Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

Biblical obedience Archive

Monday

14

November 2022

Lessons from the life of Jonah, Part 2

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

"The life of Jonah cannot be written without God; take God out of the prophet's history, and there is no history to write. This is equally true of each one of us." (Charles Spurgeon) | Read more at hopereflected.com

We can’t get away with directly disobeying God

We are disillusioned if we think we can get away with directly disobeying God. Jonah learned this the hard way. He went to great lengths to avoid the task that God had laid out for him, and as a result endured unnecessary challenges and hardships. God had to bring Jonah into the depths of the fish’s belly and the deep sea to bring Jonah to repentance.

God is judge and God is just

God may grant power to some for a season, but ultimately, God is judge and God is just. He will only allow the wicked to prosper for so long. When we look at the world around us and how evil seems to be prospering, it is easy to ask “How long shall the wicked triumph?” (Psalm 94:3). Rest assured that we are not the first generation to ask this very question! Look through the Bible and see that this question has been asked almost since the beginning of time.

Our focus shouldn’t be on what the wicked are up to. This is difficult to remember, especially when the way of the wicked seems to dominate the headlines. We need to keep our eyes on the One who is the ultimate Judge. The workers of iniquity “shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb” (Psalm 37:2). Our Lord loves justice (Psalm 37:28), and He will judge the unrighteous (2 Peter 2:9).

Listening to God is always the best option

In the meantime, it’s our responsibility to respond to God’s call. Listening to God is always the best option. When we directly disobey God in an attempt to thwart His plans because He wants us to do something we don’t want to do, it won’t turn out well for us.

God’s call to us

God calls us to fret not because of evildoers. He calls us to not be envious of how well they appear to be doing (Psalm 37:1, 7). We are to trust Him and keep doing good (Psalm 37:3). We are to delight ourselves in the Lord (Psalm 37:4), and commit our way to Him (Psalm 37:5). While the world around us is rushing and working, we are to rest in the Lord and wait patiently for him (Psalm 37:7). This does not mean that we sit by and do nothing. Quite the opposite, actually. We cannot wait on God without actively serving Him. And we cannot actively serve Him if we’re busy focusing on what others are up to.

“The life of Jonah cannot be written without God;
take God out of the prophet’s history, and there is no history to write.
This is equally true of each one of us.”

Charles Spurgeon

Jonah fought to flee the presence of God, but in the end he did acknowledge God. Jonah wavered in his faith, but God used circumstances and storms to grow his faith. Spurgeon wrote that “The life of Jonah cannot be written without God; take God out of the prophet’s history, and there is no history to write. This is equally true of each one of us.” No matter how low we sink, or how desperate we are to avoid doing what God has set out for us to do, God remains in control. Whether we make it easier or harder for ourselves is up to us.

Originally published as “Lessons from the life of Jonah, Part 2.” Independent Plus. March 24, 2022: 5. Print. Web.

Wednesday

5

January 2022

Accused or excused?

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Our obedience to God’s Word determines the outcome.

"My conscience is captive to the Word of God." (Martin Luther) Read more of "Accused or excused?" on hopereflected.com

Our inner compass

To accuse is to place blame, and to excuse is to forgive or pardon. Our conscience is our inner compass to help us recognize right from wrong, to help us understand where blame ought to be placed, and where pardon should be granted. Our conscience is not our judge; it acts more as a witness. As Paul wrote in Romans about the following of the Law between the Jews and the Gentiles, “… their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;” (2:15). C.S. Lewis wrote in his book The Problem of Pain that God speaks to us through our conscience. For Christians, this should be true, but so often today we run into people making decisions guided by their “conscience” whose internal value system is not based off the Bible. Unless we let God through His Word lead our conscience, we are in great danger of buying into distorted views and making poor decisions.

Where do our convictions come from?

Martin Luther said, “My conscience is captive to the Word of God.” Unfortunately, this isn’t always true for us. We frequently hear even prominent “Christians” claim that they agree with everything in the Bible, except the parts where God lists ____ [fill in the blank here] as a sin.

It should be a red flag when we hear Christians claim that they agree with every thing in the Bible, except the parts where God lists ___ [fill in the blank here] as sin. Read more of "Accused or excused?" on hopereflected.com

Where do these convictions come from if not from the Word of God? R.C. Sproul said that, “acting according to conscience may sometimes be sin as well. If the conscience is misinformed, then we seek the reasons for this misinformation. Is it misinformed because the person has been negligent in studying the Word of God?” Most likely, especially in cases where Christians take on viewpoints that completely contradict Scripture. We cannot pick and pull parts of God’s Word to work for our convenience.

God’s Word is the final authority

“But the word of the Lord endureth for ever.” (1 Peter 1:25). God’s Word was not only the final authority thousands of years ago, or just for a short time, or only before we “progressed” as a society, God’s Word endures forever and is always the final authority. When we believe this, we should be prepared to come into opposition. When people don’t want to be accountable, when they know the right way but they prefer to follow their own path and pleasures, they don’t just shy away from the truth, they outright oppose it and accuse others of being wrong.

“What the Bible calls wrong, the world calls right; what the Bible calls sin, the world calls virtue.”

Hope Reflected
God's Word always has been and always will be the final authority. Read more of "Accused or excused?" on hopereflected.com

What the Bible calls wrong the world calls right; what the Bible calls sin the world calls virtue. With misinformation and conflicting messages abounding, it can be hard to discern what’s really right from what’s really wrong. We need to bring it back to Biblical basics. “let God be true, but every man is a liar;” (Romans 3:4). Paul called out Jew and Gentile alike who were making themselves judge and jury, who were accusing or excusing behaviours amongst themselves.

There is only one judge, and He is God. What the Bible says is what ultimately goes, even if we don’t like the case. Our obedience to God’s Word will be the determining factor of whether we stand accused or excused.

Originally published as “Accused or excused?” Independent Plus. August 5, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

Monday

27

April 2020

Rahab: Obedience from an unlikely source

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

"For the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath." (Joshua 2:11) | Rahab: Obedience from an unlikely source | Read more on hopereflected.com

Thankfully, God has a history of using unlikely people for His glory

We all have the opportunity to come to God, and He will never overlook a genuine heart.

Rahab is one such example. A prostitute by profession, Rahab seemed an unlikely person to help the Israelites; after all, she was a Canaanite, one of their mortal enemies. And yet, we read in the first chapter of Matthew that Rahab is part of our Lord’s genealogy! No matter who we are, or where we are at, God can use us.

“for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.”

Joshua 2:11

By being obedient to the Lord, Rahab took a great risk. In Joshua 2, when Joshua sent messengers into Jericho to spy, they lodged at Rahab’s house (2:1). The king of Jericho heard about this, and questioned Rahab, who in turn lied to protect the spies. Rahab took a great risk in harbouring the spies and protecting them. Why take the risk? We find out later in the chapter that Rahab, even though she was a Canaanite, believed in God. “for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.” (v.11) Because she believed in God, Rahab wanted to be obedient, even though it meant taking a great risk. Oswald Chambers once said that “you should let the consequences of your obedience be left up to God.” Obedience to God often requires great risk.

The rewards of obedience must be waited for

Rahab was willing to risk everything by her obedience to God, and because of it, she received a great reward. Rahab asked the spies to show her and her family kindness by saving them before the Israelites took the city of Jericho. She wasn’t afraid to take a risk for obedience, and she wasn’t afraid to ask for what she believed was right. The result? Rahab and her family were saved during the destruction of Jericho. “And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father’s household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.” (6:25) After being rescued out of Jericho, Rahab and her family went to live with the Israelites, and as a result, Rahab can be found in Christ’s family tree.

The rewards of obedience must be waited for, but there is great reward when we are obedient to the Lord. We also learn from Rahab’s example of obedience that she did the right thing. Especially when the world around us seems to going the opposite direction, it can make us question whether what we’re doing or how we’re living is truly right. Rahab, despite the influences around her, knew of the Lord’s faithfulness to the Israelites, and she believed in Him. Her faith was so great that Rahab is included in the “Faith Hall of Fame”, Hebrews 13. Rahab demonstrated obedience by not allowing the people around her to influence her beliefs. Obedience to God may mean persecution from people, but ultimately, there is blessing in obedience. “Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.” (Luke 11:28)

You can read more about Biblical obedience here.

Originally published as “Rahab: Obedience from an unlikely source.” Independent Plus. February 21, 2020: 6. Print. Web.