Obedience to God is sometimes beyond our ability and thought-process. We often fail to obey God and give many excuses for our disobedience. We think we have not heard His words right, we believe the message is not for us, we assume that God would not want us to do that way, we argue that it is for my spouse and not for me, or simply procrastinate obedience.
I am going to share with you my thoughts on ‘God’s blessings for our obedience’ in this post. I should say that this post is an inspiration from the message by our Rev. Stephen Thanapaul some three weeks back in our church at Bahrain and would like to record my gratitude to him.
It was a Friday evening and we made our way to church through moderate rains. The message that evening was so powerful because I felt it was God speaking to me. The sermon for that evening was about Jonah and how he initially disobeyed God and later how his obedience and people’s repentance and obedience led to a city being saved. The passage for sermon was from Jonah Chapter 3.
In a nutshell, the Reverend talked about what God wanted Jonah to do, how he escaped from God, God speaking to Jonah a second time, how people repented, reacted and obeyed God and finally, about God’s grace and compassion.
What touched me most was one point shared by the Reverend. He said that Nineveh was a very important city and a visit required three days. (Jonah 3: 3). This means Jonah would ordinarily need three days to spread the message across. But on the first day itself, when Jonah started proclaiming God’s message, people believed God and declared a fast and what more? The message reached the King!
The Reverend said that even as we start to obey, God starts working. It might be just the first day, but God has the power to make it known to an entire city; right up to the King. He said that God’s people need to obey God and carry His message to others. He concluded by saying “Just Begin” and God will do wonders. He used ‘Just Begin’ a couple of times.
I took this message to heart because, the past few days, I was really doubtful about initiating this blog. Though, I had thought about a blog like this for several months, and was praying about it, I did not have the courage to really get it going. I was anxious about so many things, particularly the technical part, SEO, people’s comments and so on. So when the Reverend said ‘Just Begin’, I felt God reassuring me on initiating this blog and so here it is!
So, what happens when we disobey God?
Go back to Jonah chapter 1. The word of the Lord came to Jonah to go to the great city of Nineveh (Jonah 1: 1 -2). But Jonah ran away from the Lord … to flee from the Lord (Jonah 1: 3). So what did God do? The Lord sent a great wind on the sea (Jonah 1:4) and the sea got rougher and rougher (Jonah 1: 11)
So when we disobey God, we will face great storms in our lives. Our paths will get rougher and at some point it will become impossible for us to handle it. Our disobedience will not only trouble us but will be a huge cause of pain and suffering to others as well. See how the sailors in the ship suffered. They suffered because they too did not listen when Jonah said “Pick me up and throw me into the sea… I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you” Jonah (1:12). What did the sailors do and what was the repercussion? They did their best to row back to land, but the sea grew even wilder than before (Jonah 1:13)
Most times, it is not just us who disobey God. But knowingly or unknowingly, we lead others to disobey God. In order to help or protect us, our family and friends disobey God. We do not take the words of God too seriously. Not until, we suffer the consequences of our disobedience.
God’s Blessings for our Obedience:
See what kind of blessings ‘obedience’ brought to Jonah, sailors and the people of Nineveh.
The very moment the sailors obeyed God, the sea grew calm (Jonah 1:15). Obedience will cause all your troubles to fade away too. Your life will become smooth and peaceful.
The Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah and he was alive inside the fish three days and three nights (Jonah 1:17). Even though you might be swallowed up in troubles, the Lord will protect you and keep you safe. So safe that you will be able to pray and call upon the Lord, just as Jonah did. And God will listen to your cries. (Jonah 2: 1-2) Hallelujah!
When you repent and turn from your waywardness, God will shower His compassion on you. It says, God saw and had compassion… (Jonah 3:10)
God speaks to us in many ways. He may speak to us through a sermon, during our personal time with God, in prayers, songs or in dreams. Whatever the way, listen closely to God’s words and start obeying Him. Just obey God and see blessings pour out on you. Just Begin!
Be God’s and Be Good!