Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

obedience to God Archive



November 2022

Lessons from the life of Jonah, Part 2

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"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.



September 2020

Walking in Obedience

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"And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands." (2 John 1:6) | Read more about walking in obedience at hopereflected.com

“To have Faith in Christ means, of course, trying to do all that He says. There would be no sense in saying you trusted a person if you would not take his advice.”

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

How often do we get caught up in the lip service of Christianity, forgetting the fundamental importance of the actions of our faith. Our obedience to God is the biggest, truest expression of our love for God. “If ye love me, keep my commandments,” is what Jesus instructed us (John 14:15).

Why do we so often do the opposite, or delay in our obedience to God? We wait for a sign, we put Him off, and we neglect to realize that even delayed obedience is actually disobedience. “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey;” Paul asked the Romans in his epistle to them, “whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (6:16). We become the slaves of whatever we choose to obey. Perhaps we don’t even realize that we’re being disobedient when we choose greed, jealousy, hate, bitterness, selfishness, worry, doubt, fear. Don’t be deceived; these all make wicked masters.

Obedience requires a change in behaviour

We need to turn our bad behaviours around. When we find ourselves doubting how we’ll get through something, may we remember: God says He will make a way for us, and make no mistake about it, what God says, He will do. “Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:19). Nothing is impossible for Him!

When we’re being hasty, losing patience, and rushing, may we recall: God calls us to “rest in him and wait patiently for him,” (Psalm 37:7). His thoughts are above our thoughts, His ways are above our ways (Isaiah 55), and His timing is perfect. He is not trying to shortchange us, He is not going to let us miss out, rather God wants His best for us. “The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.” (Lamentations 3:25-26).

Walking in obedience requires perseverance

When we want to give up because it seems a better solution than going through, may we retain: God says that He will fight for us. “The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” (Exodus 14:14). He will not fail us; He will not forsake us (Deut. 31:6). He has promised that, “no weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn.” (Isaiah 54:17).

We can only walk in love when we’re walking in obedience. “And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.” (2 John 1:6).

Interested in learning more about walking in obedience? Check out these articles about obedience to God.

Originally published as “Walking in obedience.” Independent Plus. April 30, 2020: 5. Print. Web.



April 2020

Rahab: Obedience from an unlikely source

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"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.



April 2020

Noah: An Example in Obedience

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“Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.” (Genesis 6:22) | Noah: An Example in Obedience | hopereflected.com

One cannot walk with God unless they are walking in obedience

Noah. Abraham. Rahab. Moses. Joshua. David. What is one thing that all of these people have in common? While their lives were all incredibly different, the commonality between them was obedience: They were each obedient to the call of the Lord.    

Look at Noah, for example. When Noah lived, “the wickedness of man was great in the earth,” we read in Genesis 6:5, “and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” We think we’ve got it bad today! The Bible tells us that during Noah’s time, the earth was so filled with evil that the Lord felt bad that he had made man on the earth, and His heart was grieved. The Lord was so grieved that He decided to destroy man from the planet, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” (Gen. 6:8)

“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.”

Genesis 6:8

Why did Noah find grace in the eyes of the Lord? Well, we read in the next verse that Noah was a just man, blameless, and that He walked with God. One cannot walk with God unless they are walking in obedience, there’s just no other path. We can learn so much from Noah and his walk.

Noah didn’t hesitate

Consider this: Noah’s obedience to the Lord was immediate. When God said to Noah, “Make thee an ark,” (Gen. 6:14), Noah didn’t hesitate and say, “Lord, why do you want me to do that?” or “Are you sure you want me to do that? It’s not even raining.” No, Noah, didn’t hesitate. “Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.” (6:22) Noah didn’t question God’s instruction, he didn’t question God’s timing, and he didn’t question his ability to complete the task. American Pastor Steven Furtick says that, “great moves of God are usually preceded by simple acts of obedience.” While the task at hand for Noah certainly wasn’t simple, it was a step that preceded a great move of God.  

It’s also important to recognize that Noah’s obedience was not influenced by others. While it is important that we are prayerful in our decision-making, and that we heed wise counsel, when we are walking with God as Noah did, our obedience won’t be influenced by anyone who doesn’t have our best interest at heart. D.L. Moody once said that, “There will be no peace in any soul until it is willing to obey the voice of God.” It may seem difficult, especially when others question us, however when we are walking in obedience to God, He grants us peace.  

Noah’s obedience saved his life and the life of his family. They entered the ark before the flood started. We read in Genesis 7:10 that it was seven days after they entered the ark that the flood actually started. Sometimes doing the right thing doesn’t make sense. We may not understand the timing, we may not see any realistic reason in the moment, but that’s the beauty of obeying God. We don’t have to have all the answers, because He always does what is best for us.

You can read more about Biblical obedience here.

Originally published as “Noah: An Example in Obedience.” Independent Plus. February 13, 2020: 6. Print. Web.



April 2020

Obedience to God

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"And this is love, that we walk after his commandments." (2 John 6) | Read more about obedience to God at hopereflected.com

Do we have what it takes to live in obedience to God?

Reading through the book of second Kings in the Old Testament, which accounts for the history of the Northern and Southern kingdoms in Biblical times, it doesn’t go unnoticed how each account begins with either “…and he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD,” or “…and he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD.” How sobering to consider that the lives of so many men – kings, leaders of nations, who led exciting lives and experienced thrilling adventures – can be summed up with so few words.

Are we doing that which is right in the sight of the Lord? Each of us will someday have to give an account, and our obedience to God – or our blatant disobedience – will determine the outcome.

Obedience is not always easy

By nature, – our sin nature, – none of us are obedient. Obedience to God is not something that comes naturally to us. Obedience is certainly not always easy, and quite frankly it’s not always something that we want to do, is it? When distractions are abounding and we’re feeling pulled in different directions, sometimes it seems like the easiest thing to do is to give up, rather than to press on in obedience to Him. That’s our sin nature coming out.

“But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.”

Romans 6:17

Obedience must come from the heart, and as a result, obedience frees us from the bondage of sin. “Ye were the servants of sin,” wrote Paul. That’s past tense. When we make the decision to obey God and to follow after Him and His Word, we are freed from being servants of sin.

“Blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it,” Jesus told us in Luke 11:28. In our “modern” and “progressive” society, obedience to God and His Word is not easy, and it’s definitely not popular. If we are to truly let our light shine and do Kingdom work however, obedience to God must be the foundation. Sure, those chapters of second Kings may be a little dry and sometimes difficult to understand, but we cannot keep God’s Word if we aren’t reading it, and reading all of it. Part of our problem today is that we pick and choose the “pieces” of the Bible that work well for us or that are convenient, rather than taking it all in, even the hard parts.

Obedience takes courage

Charles Stanley once said it takes courage to be obedient. Do we have what it takes? Are we brave enough to follow in obedience to Christ, even when it means walking the path alone? American preacher Jonathan Edwards wrote that two of his resolutions were to “live for God”, and “If no one else does, I still will.” It was also Edwards who wrote that our love for God is demonstrated by our obedience to God.

“And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.”

2 John 6

Originally published as “Obedience to God.” Independent Plus. February 6, 2020: 6. Print. Web.