Don’t you wish sometimes you could press a pause button to mute all the voices that try to influence the decisions you have to make in life? I find it interesting how everyone, including the voice in my head, has an opinion about what I should do. In times like these, I have learned to press into God, spend time in His presence. Waiting patiently in silence to hear him. In those moments of silence, when I hear the voice of God I can honestly say I don’t usually hear what I want to hear. But if I want to please Him, I must also obey what He is saying even if it doesn’t make sense to me. As you continue to read, I want you to bear these words in mind, “obedience is better than sacrifice.” If you are anything like me, you know what it feels like when you want to know the end from the beginning and all you see is a snap of what’s in the middle. But I have come to the understanding that this walk of faith is not really about what I want to know and understand but knowing the ways of God and walking in obedience.
Not understand the ways of God can be painful and if we are not careful we can begin to question God. We cannot allow our misunderstanding of His ways to cause us to not trust Him. Knowing the ways of God requires us to walk in faith. Along my faith journey, I have learned that walking by faith is not just believing, but doing what is required of me. I have to be obedient to God’s word and the leading of the Holy Spirit in my daily life. To live according to the way of faith I must learn to walk in obedience even when I don’t understand.
Obedience is key in walking by faith. Why is obedience an important aspect of walking by faith, when the bible tells us that “faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1)? I want to take you on an adventure for just a moment to discover the mystery of the writings of our dearly beloved brother, Apostle Paul. Paul writes in his letter to the Romans “so then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” – Romans 10:17. In doing so Paul was referring to what God had spoken to the children of Israel through Moses.
Deuteronomy 30:14-18 (WEB)14 But the word is very near to you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it. 15 Behold, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and evil. 16 For I command you today to love Yahweh your God, to walk in his ways and to keep his commandments, his statutes, and his ordinances, that you may live and multiply, and that Yahweh your God may bless you in the land where you go in to possess it. 17 But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away and worship other gods, and serve them, 18 I declare to you today that you will surely perish.
Paul wanted to let us know that we too need to hear and obey in the same way God required for Israel to hear and obey Him. Let us now examine what is involved in being obedient. To obey you have to hear, listen, and move (do). Deuteronomy 6:4 (NKJV) declares; “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! The Hebrew word for “hear” is shama, which means to listen, to hear, to obey, to follow. So now we can take another look at Romans 10:17, “so then faith comes by hearing (listening, obey, follow), and hearing (listening, obey, follow) by the word of God.” James tells us “faith without works is dead” (James 2:26).
We see then to obey we have to actively listen, hearing, obeying and doing; not just say we believe, because Jesus said, even the demons believe and tremble. The problem for us is that we are sometimes focused on one or the other and forget the rest. Some of us move without listening or hearing. Others listen but don’t hear or move. While others listen and hear but neglect to move.
Isn’t listening and hearing the same thing, you ask. All of us, unless we are hearing impaired can hear a sound. Listening, however, requires giving one’s undivided attention to the sound you hear. Hearing and listening allow you to move (do) according to God’s will. We can take a look at the Prophet Elijah to glean some knowledge on the matter. After Elijah confronted Ahab and his false prophets, God spoke to Elijah in an unusual way. Elijah hears the sound of rain. There isn’t anything unusual about hearing rain you might add, let us read.
1 Kings 18:41-46. Then Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of abundance of rain.” 42 So Ahab went up to eat and drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; then he bowed down on the ground, and put his face between his knees, 43 and said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” So he went up and looked, and said, “There is nothing.” And seven times he said, “Go again.” 44 Then it came to pass the seventh time, that he said, “There is a cloud, as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea!” So he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot, and go down before the rain stops you.’ ” 45 Now it happened in the meantime that the sky became black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy rain. So Ahab rode away and went to Jezreel. 46 Then the hand of the Lord came upon Elijah; and he girded up his loins and ran ahead of Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.
Why is this important?
At the time Elijah spoke of hearing the sound of rain, it wasn’t raining. He heard in his spirit what God was saying and when to listen to obey. In chapter 17:1 God proclaimed a time of drought. It states, “Elijah, the Tishbite, who was of the settlers of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As Yahweh, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.”
Elijah’s ability to hear what God had to say was in alignment with God’s will. Upon hearing the sound of rain Elijah went to listen to what God was saying about the famine, so he could tell his servant what to do. Elijah and all the prophets, and men and women of the bible who walked by faith had to obey and do what God told them to do.
For you and I to walk in the way of faith we must be active in our hearing so we will know what to do. We have to hear what God is saying. Don’t allow the voice in your head or the people and vices around you to influence your decisions. God has the blueprint for your life, and He will guide you. Remember David said, though he is walking through a valley of the shadow of death he will not fear any evil, for God is with Him. Whatever you are walking through at the moment it is only a shadow of death, and God is still with you. Just listen and obey. Walk with Him because He will never leave you if you obey His voice.