Obedience Begets Favor

One of the neat things about Noah is seeing how obedient he was to God. He was far from a perfect man, but he tried to listen to God and follow through, even if he couldn’t see and understand everything that was going on. I think that’s rather important. Part of acting on faith is doing what you’ve been asked to do by God even when you can’t see it all the way through. I liken this to doing mazes on paper. With simple mazes you can see the path all the way through. Those mazes are easy and we quickly do them without a second thought. But the more complex ones, the ones intended to mess up your line of vision so you have to retry paths, well, most people won’t readily do those. They take some effort because you can’t see the whole way through. With computers we have 3D mazes where we can only see the perspective of if we were in the maze ourselves. One of the most well known RPG video games in history, The Bard’s Tale, and its variants were built strongly around the concept of exploring dungeons that were nothing more than huge mazes filled with traps, monsters, treasures, and puzzles. In reality Bard’s Tale wasn’t the first to do this, nor was it even the first to do the 3D perspective, but it was a hugely popular video game that transcended multiple computer platforms. Even with its popularity and then ground-breaking graphics and sound, I knew some people who wouldn’t play Bard’s Tale because they couldn’t see it all at one glance. Some people who say they are Christians are the same way. If they can’t see it all the way through, they won’t take that first step. They won’t trust God enough to take Him at His word that He’ll provide. And quite honestly, they miss out on so much.

But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every sort into the ark to keep them alive with you. They shall be male and female. Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground, according to its kind, two of every sort shall come in to you to keep them alive. Also take with you every sort of food that is eaten, and store it up. It shall serve as food for you and for them.” Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him.  – Genesis 6:18-22, ESV

God gives this promise to Noah if Noah would build the ark. Why would Noah build the ark? They hadn’t seen rain. They hadn’t ever seen a need for a boat this big. And how was he supposed to round up all these animals, especially the birds? Have you ever tried catching a wild bird without harming it? Now imagine trying to catch a male and female of each species. And you’ve got do all this in a reasonable time so that all the species live. And let’s not forget about the insects. You’ve got to handle them, too. Seems like an impossible task. I think I would have been like, “Surely you’re joking, God. I can’t do all that!” And that’s the point. I can’t. You can’t. Noah surely couldn’t. Faith says that even when you know you can’t, if God calls you to it, you still go after it. God is going to do what you can’t do. You’re just going to have to trust him on it.
And that’s how to see the really awesome blessings of God. I don’t mean the big house, the luxury car, the overflowing bank account, or whatever earthly excesses some folks preach that God will give you if you just trust Him. He might deliver those kinds of things to you, but if He does, then He has a use for them through you and that use isn’t to pamper you. But those things are nothing compared to witnessing first hand God at work. God doing things you know shouldn’t happen, wouldn’t happen, except God is doing them. Things that cause you to remember His promise to save us, to count us righteous because of His Son, to place us into Heaven and not Hell. Stuff like when you see a guy you never thought would darken the doors of a church get saved, get on fire for God, and become a mighty servant for the Almighty. Things like putting you in the right place at the right time to help someone in a humbling and soul filling way. Things like trusting God to fund a ministry you know He called you to and you stepping out on faith though the funds weren’t there, and then they show up from a source you’ve never heard of. Things that make you go, “What a mighty God we serve!” Or, on the other side of the coin, when the unthinkable happens in your life and you just ache, and then you get down and cry out to God and His peace fills you and overwhelms you. His strength becomes your strength and you’re able to go on. Things that make you realize that God wasn’t joking when He said that He wouldn’t leave us or forsake us. These are the kinds of blessings you get when you step out on faith, these and many more.

Faith is an act of obedience. It is saying, “Yes, Lord,” and following through when you can’t see the whole path, the entire plan, the ending from the beginning. But with faith comes awesome blessing. With obedience comes favor. What is it in your life that God has been after to you to step out on? What is it that you’ve held back because you just weren’t sure you could do it? Whatever it is, trust God and begin taking those steps. Start that journey. And experience the magnificent blessings that you can only get through faith.

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