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Do You Obey God On Time?

Consider the phrase “selfsame day” as it is used in the following verses,

“And he left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham. And Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all that were born in his house, and all that were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s house; and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the selfsame day, as God had said unto him. And Abraham was ninety years old and nine, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.”

Genesis 17:22-24

God says,

“And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan.”

Genesis 14:14

Abraham believed God and circumcised himself and at least 318 men plus all the male children in his household that self same day. If you stop and really think about what God asked Abraham to do and add to that the fact that he obeyed God on time, one marvels at his faith and actions. Doing the hard things in God, when He said to do it, is what made Abraham worthy to be called the father of our faith.  Abraham’s example demonstrates that faith demands action.

In the book of James, we learn…

“Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone”

James 2:17

Here is a true saying:

“It is not the words you say but the actions you take which determine whether or not you believe”

Abraham not only believed God but acted upon his belief without hesitation.  Even when God asked him to sacrifice Isaac he “rose up early” to do God’s will.

“So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.”

Genesis 22:3

Trust and obey God on time

Many of us would have “tarried” all day hoping that God would give us another way to obey Him. We learn from Abraham’s example that a hallmark of truly believing God is total and immediate obedience.

Furthermore, almost doing what God instructs you to do is not obedience. For instance, God sent a prophet to reprove the King of Samaria for his idolatry. Prophesying against King Jehoshaphat’s sinfulness, the power of God broke the stone altar in two demonstrating Jehovah’s displeasure. Moreover, the Spirit of God was so strong upon this prophet that when the king tried to put forth his hand to hinder his mission Jehoshaphat’s arm instantly withered!

God is very specific

As it is written in the book of 1 Kings God gave this prophet very specific instructions,

“And the king said unto the man of God, Come home with me, and refresh thyself, and I will give thee a reward. And the man of God said unto the king, If thou wilt give me half thine house, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place: For so was it charged me by the word of the LORD, saying, Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest.”

1 Kings 13:7-9

Disobedience can be costly

However, later we see that this same prophet disobeys God’s instruction and stops and eats bread by the way that he came.  He breaks bread at an old prophet’s house and during the meal God rebukes him,

“And it came to pass, as they sat at the table, that the word of the LORD came unto the prophet that brought him back: And he cried unto the man of God that came from Judah, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Forasmuch as thou hast disobeyed the mouth of the LORD, and hast not kept the commandment which the LORD thy God commanded thee, But camest back, and hast eaten bread and drunk water in the place, of the which the Lord did say to thee, Eat no bread, and drink no water; thy carcase shall not come unto the sepulchre of thy fathers.

Kings 13:20-22

The consequences of disobedience,

“And, behold, men passed by, and saw the carcase cast in the way, and the lion standing by the carcase: and they came and told it in the city where the old prophet dwelt. And when the prophet that brought him back from the way heard thereof, he said, It is the man of God, who was disobedient unto the word of the LORD: therefore the LORD hath delivered him unto the lion, which hath torn him, and slain him, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake unto him.”

1 Kings 13:25-27

Sadly, the same prophet who came in the power of God to reprove the king now lay dead under the feet of a lion. Those who are called to wield great spiritual power must accept that they will be held accountable to a greater degree than those who are less gifted.

We must continue in God

Sometimes people fall into the trap of believing that because God has used them powerfully in the past that they can become sloppy in the present. Many men and women of God fall into this ditch when they begin to let the obedience that brought them past glories gather dust.  They feel that because they can still preach, still prophesize, and still heal the sick, they are in good standing with God. 

Unfortunately, they forget that the gifts and callings of God are without repentance, so while the gift they were given still operates, they may be drifting away from God.  The anointing is not for us but for those to whom we minister.  As long as those around us still desire God He will flow through us because of our gifting…even while we may be backsliding and losing our salvation. This is sobering thought and those with the greatest gifts among us must take this truth to heart.

When we were children

When we are young Christians God gives us grace.   Young children constantly disobey and do things that are not pleasing to their parents.  Like a loving Father,  God gently corrects our disobedience with patience.  However, as we grow into young men and women He expects more of us and we must obey His voice without hesitation. Abraham is an example of a mature man of God who obeys immediately,  even when God’s commandments are difficult.

God does not speak without purpose

I meet people whom God has spoken plainly to years ago, yet are still not ready to obey.  Why is this so?  Does God speak without purpose?  Was God unaware of their circumstances when He called?  Or did God miscalculate the costs involved if they simply obeyed Him? Perhaps God was not aware that they had commitments to family, community, career, or schooling.  Surely when God said “go now” it couldn’t possibly mean “right away” could it? 

Did God really think this through?  Does not He realize that if they obey they might lose good standing among friends and family? We sometimes deceive ourselves into believing that, due to circumstances beyond our control, we cannot possibly obey God’s voice in the manner and timing He desires. We, in effect, lay our cross down and go off about our own business while the work of God languishes.

If you bluff God, He may call it

Many talk about faith and how sold out to God they are, that sometimes, they begin to believe their own lies without ever considering that God might call them to make good on their boastings. It is a kindness of God to show us what we truly are so we do not continue on in our own self-deception. A man might pray for food yet God answers him by giving him a job.  In our ignorance we may desire a quick fix but in His wisdom, He may give us a lasting answer.  Allow God to answer our petitions in the way He chooses and not in the way we demand.

Jesus says,

And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Luke 9:59-62

It is the last we ever hear of this man in the scriptures. Perhaps he would have done mighty things for God if he would have obeyed “the selfsame day”.

Jesus also says,

“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.”

Luke 14:26,27

Today, as you are reading, ask yourself these questions:  Am I too busy to listen to the voice of God? Do my wants and desires take precedence over His will?  Is my home, husband, children and my own life more important than following Him?  If you said yes to any of these you cannot be counted among Christ’s disciples. The truth is, you are master of your life instead of Jesus.  If you cannot be counted among His disciples today you must cry unto Him. Be like this man, “And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”

Mark 9:24

The selfsame day

In conclusion, perhaps you feel the cost of discipleship is unreasonable and impossible to pay.  The cross we are each given to carry is unique and suited just for us.  Jesus already carried His and we need not repeat it.  However, in each of our lives, we must deny ourselves and let His will, not our own, be done.  Ask God to help you act the selfsame day. Listen, hear, and obey God on time, it is as simple as that.

The Bible PREVIEW – The Sacrifice Of Isaac