Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Acts of obedience

Grand Sweep Daily Reading: Ezekiel 4, 5, 6

Ezekiel 4:4-5 (NIV)

4 [God said to Ezekiel], “Then lie on your left side and put the sin of the house of Israel upon yourself. You are to bear their sin for the number of days you lie on your side. 5 I have assigned you the same number of days as the years of their sin. So for 390 days you will bear the sin of the house of Israel.”

Good morning!

Sleeping in seems to be a rare art form in my family. On the weekends, our teenage children could sleep soundly until Saturday afternoon. I’ve never been able to do that! If I lay in bed too long, I would have a backache or headache that would last the rest of the day. My children could crawl under the covers on Friday evening and not move until Saturday afternoon. I had to be really sick to stay in bed like that. Do you like to sleep in?

Ezekiel’s determination to obey God should have been recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records. When God said, “Lay down and don’t move for thirteen months,” Ezekiel willingly obeyed. How in the world die he lay on his side for that long? God wanted Ezekiel to illustrate a point to His children. Sometimes, one picture is worth a thousand words. Three hundred ninety days on your side, each day representing one year of time spent in open rebellion to the Lord; would make even the strongest bones brittle and weak.

If you’ve ever been sick and confined to bed for even a few days, you know what its like to try and get up again. Physical weakness begins to take over quickly. Sometimes it is difficult to walk without assistance, and you become winded just moving from one room to another. When we disobey God’s instruction, we become spiritually weak. There is no doubt that resting on my side for 390 days in obedience to God’s Word would be absolutely impossible for me to do, without His supernatural help. I must learn to ask for God’s help daily, if I intend to follow His instruction. Faith muscles become flabby and weak, if we refuse to use them.

I’ve been fascinated with the extreme faith of the Moravians who crossed the ocean with John Wesley in October of 1735. I have a difficult time wrapping my mind around being confined on a ship for weeks as it crossed from the new world back to Europe. The storms on that ship must have been terrifying, and yet, the Moravians sat peacefully, singing the Psalms and reflecting upon God’s goodness. People around them were ill from being tossed about. The wind ripped through the main sail and water was pouring over the decks. English passengers were terrified – many of them were screaming and clinging to whatever they could, hoping to their lives would be spared. A picture is worth a thousand words. Would you, under those circumstances, have been able to sit in perfect peace, totally focused upon the goodness of God?

The storms of life rage around us every single day. God calls to us and says, “Focus your heart on me and the things that seem to be swirling all around you will dissipate in the light of my love. You can be a lighthouse to the ones who are flailing around on the deck of life.” The Moravians became Jesus to a disheartened missionary preacher, who wondered whether his life would make any difference for anyone else. It was their witness in the midst of the storm that brought John Wesley into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.

If you are wondering what it will take for the storms to calm around you today, let me suggest that true peace begins with an act of obedience. God tells us to focus our attention completely upon Him. When we let the things that distress us go, and begin to worship God no matter what our situation, He can make the roughest water smooth. He can give us the stamina to do what seems to be impossible, in the light of His presence and love.

I have a long way to go to get to the level of obedience of my mentor Ezekiel. The Moravians knew His peace in the midst of imminent danger. May we find perfect peace, as we focus our very hearts upon the Lord. It is one simple act of obedience that brings joy unspeakable to a servant’s heart.

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding


Pray for: the desire to be obedient to God. Ask Him to help you focus your mind upon Him today. He will keep us in perfect peace when our hearts and minds are stayed upon Him.


© Copyright 2007, Deb Spaulding

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