January 9 - Obedience, the Test of Faith
Faith is a concept that few can grasp. It is not something to be learned in a classroom situation or through careful explanation, the only way to know faith is to experience it. To experience it, one must begin to obey what God says despite of one’s doubts.
The opposite of faith is doubt. We have doubts about God’s will, His intentions, His power and His ways. Everything about God can be put to the test in our mind, taking us on a reverse journey of disbelief. In other words, our human intellect, which is supposed to assist us, actually becomes a hindrance. The more you think about it, the more you would not simply obey.
The Psalmist was close to death, he was in deep suffering and tears became commonplace in his daily life. How can this situation be reconciled with the love of God, the power of God and the intent of God to do good and not evil? All the sighing and anguish the Psalmist experienced were telling him that God might not be able to deliver him this time.
The mind of Sarah must be very active when she received God’s promise of an offspring through her. Consider her menopausal age, the common medical knowledge, the age of her husband and so on, no one in the world had ever done that. If God wanted to give her a child, why didn’t He give one to her when she was much younger? All these did not make sense to her.
Abraham must have had an even greater struggle when God told him to sacrifice his only son. Not after all this, Abraham must have thought. Is God playing a joke on me? Is He out of His divine mind? They had gone on a “faith roller coaster” since the day they received the promise. Now it came to pass but God wanted them to give the promise up. Isaac was a young boy then, why didn’t God take Isaac away earlier to avoid such great pain?
The endings to the three stories are good, the Psalmist saw his enemies scattered; Sarah was able to laugh heartily this time (despite her mocking laugh earlier); and Abraham got his son back on the mountain where God did provide. A common theme: simple obedience triumphs over complicated human thinking. The false prophets do not fully obey God, their fruits betray their true identity. Preaching the Word and performing signs and wonders cannot qualify one for the Kingdom, if these are done without true obedience. A sure foundation against the storms of life is obedience to the Word of God. Are you in doubt? Obey God!
Ps 6:4-10 Gen 20:1-22:24 Matt 7:15-29 Prov 2:16-22