they received the Ten Commandments and Horeb is about as far from the Promised Land as you could get.  Taking this route surely didn’t make sense to the Israelietes, but God did this for their blessing and benefit.  He knew that if they faced war, they would quickly give up and head back to slavery.  What looked like a total failure of God’s GPS system ultimately determined the success of their journey.

     So, based on all that God was teaching me and all that I was reading in the Bible, based on conversations and prayers with my husband, I sent in my resignation letter with my two weeks’ notice.  The very next day my husband had his performance review at work---something that had been delayed and put off for two months---and he received a raise that took effect the very week I went without my first paycheck. 

     God is faithful, my friends.  All He asks us to do is obey in faith, even when we can’t see, even when the provision hasn’t come yet, even when it doesn’t make sense to our finite minds and doesn’t work out on paper.  If He has confirmed it through His Word and Holy Spirit, we can obey Him.  Our responsibility is to do what He says.  He will take care of the rest.

Copyright © 2008-2015 Heather King

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