Trust And Obey

Thursday, August 01, 2013, 8:47 a.m. – the Lord Jesus woke me with the song “The Old Rugged Cross,” and then when I sat down to have my quiet time with him, he put the song “Oh, To Be Like Thee” in my mind.

Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Hebrews 11, the faith chapter of the Bible. I will only quote sections of the passage, though, but here is a link to the entire chapter:

The Lord Jesus had me focus on just this section of Hebrews 11 today. And, he gave me some parallels of what this is talking about to our lives and world today.

Choosing Rather

By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.
… Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

The Bible teaches us that, as followers of Jesus Christ, we are not to be yoked together with unbelievers, i.e. we are not to be partners (accomplices; joining in) with them in the ways of this world and in sinful pleasure. There is no fellowship between light and darkness and no agreement between what is righteous and what is evil, or between God and the idols of humans. We are the temple of God and his Spirit lives within us, if we are truly his.

So, we are commanded to come out from among those close associations which might lead us away from our pure devotion to our Lord, and which might lead us down a path of sin. This does not mean we should become hermits and disassociate ourselves from all people except fellow followers of Christ, but it does mean we are not to partner with them in their worldly or sinful ways (and this includes associations with professing Christians who are leading sinful lifestyles). Our lives should reflect Christ, not the world (See 2 Co. 6:14-18).

Yet, when we make that choice to truly distance ourselves from sinful pleasure and the ways of this fallen world, and we choose, instead, to pursue righteousness and holiness and to follow the ways of God, of his word, and to walk in the Spirit, there will be those who will hate us, reject us, mock us, ridicule us, and falsely accuse us of thinking we are better than everyone else, etc. But, that’s ok. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt, though. Yet, we should choose to be mistreated with the people of God rather than enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin, as did Moses and many, many others since then.

Reproach of Christ

He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.
The Lord Jesus brought to mind Isaiah 53 here. Jesus Christ was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; as one from whom men hide their faces. And, we esteemed him not. Yet, he bore our griefs and he carried our sorrows. He was pierced for our transgressions, and he was crushed for our iniquities. With his wounds we are healed. Amen! He took all our sins upon him when they hung him on a cross to die. He was oppressed and afflicted. Yet it was the will of God to crush him. He poured out his soul to death, and he was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors (taken from Is. 53 ESV).

This is the reproach of Christ. Though certainly none of us will be called upon to take upon ourselves the sins of the entire world, as did Jesus, still we will be hated, despised and rejected of humans as he was because of our testimony for Jesus Christ, and because we share the truth of the gospel of Christ. Jesus Christ went through all of what he endured for you and me because he was looking ahead to our salvation and eternity in heaven. As well, when we follow Christ, and we are mistreated because we believe in Jesus, we should find comfort and consolation in the fact that we do so with the hope of our own salvation, and with the hope that, through our witness for Christ, many others will know him, too.

So, we willingly give up social acceptance, and the acceptance and approval of family, friends, relatives, and our peers, etc. in order to follow Christ in obedience to him. It doesn’t mean we are masochistic, i.e. that we invite and enjoy misery, but it does mean that we are willing to lose everything this world has to offer us in order to follow Jesus, to do his will and to share his gospel, even if it costs us our lives.

He left Egypt

By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible.

It took enormous faith and courage to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt, but God gave Moses everything he needed to do the job. Egypt represented slavery, yet also some odd sense of security and the known, whereas leaving Egypt meant venturing out into the unknown, and risking the wrath of the king.

To us today it represents our slavery to sin and a dependency on humankind in place of dependency upon God alone. We are commanded of God to leave our lives of sin behind us – to forsake it all – and to follow Christ wherever he leads us, even into the unknown. And, we are also instructed to put our trust in the Lord Jesus, even though we don’t know exactly where that will take us. And, sometimes it seems easier to retreat to what we know rather than to venture into the unknown; to retreat to what feels secure to us (false security) rather than trusting in someone we can’t see. Yet, we should never fear our future, or fear Satan and his attacks against us, or the rejection or hatred of others, because Satan will come after us in hot pursuit, but we should keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, and by faith know that God has a plan and a purpose for it all, and that he will not leave us comfortless. We should leave our lives of sin and our idolatry behind us, and we should walk by faith and not by sight, and just trust Jesus to work it all out for our good and the good of others.

Kept the Passover

By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.

This story of the children of Israel fleeing Egypt and heading toward the Promised Land is a picture of our salvation by God’s grace, through faith. Egypt represents our slavery to sin. The king represents Satan who once held us in bondage. Moses represents Jesus Christ whom God sent to deliver us out of slavery and to bring us into his eternal kingdom. The keeping of the Passover represents our faith. The people of Israel had to obey God in applying the blood of the sacrificial lamb to their doorposts so that the destroyer might not touch them. Jesus is our sacrificial Lamb who shed his blood for us, and he asks of us that we accept his sacrifice by faith by applying his blood to the doorposts of our hearts and lives, so that we will not face eternal damnation nor live lives of bondage to sin, but we might be set free from slavery, as were the children of Israel, and be on our way to glory.

Truly what Moses led the children of Israel to do was to submit themselves to the cross of Christ so that they might be delivered from death. Yet, it was God who provided the way of escape, who conquered their foe, and who delivered them out of the hand of their enemy and out of slavery, yet he didn’t force them to go. They had to willingly submit to his plan of salvation, and to step out in faith, and to follow their God-appointed leader who led them out of slavery and on their way to the fulfillment of the promise. And, that is a perfect picture of faith. Jesus said that if we want to be his disciples, we have to die to sin and self daily and we have to follow him in obedience, plain and simple (See Lu 9:23-25; cf. Eph. 4:17-24).

We didn’t come up with the plan, and we didn’t provide the way of escape, and we didn’t leave “Egypt” of our own accord, nor did we defeat our enemy. So, this is not works-based salvation. Yet, we have to cooperate with the plan, and we have to obey and yield right-of-way to God, and we have to leave the land of slavery and go with God into the kingdom he loves. If we don’t leave “Egypt,” then we are still in slavery. Faith is action, and it means we have to obey God’s plan for our salvation if we want to have the hope of eternity with God. And, if we don’t apply the blood (the sacrifice for our sins) to our own lives, in all practicality and practice, then we will not be spared the coming judgment, because we didn’t obey.

Trust and Obey / John H. Sammis / Daniel B. Towner

When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word, What a glory He sheds on our way! While we do His good will, He abides with us still, And with all who will trust and obey.

Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share, But our toil He doth richly repay; Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross, But is blessed if we trust and obey.

But we never can prove the delights of His love Until all on the altar we lay; For the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows, Are for them who will trust and obey.

Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet. Or we’ll walk by His side in the way. What He says we will do, where He sends we will go; Never fear, only trust and obey