Obedience is a road that we must all travel because noncompliance of rules leads to consequences. If we do not obey the law, we go to jail, get fined or have our driver’s license taken away. If we do not obey our boss, we lose our employment and our means of living. If we disobey parents, we lose privileges and trust. Obedience is critical to success in the physical spaces we occupy as well as our spiritual places.
No one showcases that better to us than Abraham. The patriarch of the Jewish nation had the choice of obedience multiple times over the course of his life. When he was 75 years old, God told him, “Go from your country…” (Genesis 12:1). We are simply told that Abraham packed up and left and it led to Abraham being a meandering nomad for the rest of his life. Just imagine wandering around desert areas of the Middle East living in tents for the last 55 years of your life.
You think this one test of obedience would be enough but after God came through on his 25-year old promise to give Abraham an heir to his estate when he was 100 years old and Sarah, his wife, was 90, God had another test of obedience for him. For when his heir was born and weaned and was old enough to talk and to reason, God said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering…” (Genesis 22:2). God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son. And his willingness, even though God stopped him from ultimately taking his son’s life, resulted in blessings from God. “By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” (Genesis 22:16-18).
Abraham’s obedience to God, even though these ideas were not his, even though he had plenty of reasons to say, “No,” is a tenant of our faith we need to take seriously. Are we a people who say, “Yes” when God asks us to do something? We should be. As we enter the last two months of 2018 we are going to have opportunities to listen to what others in the community are doing and how we can serve our neighbors. Guest speakers will join us to share opportunities we can take to obey God’s command to love our neighbors as ourselves. I ask God to use these speakers to move in us and to show us what we as individuals and we as a church can do to further His kingdom on this earth and to be obedient to His call on our lives. Let us prayerfully consider the ways in which God is asking us to reach out to our neighbors and let us be obedient to Him. Like Abraham let us also say, “Yes” to God and let us receive our inheritance into the Kingdom of God.