God wants to give answers and blessing to His beloved children. He commands them to do what they can obey and when they obey in their deeds He manifests amazing works for them. For instance, God told the Israelites to go around the city of Jericho for seven days. Since the city couldn’t be destroyed by human power, God just commanded them to do what they could do and after seeing their obedience He Himself destroyed the city. Let’s delve into God’s blessing that follows such obedience.
- The kind of obedience God wants us to show
People often disobey although they are able to do it for themselves. And they just make this and that excuse. How then could they obey something that doesn’t agree with their knowledge or experience? The kind of obedience that God wants us to show is that we must not only do what we can do with our own strength, of course, but also with the faith in which we rely on God, we must do what we are not able to do. This is true obedience. When we obey with faith God reckons it as righteousness and gives us the blessing of obedience.
God shows signs and wonders through our deeds of obedience. It is when the Israelites obeyed the command of God that an amazing work took place and the strong city of Jericho collapsed. In order to destroy the city, the sons of Israel went around the city for seven day as God told them to do and shouted out loud. Actually, it is against common sense or human knowledge. But Joshua and the people believed God and obeyed Him. After seeing their obedience, God destroyed the city of Jericho.
When we obey the Words of God one by one, our faith increases and we come to be bold in faith. Even if something, which God tells us to do, seems unable to be obeyed, it is seen that way in the sight of men. But it is not something we can’t obey in the view of God. But people fail to obey because they set certain limit in what they can do based on their thoughts, experience, and mindset. People think that something most people deem impossible is just impossible. However, God the Creator has no bounds and there is nothing impossible for Him.
Jesus said in Mark 9:23, “‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” One fails to obey since he has little faith and doesn’t act due to such a little faith. So, if he breaks the limits on his thoughts, he is able to obey.
- Abraham, man of obedience
Since he believed God, Abram (later called Abraham) obeyed anything God told him to do without changing. What did Abram do when God told him ‘to go forth from his country, and from his relatives and from his father’s house, to the land which He will show him’? In Hebrews 11:8 it is said, “By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.” He didn’t know where he was going but he obeyed and left his country just as God said. By this obedience, Abram started to receive all the blessings promised by God.
When Abraham sent out his son Ishmael whom Hagar, a maid, bore to him, he followed God’s Word. Sarah saw Ishmael mocking her son Isaac. She asked Abraham to drive out Hagar and Ishmael. This matter distressed Abraham. But God told him not to be distressed but listen to Sarah, for He would make a nation through Ishmael. So Abraham obeyed Him. In the end, the providence of God was fulfilled through Isaac and a nation was also formed through Ishmael.
One day, God asked Abraham to do something that seemed so difficult for him to obey. He told him to take his son, whom he gained at the age of 100 through God’s promise, to the land of Moriah and offer him as a burnt offering (Genesis 22:1-2). If he had thought about it from man’s point of view, to give the son as a burnt offering, a son who was more precious than his own life, was something impossible to obey.
In fact, God said to Abraham, “For through Isaac your descendants shall be named” in Genesis 21:12. He also said, “I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings will come forth from you” in Genesis 17:6. God, who had given these promises, had told Abraham to offer his son as a burnt offering. Then, how could His promises be fulfilled? However, Abraham immediately obeyed God without giving any excuses. 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 wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him (Genesis 22:3).
How could Abraham obey the Word of God and act upon it quickly without the slightest bit of hesitation? It was because Abraham considered that God would be able to raise Isaac back from the dead (Hebrews 11:17-19). His faith was very firm on the fact that God would never command him anything that was not of goodness. Moreover, Abraham understood the goodness and love of God who gave such commands.
- Blessing from Obedience, Suffering from Disobedience
Since Abraham completely believed and obeyed God, he became the father of faith, the friend of God, and the fountain of blessing. The blessing Abraham received was too great to be described. Even the kings around his area knelt down before his authority. He was very rich in livestock, in silver and in gold. He had water while others around him suffered from the lack of water. He had many servants such that he saved Lot with 318 men of his own house when Lot was taken captive in Sodom. He also received blessings of children, good health, and longevity.
Furthermore, he maintained a close relationship with God so God explained to him the things that would happen (Genesis 18:17). By seeing the blessings given to Abraham, we can understand how very pleased God is with men of obedience and how much He blesses such people. However, some people say it is difficult to obey God’s Word. Why do they say it? This is because they act in their own thoughts and seeking their own benefits.
If we are ready to obey the Word of God, we do not follow our own advantage nor see the reality we are in. Instead we may just think, ‘What can I do to obey Him?’ and try to act upon it. Thus, we don’t follow our own ways of thinking, but break through beyond our limitations, which allows for us to finally experience amazing works of God. But using one’s own thoughts and seeing the reality naturally results in disobedience. What is the consequence? It causes constant tests, afflictions, and sufferings.
Cain, the son of Adam, knew he had to give a sacrifice with blood but he offered the fruit of the ground by his own thought. His brother Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. God had regard for Abel’s offering but He had no regard for Cain’s. Cain felt jealous of Abel and killed him. His disobedience resulted in murder and he ended up receiving a curse.
Let’s think about King Saul. It happened before the war with the Philistines. When Samuel didn’t come in the appointed time, Saul did something wrong. That is, Saul offered the burnt offering that only priests should have offered. It was to break God’s commandments, so Samuel rebuked the king, but Saul just gave excuses. In his own thinking, Saul even failed to realize that he disobeyed and exceeded his power.
Moreover, he spared the best of the things brought from the Amalekites although God told him to strike Amalek and utterly destroy all that he had. Samuel reproved the king, saying, “Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He has also rejected you from being king” (1 Samuel 15:22-23).
If you constantly disobey God’s Word as King Saul did, you cannot but reach destruction and meet with many kinds of trials and afflictions. However, if you obey God, amazing works will follow you. Such a work occurred to the widow in Zarephath (1 Kings 17). When Elijah told her to provide him with the last food she had for herself and her son, the widow obeyed him and gave him the food. As a result, until the drought ended her bowl of flour was not exhausted, nor did her jar of oil become empty. If she had used fleshly thought, she couldn’t have obeyed, but she believed the word of Elijah the servant of God and obeyed. By doing so, she could experience such an amazing work. It is in these ways that obedience leads to amazing works and blessings.