When you were growing up did you ever get the lecture from your parents about obedience? When my parents asked me to do something, I was expected to respectfully say “yes, sir” or “yes, ma’am with no “ifs ands or buts” and hop right to it with the right heart/attitude. Of course, this did not always happen but I learned!
Recently I was redirected to a story in Exodus 3-4 that really caught my attention. Check it out for yourself. In these chapters, Moses has an encounter with GOD! This takes place well after Moses fled Egypt, got married, and had a son. During this time the Israelites were still enslaved by the Egyptians. In chapter 2 verses 24-25 Scripture says, “God heard their groaning and He remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. So God looked and the Israelites and was concerned about them.” (NIV)
Now the story picks up. Moses was out tending his father-in-law’s flock when he sees a burning bush that is not consumed by the flames. Here is where Moses has a direct encounter with the Almighty God. In short, God tells Moses that He wants him to go to Pharaoh and ask to free the Israelites from slavery…a very brave task!
How does Moses respond? If it were you, how would you respond? I would like to think I would give an automatic “yes, Sir!” especially considering the fact that this is God here directly asking me to do something. But I’m afraid my response might be a little more like Moses’ sometimes.
In the very presence of God, Moses’ instant response is full of excuses. Automatically he is overcome by his insecurities. “But God, who am I to stand before Pharaoh? But God, who do I say that You are? But God, what if they don’t believe me or listen? But God, I’m not an eloquent speaker…” No less than five times does Moses give God a different excuse. This is a testimony of our humanness even in the presence of God.
But for every excuse Moses gave God, God gave Him a solution and each time it required an action on Moses’ part before the miracle would take place. God told Moses “throw the staff on the ground,” “reach your arm into your cloak,” and “take water from the Nile and pour it on the ground.” Moses also had to act before the miracle would be reversed. He had to pick the snake up by the tail (I’m no snake tamer but I do know that it is not normal to pick a snake up that way or it will bite you!), and put his hand back in the cloak for it to be restored. Only when Moses acted and responded in faith to God’s direction did any miracle take place.
Remember when God parted the Red Sea to allow the Israelites to escape from the Egyptians? Before the waters parted, Moses had to obey God’s direction first by raising his staff and stretching out his hand over the sea (Exodus 14).
Now think about all the miracles in the New Testament that Jesus performed. The first miracle Jesus performed is when He turned water into wine (John 2:1-11). The servants had to obey Jesus’ direction and go fill the jars with water, then draw some out and physically give it to the master of the banquet. In John 5 Jesus heals the lame man, but first the lame man had to pick up his mat and walk. The blind man in John 9 was given his sight back only after he went to wash off the mud that Jesus placed on his eyes in the pool of Siloam. Other times people were healed when they physically came and cried out to Jesus to heal them (See Luke 8 and18). Each of those times Jesus told them it was their faith that healed them. Almost every single miracle that is recorded in Scripture that Jesus performed required action on the part of the receiver. And that action was the fruit of their faith.
James 2:17 says that “Faith by itself, if it not accompanied by action, is dead.” “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do…” (2:18b NIV Check out the rest of that chapter for further study.)
So what do we learn from all this?
- Miracles take place in our lives when we obey God.
- In order for God to move in our lives, we have to take a step of faith and “do” something.
- Our faith is evidence by our actions.
Take a quick inventory of your actions. Do they reveal a life lived in faith and trust that God will move in your life? I know for a fact that the greatest times that God has moved in my life are the times where I have surrendered my own will, obeyed His will, and taken that step of faith. Not just believing something will happen, but literally taking that action step that reveals the faith that I have in Him. Those steps are scary because there are the times where you feel like you are about to step off a cliff. But as soon as you actually follow through with the step, you find that God has created a firm foot-bridge to the other side beneath your feet. Those are the exhilarating God encounters that can happen in your life!
So what are you waiting for? The God of the universe is calling on you do to something in your life where He is going to make Himself known through you. Don’t be like Moses and give Him excuses. Don’t listen to the enemy’s lies and be overcome by your insecurities. I remember one of my favorite quotes from Pastor Chris is, “The world screams while the Word whispers.” Your confidence is rooted in God alone who will work a miracle in your life when you obey. Listen to His direction and obey it. No buts. Obedience leads to miracles and strengthened faith! You won’t regret it because our God can do GREAT things!