A few weeks ago, in my sermon, I talked about relying on God’s strength and it’s importance. God want us to rely on him. Then last week I was reading the lectionary reading for the week and the old testament reading was on God calling Abram and Abram’s obedience.
The Call of Abram
1The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people
and your father’s household to the land I will show you. 2“I will make
you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing. 3I will bless those who bless you, and
whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed
through you.” 4So Abram went, as the LORD had told him; and Lot
went with him.
Zondervan (2011-01-09). Holy Bible (NIV) (Kindle Locations 2362-2372).
Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
Can you imagine how hard it was for him to leave everything? To leave his people and father’s household? To go to a land he didn’t know? To follow God’s call? To trust God’s promises? I can’t imagine it. I’d be terrified!
In my disciple class we read the book of Acts a couple of weeks ago. We read about Paul. At one point, Paul had a plan of where he thought they should go next but then he had a dream or vision and God told him not go that way. So he didn’t. Paul was obedient.
Obedience is hard sometimes. When someone tells us to eat ice cream or mac and cheese... well that’s easy to be obedient! Two of my favorite things!! But when God says, “Sherri, I want you to take classes for Lay Servant Ministries and then for Lay Speaker and then preach what I call you to preach,” well, that’s a little harder for me.
My husband was military and I remember at the 10 year mark it was decision time. I didn’t want him to join the army in the first place and so I didn’t want him to stay in either. As we were discussing it and our options, I told my husband - who wanted to stay in - that the only way I would be okay with it was if he got orders for Ft. Huachuca, AZ, but he couldn’t request it. The odds were in my favor! Or so I thought...
A week or two later, wouldn’t you know it, he received those very orders. He didn’t request them, they just came. Boy Howdy did I learn a lesson! A lesson in obedience and listening for God’s guidance. A lesson to trust God.
Saul’s conversion (when he becomes Paul) is yet another example. He’s out killing and imprisoning Christians. Then Jesus visited him and he is blinded by the light. Jesus told him where to go and wait and what would happen and he obeyed.
There is another person in this story, a disciple named Ananis. He had a vision and the Lord told him to go to Saul and return his sight to him.
Ananis says, “Whoa! Wait a minute! This is a bad guy! He’s persecuting your disciples. Are you SURE about this?” Then God answers “Yes. He is who I have chosen to go share my name with the world.”
So Ananis goes to Saul. Now I wonder, Ananis was probably a little nervous to go to this man who is known for persecuting Jesus’ followers, but he trusted the Lord and obeyed. On the other hand, can you imagine how Saul must have felt? Being placed in the hands of one he was planning on persecuting? I bet he was nervous too... Maybe a little afraid of retaliation. Ananis was told Saul was praying. I wonder if his fears were expressed in these prayers? But he trusted and obeyed.
Anyway, Ananis laid hands on Saul and the scales fell from his eyes and his sight was restored and he was baptized.
Both Ananis and Saul or Paul now showed great obedience and trust. What great examples of following the Lord’s direction. We all need to learn obedience. It’s not always easy and many times it’s pretty scary but when we follow God’s calling, his leading, when we obey what the Lord tells us to do and trust him, well, we just can’t go wrong.