Exercise Faith and Obedience

Pastor Darren Kishimoto   -  

If you have walked with the Lord for any length of time, you know there are points in our lives when God calls us to do certain things.  He may ask us to pray or care for someone.  He may ask us to share our faith with another person or get involved in ministry.  He may even ask us to make a change in our jobs or relationships; all in line with loving Him and doing His will.  Whether the requests are big or small, they’re usually a challenge to our faith aren’t they?  They stretch our trust and obedience to the Lord in uncomfortable ways.  We think about what these things require of us, the risks involved, and all the reasons why we’re not adequate for the task-at-hand.

I think Moses was a good example of this.  We know Moses from Bible stories and Sunday School lessons which convey a strong powerful leader ((if you’re like me (> than 50), you think of Charlton Heston in the movie “The Ten Commandments”)) who led God’s chosen people out of slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land.  I think of Exodus 14:21-22 (the parting of the Red Sea) where “Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.”  I’m reminded of other places in Scripture where Moses led the Israelites through hunger in the wilderness and military battle with the surrounding people.  Yet, if we look back at the earlier chapters in Exodus, we see that Moses was not a natural-born leader.  He was not the strong, take-action figure that we typically hear about.  When God first called Moses to go to Pharaoh and free the people, Moses was reluctant to say the least.  He was 80 years old when God called to him from the burning bush, firmly Harvesters age at our church.  He had been living quietly as a shepherd tending his father-in-law’s flock for the last 40 years.  In fact, during the exchange with God in Exodus 3-4, Moses gave four reasons or excuses why he shouldn’t be the one to go to Pharaoh and lead the people.  These included:

  • I’m not important.  I’m not qualified for this (Ex. 3:11)
  • What authority do I have to go and say these things (Ex. 3:13)
  • What if they do not believe me (Ex. 4:1)
  • I’m not eloquent.  I’m slow of speech and tongue (Ex. 4:10)

Once again, we see that a hero of the faith was a real person just like us.  Though God gives him a direct call, Moses tried to wiggle his way out of the responsibility to do what God was asking of him.  Can you relate to that?  I sure can.  I can hear myself saying the same things Moses did as to why I shouldn’t do what I sense God calling me to do.  What if I don’t have all the answers?  What if they don’t listen to me?  What if they reject me?  In life and ministry we are frequently faced with feelings of reluctance and inadequacy.  It’s almost second nature to doubt ourselves.  Taking a dive into the deep end, stepping out, sharing our faith in Christ, volunteering to lead, and making significant changes are all examples of things the Lord may call us to do which we hadn’t originally planned on.  Just like Moses who hadn’t planned to do anything more than take care of a bunch of wooly sheep for the rest of his life (no offense to the shepherds out there).  In response to his doubts, God reassures Moses that He will be with Him, He will equip him, He will give him the words, and it’s He that has the authority.

As the story in Exodus unfolds, we see that Moses grows in his boldness and leadership.  He still exhibits doubts and shortcomings but he grows stronger as he practices faith and obedience time and time again.  It’s a lifelong cycle.  He grows stronger in the Lord as he exercises his “faith and obedience” muscles.  For you and I, we must exercise our muscles as well and keep atrophy from setting in.  With God’s help, we must constantly exercise faith and obedience when we sense the calling to say or do something.  As we do, our muscles will grow stronger.  Finally, like Moses, we can act in faith and confidence because God knows us, promises to be with us, will equip us, and is ultimately in control over the situation.

Pastor Darren