Page 276 was a Sunday and it was the first Sunday of the month so I was up early and headed north to preach at the North Wayne Mennonite Church near Dowagiac, Michigan. I’ve been working on a character study series focused on living as the Lord’s servant and today I began with OBEY Like Abraham. The writer of Hebrews tells us that when Abraham was called by God to go to a land that would become his inheritance, Abraham obeyed God and went, not knowing where God was taking him. As we looked at the life of Abraham, I addressed four characteristics that need to be present in our lives as servants of the Lord in order for us to be able to OBEY Like Abraham.
The first thing we need to do is learn to Observe like Abraham. Throughout Abraham’s life we find him paying attention to the messages, and messengers, that God sends his way. Abraham’s life provides a great contrast between doing things out of his own wisdom and doing things according to God’s direction. When Abraham would take the time to wait and watch for God’s direction, the results would always show the hand of God at work in his life. When Abraham was called by God to offer his son Isaac, his response to all who would ask why they would go worship God without a sacrifice is that God will provide. And when God stopped Abraham from sacrificing his son on the altar, Abraham didn’t simply breathe a sigh of relief and walk off. No, he took the time to observe a ram caught in the brush nearby and used it in worship as the sacrifice God provided. How often do we miss obeying the word of God simply because we’ve not spent consistent time observing God’s Word with the intent of obedience.
The second point of the message was that we need to Believe like Abraham. James tells us that Abraham’s believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. It is unlikely we will make a serious attempt to obey someone we don’t believe. The story of Abraham is filled with people that walked in close proximity to him yet chose not to believe or follow God. I find it interesting that Abraham was not the first of his family to begin a journey to the land of Canaan. Scripture doesn’t tell us why Abraham’s father left the land of Ur to begin a journey to Canaan and it doesn’t tell us why he stopped short and never finished that journey. It does make me wonder if Terah had been called by God to inherit Canaan and simply gave up for one reason or another. While that is unknown, what is known is that Abraham learned to not only believe God, but to trust Him. When we believe God, we find that obeying Him just comes naturally.
Not only do we need to Observe like Abraham and Believe like Abraham, we also need to Enlist like Abraham. Far too often, we begin to think we have life figured out well enough that we can do it on our own. We see that in Abraham’s life. There were times when he would come up with solutions to his problems on his own — those were the times that didn’t turn out too well. And then there are the times when he would enlist the help of God in his efforts to obey the message of God. It is with God’s help that he became the father of God’s chosen people. God’s desire is that we would call out to Him and enlist His help to accomplish everything He has called us to do. When we realize that complete obedience to God is a larger task than we can accomplish on our own, we find ourselves in a position to enlist the help of God and excel in obedience.
The final point of the message is probably the one most identified with obeying, Yield. The sooner we learn to yield to God in all things, the sooner we find ourselves living in a greater obedience to God. Before we beat ourselves up too quickly for not always yielding to God as our first course of action, we would do well to understand while that is best it is not always the course we take nor always the course Abraham took. There are times when Abraham understood the message God had given him yet tried to accomplish God’s plan on his own. We know of those because his failure to yield to God’s timing and direction resulted in serious problems. We also understand the consequences of failing to yield because we have chosen to do things our own way in our own time far too often.
After the church service, we made our way home with stops for lunch and a search for a stuffed panda that Susan had her mind set on. We managed to find both and made Susan’s day in the process. After some time at home relaxing, we headed out to take a family hike at Potato Creek. Today’s photo was taken during our walk and is a great reminder of the beauty of God’s creation. Not only is the scene of nature beautiful, but the fishing pier appeared to contain a family that came out to fish together. I value the time I can spend with my family doing the things we enjoy and it is always good to see other families spending time together in the great outdoors.
I pray that you and I would desire to obey God at all times. I pray that we would pay attention to God’s Word as we observe His call to us in doing the things that lift up the name of Jesus. I pray that we would believe God’s ability to accomplish all that He calls us to do in obedience to Him. I pray that we would enlist His help as we realize His kingdom plans are greater than what we can do on our own. I pray that we would fully yield to God in everything. I pray that we would continue to value one another and the families that God has given us.