There is something about trusting and obeying the Lord that many of us find intriguing on the one hand and intimidating on the other.
We are intrigued to trust and obey the Lord when we read about men and women in the Bible doing just this and seeing how the Lord provides for them.
Like when the widow gathered all the containers she could collect from her neighbors, so the Lord could fill them with oil, so she could sell to pay off her debts to support her family. I want to experience something like this when I trust and obey the Lord.
On the other hand, we are intimidated to trust and obey the Lord when we realize how vulnerable this makes us to be available to do whatever the Lord wants to work in and through us. Like when the prophet Jeremiah trusted and obeyed the Lord and ends up being beaten, imprisoned and thrown into a muddy well.
This is the part of trusting and obeying the Lord I don’t want to experience.
The old hymn says it well:
We never can prove the delights of His love until all on the altar we lay; for the favor He shows and the joy He bestows are for them who trust and obey. What He says we will do, where He sends we will go, never fear, only trust and obey. Trust and obey, for there is no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
We know from 2 Kings 4 there was a woman whose husband used to be a prophet, but he died. This prophet was devoted to the Lord until he died. But now his widow and two sons are close to being sold as slaves in order to pay their bills.
Trusting and obeying the Lord does NOT mean things will always turn out the way we plan or anticipate.
The prophet Elisha asked this widow how he could help her by asking her a question: What do you have in your house?
The widow replies, “Your servant has nothing at all, except a little oil.”
Your servant has nothing at all. How many times have you and I responded this way when the Lord has asked us what we have? O Lord, I have nothing at all. I’m just a farmer, I’m just a teacher, I’m just a mom, I’m not educated, I’m too young/old…on and on our list of excuses go.
The Lord doesn’t want what we don’t have. The Lord wants us to trust and obey Him with what we do have, so that He can accomplish what only He can do with what He has entrusted to us. At times this results in the Lord doing something beyond our wildest dreams, like He did with this widow.
In 2 Kings 4:3-7 we read the following: Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.”
The widow and her sons do what Elisha told them to do. Their house was filled with empty jars that they had collected from all their neighbors. And by the end of day, because she trusted and obeyed every jar they had collected was filled with oil from that one jar in her house that contained only a little oil. This is the intriguing part of trusting and obeying the Lord.
Enough oil came from that one jar that only had a little oil left in it to fill all the other jars. Now she can pay off all her debts, as well as provide enough income for her and her sons to be able to live. We never can prove the delights of His love until all on the altar we lay; for the favor He shows and the joy He bestows are for them who trust and obey.
Where is the Lord asking you to trust and obey Him today? Will you?
Next week we’ll look at the intimidating side of trusting and obeying the Lord.