Call to Obedience
By: Curt Selles, today.reframemedia.com
Scripture Reading — Isaiah 6:1-10
I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips . . . and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty. — Isaiah 6:5
Occasionally I burn my fingers on our backyard grill. It’s usually not serious, but it definitely stings. Can you imagine the sting of a burning coal touching your lips? That’s what happens to Isaiah in his vision of heaven.
In the same year that Uzziah the king died, the prophet had a vision: he saw the King, the Lord Almighty, high on a throne, and his robe filled the temple. Hebrew tradition taught that no one could see God and live. Isaiah lamented his own uncleanness and that of the people of Israel. Then a seraph, an angel who attended God’s throne, used tongs to take a live coal from the temple altar. Touching it to the prophet’s lips, he cleansed Isaiah for service.
Purified, Isaiah could now answer God’s call. “Here am I. Send me!” His passion inspires us. But the rest of the passage is bleak. The people, still impure, hear God’s call, but their hearts remain callous and closed.
Still, there is hope for repentance; there is hope for the people to “turn and be healed.” And the holy seed of God’s faithfulness remains, and from that “stump in the land” a shoot will grow. Jesus, coming from the stump of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1), will restore God’s people.
Do you hear his call today? By the purifying fire of Christ and his Spirit, we can serve and glorify God wherever he calls and sends us.
Obedience to God
QUESTION: How important is obedience to God in my daily walk?
Obedience to God is very important in your Christian growth. No one in this life will ever become sufficiently sanctified to the point where they are always obeying the law, but we can honor and maintain obedience to God by pondering on, or meditating on, the words of Jesus. The term “to ponder” means to weigh in the mind, to think or reflect, especially quietly and deeply. To ponder on something is like meditation which implies a definite focusing of one’s thoughts on something in order to understand it deeply. The author of Proverbs 14:15 makes a good point: “A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps.”
The greatest commandment is to love God by keeping His commandments. Matthew 22:36-38 says, “‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.'”
You ask, “How important is obedience to God?” In the gospel of John, obedience to God is underscored time and time again. John 14:15 says, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.”
The great commandments are reiterated in Matthew 22:36-40 which says, “‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied: ‘”Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.'”
Jesus is very concerned about us and He wants us to do more than participate in good works, He wants us to believe in Him. He wants us to come up higher and be “like” Him. When we are being obedient to God, we are doing just that: knowing Him, loving Him, and having a personal, intimate relationship with Him. To do this, we must be attentive to God’s laws. This is not an option, because you can’t have an intimate relationship with Jesus and trample on the words He taught. Being obedient to God is not the same as sticking to the speed limit because you get a fine if you disobey. Obedience to God is living God’s Word because you want to and enjoy being filled with the love of Jesus.
We must believe in Jesus, we must have faith in Him, and we must trust Him! Calling ourselves a Christian on its own won’t do. Following the commandments step wise won’t do. Reading the Bible diligently won’t do. We have to take the Word into our hearts. When we make the transition from calling ourselves a good Christian to being someone who is having a deep personal and intimate relationship with the Lord, then we can have the highest of joys, the deepest of peace, and receive the fullest measure of God’s love and power each and every day of our lives.
We need to enter into God’s rest and be less concerned with worrying about what else we could do to make Jesus love us more. Hebrews 4:10 says, “For anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.” It would be invaluable if you were to spend time reading God’s Word and ponder on one aspect as you walk. Step into the scene, imagine what it might have been like to be there, create Jesus in your mind, feel the love, and experience a deep intimate relationship with the Lord.
Delivered on Thursday Evening, August 21st, 1890, by
C. H. SPURGEON, blueletterbible.org
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington
“By faith Abraham when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.”- Hbr 11:8
THE part of the text to which I shall call your attention lies in these words, “By faith Abraham obeyed.” Obedience-what a blessing it would be if we were all trained to it by the Holy Spirit! How fully should we be restored if we were perfect in it! If all the world would obey the Lord, what a heaven on earth there would be! Perfect obedience to God would mean love among men, justice to all classes, and peace in every land. Our will brings envy, malice, war; but the Lord’s will would bring us love, joy, rest, bliss. Obedience-let us pray for it for ourselves and others!
“Is there a heart that will not bend
To thy divine control?
Descend, O sovereign love, descend,
And melt that stubborn soul! “
Surely, though we have had to mourn our disobedience with many tears and sighs, we now find joy in yielding ourselves as servants of the Lord: our deepest desire is to do the Lord’s will in all things. Oh, for obedience! It has been supposed by many ill-instructed people that the doctrine of justification by faith is opposed to the teaching of good works, or obedience. There is no truth in the supposition. We preach the obedience of faith. Faith is the fountain, the foundation, and the fosterer of obedience. Men obey not Cod till they believe him. We preach faith in order that men may be brought to obedience. To disbelieve is to disobey. One of the first signs of practical obedience is found in the obedience of the mind, the understanding, and the heart; and this is expressed in believing the teaching of Christ, trusting to his work, and resting in his salvation. Faith is the morning star of obedience. If we would work the work of God, we must believe on Jesus Christ whom he hath sent. Brethren, we do not give a secondary place to obedience, as some suppose. We look upon the obedience of the heart to the will of God as salvation. The attainment of perfect obedience would mean perfect salvation. We regard sanctification, or obedience, as the great design for which the Saviour died. He shed his blood that he might cleanse us from dead works, and purify unto himself a people zealous for good works. It is for this that we were chosen: we are “elect unto holiness.” We know nothing of election to continue in sin. It is for this that we have been called: we are “called to be saints.” Obedience is the grand object of the work of grace in the hearts of those who are chosen and called: they are to become obedient children, conformed to the image of the Elder Brother, with whom the Father is well pleased.