DAY 4: OBEDIENCE IS STRENGTH
In yesterday’s reading, we spoke about sharing God’s powerful imagination. And for me, imagining God’s power showing up in spectacular ways is easy. In fact, I even enjoy telling God my suggestions on how to do it! But following his instructions is often where the weakness kicks in again.
King Amaziah did not have an issue with firing the hired Israeli troops as the prophet told him to do. (2 Chronicles 25). The promise of even more money than he paid the soldiers was an attractive incentive (v. 9). But walking into a war with an army that has a slight underdog flavor is a different story. We do not know how many sleepless nights Amaziah endured before he managed to attack, but eventually, he obeyed. “Then Amaziah summoned his courage and led his army to the Valley of Salt, where they killed 10000 Edomite troops for Seir” (v. 11, NLT). Once again Amaziah’s weakness was turned around by God’s power. Obedience saved the day.
I love quotes like this one by Steven Furtick: “Great moves of God are usually preceded by simple acts of obedience”. I think of all the ways that I obey God every day, for example smiling lovingly with clenched teeth at my teenage son’s eye roll. And I wait with anticipation for God’s great moves to follow my obedience. But what if the acts of obedience that precede great moves must have the essential ingredient of weakness?
You see, if there is no weakness in the mix, we will undoubtedly take credit for the spectacular outcome of our obedience. Paul understood this flaw of human nature. “If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message” (2 Corinthians 12:6, NLT). Obedience that brings God the greatest glory happens with weak, shaky knees.
Is God telling you something that you are too scared to obey? Do you think that your weak, trembling knees may be the tools God is going to use for displaying his power?
Let us not measure obedience by our own standards. Let us allow God to rescue us when we feel too weak to obey. When we are weak, we are strong in Him. “But when Peter saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. ‘Save me, Lord!’ he shouted. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. ‘You have so little faith,’ Jesus said. ‘Why did you doubt me?’” (Matthew 14:30-31, NLT).
2 Chronicles 25:9
2 Corinthians 12:5-7