January 31, Wednesday

Devotional Thoughts for This Morning

“Obedience in Step with God’s Revelation”

Genesis. 41:33-37

“And now let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man and put him in charge of the land of Egypt. 34 Let Pharaoh appoint commissioners over the land to take a fifth of the harvest of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. 35 They should collect all the food of these good years that are coming and store up the grain under the authority of Pharaoh, to be kept in the cities for food. 36 This food should be held in reserve for the country, to be used during the seven years of famine that will come upon Egypt, so that the country may not be ruined by the famine.” 37 The plan seemed good to Pharaoh and to all his officials. 38 So Pharaoh asked them, “Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God?”

Whether new to Christian faith or seasoned, we all desire to “know God’s will,” or find direction in various aspects of our lives—careers, relationships, locations. It is good to seek alignment, because we believe that God knows what is best for His people. We also believe that it is possible for us to hear Him speak through various means—His Word, in time of prayer, through others, and circumstances around us. But as important as it is to hear God, it is just as important to meet His revelation with obedience on our end!

We see this in Genesis after Pharaoh receives revelation interpreted by Joseph. He immediately acts upon it. There is no debate or attempt to test God’s trustworthiness. Once he hears the word from God, Pharaoh acts on God’s leading and the plan set out to save his people.

As followers of Jesus, we are to live in step with the Spirit’s leading. We want to hear what God has to say, but we must first be absolutely surrendered as His servants. Have you been asking for God to provide direction on something? Are you also sure that you will obey Him when He speaks? Before we continue to seek answers for our questions, let’s ask Him to prepare character and the faithfulness to be obedient.

If you are unsure of whether you are up to the task, do not fear! Our God is merciful and our sympathetic High Priest. Even if we approach Him with weak faith and trust, He will take it and use it for His purposes. Let us ask Him to give us hearts that will be increasingly yielded and prepared to follow Him as our Lord and Master.

(“The Heavenly Father does not ask for golden vessels. He does not ask for silver vessels. God asks for yielded vessels—those who will submit their will to the will of the Father. And the greatest human attainment in all the world is for a life to be so surrendered to Him that the name of God Almighty will be glorified through that life.” – Kathryn Kuhlman)

Prayer: Lord, we want to live lives that are pleasing to You! Teach us to choose to obey and not resist the calling that You invite us into. Help us to listen carefully and be sensitive to Your will. In the meantime, let us not despise when You shape our character so we can be prepared to love You whenever, wherever, however.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Numbers 19


Lunch Break Study

Read Acts 9:1-19: But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3 Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. 4 And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” 5 And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6 But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” 7 The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. 8 Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.10 Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, 12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” 13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” 17 So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; 19 and taking food, he was strengthened.

Questions to Consider

  1. Up until now, Saul has been a persecutor of the faith, with free rein to threaten and murder disciples. How is this contrasted with his attitude once God approaches him?
  2. When God comes to Ananias, how does Ananias first respond?
  3. What is the result of Ananias’s obedience? How might God call us to similar acts of obedience?

Notes

  1. When God comes to meet Saul, he becomes humble, meek, and dependent. God does not give Saul any clear direction, only saying that the steps will be revealed in time. From a confident man who led charges against others, Saul is now led by others.
  2. The first thing Ananias does upon hearing God’s voice, is to submit himself as available for God’s purposes. He did not know what God would ask him to do at that moment. Indeed, he expressed his reservations about God’s plan, but he went straightaway to fulfill it.
  3. The result of Ananias’s obedience was that Saul became one of God’s foremost evanglists. While the task did not seem safe, nor did it seem logical, Ananias was used as an instrument in God’s plan. His role was small (the laying on of hands), but it was mightily used by God.

Evening Reflection

In view of the theme of obedience discussed in the morning, how did you fare today? Did you encounter a moment in which you heard from the Lord and were asked to obey? Consider how you were led to obey or not obey. Let’s commit the decisions and inclinations of our heart in prayer and ask God for strength in tomorrow’s decisions.

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