There is a song that we used to sing as children about obedience:
Obedience is the very best way to show that you believe,
doing exactly what the lord commands And doing it faithfully
action is the key, do it immediately and joy you will receive
obedience is the very best way to show that you believe
so spell it o-b-e-d-I-e-n-c-e
Obedience is the very best way to show that your believe.
It sounds so simple, do what your told, when your told to do, and with the right heart attitude. Yet so many times as an adult I still get it wrong. Sunday I was standing outside at the gas station pumping gas. I kept looking at the “Call attendant” button and felt like I should push it and tell the attendant “God bless you and thank you for the work you do.” It wasn’t a big task, hard to do, or even like I was going to be met with a look of disapproval it was over a speaker. Yet I still argued with myself and hesitated. Eventually I pushed it, pretending it was an accident and said “Opps, I guess God bless you.” That was much more awkward than if I had just said what I felt led to say.
As I was driving home Monday I just kept thinking about obedience and how God calls us to obedience in all things. 1 Samuel 15:22 (NLT) But Samuel replied,
“What is more pleasing to the Lord:
your burnt offerings and sacrifices
or your obedience to his voice?
Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice,
and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.
I pretend to live a life of sacrifice, but God called me to live a life of obedience. I thought about the various people in the Bible and their first small step of obedience. Some their command was direct, others we see just lived out. But they had to take the first step in obedience before they could get to the big call on their life for which they are remembered.
Joseph was called to tend and work long before he saved a nation. Genesis 37:2 This is the account of Jacob and his family. When Joseph was seventeen years old, he often tended his father’s flocks. He worked for his half brothers, the sons of his father’s wives Bilhah and Zilpah. But Joseph reported to his father some of the bad things his brothers were doing.
David watched over his family sheep and goats long before he killed Goliath, led valiant armies, or became king of Israel. I Samuel 16:11Then Samuel asked, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse replied. “But he’s out in the fields watching the sheep and goats.”
Abraham was called to leave long before he became the father of many nations. He wasn’t even told where he was going, just to leave and he would be shown where he was going. Genesis 12:1 The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you.
Gideon was threshing wheat in hiding before he led an army and became a judge of Israel. Judges 6:11 Then the angel of the Lord came and sat beneath the great tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash of the clan of Abiezer. Gideon son of Joash was threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites.
Esther was growing up in exile, an orphaned child under the care of her cousin before she became the queen and saved her people. She hid who she really was from the king in obedience to her uncle. Esther 2:6-7 His family had been among those who, with King Jehoiachin of Judah, had been exiled from Jerusalem to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar. This man had a very beautiful and lovely young cousin, Hadassah, who was also called Esther. When her father and mother died, Mordecai adopted her into his family and raised her as his own daughter.
Esther 2:10 Esther had not told anyone of her nationality and family background, because Mordecai had directed her not to do so.
Ruth was traveling from her home with her mother-in-law and showed that she was determined long before she knew that God would use her in the line of the Messiah and the kings of Israel. Ruth 1:7
Ruth 1:18 When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she said nothing more.
Joseph suffered much at the hands of his brothers. David was not even brought to the table by his father when he was told to bring all the sons to Samuel. Gideon had written himself and his tribe off as being able to be used. Abraham had to leave his family. Esther was put in a harem. Ruth left her home and went to beg in the fields to provide for her mother-in-law before she found Boaz. What if just like Jesus, some of the things that we are suffering through are meant to teach us obedience so that we can get to our larger destiny?