Points to Ponder: Shaking in Obeying - Better than Shakey Obedience
Points to Ponder
Shaking in Obeying - Better than Shakey Obedience
Is it okay to be "realistic" about a situation as you consider taking it on? Is it okay to be scared or at least nervous about how overwhelmed you feel as you look at the odds against you? Having faith and following God's will for your life doesn't mean you can't see what is plainly there. It also doesn't mean you won't feel some inner apprehension. I have observed that there is a fear that comes from being disobedient (fear of consequences, of getting caught) and a fear that comes while being obedient. Isn't it possible that when God told Joshua to "be strong and courageous" (Joshua 1:1-9) that Joshua felt a little nervous about what they were being sent to do?
In I Samuel 23:1-5, David and his followers heard that the Philistines were attacking the small town of Keilah and robbing their grain. He "inquired of the Lord" as to whether he should attack the Philistines and save Keilah. The Lord said yes. But when he told his men, their response was apprehension.
But David's men said to him, "Look, we are afraid here in Judah. How much more then if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?" (I Samuel 23:3 NKJV)
As David was running from King Saul, he had drawn to himself some 400 people who also were fugitives. He became their protector and leader as they made their hideout in the familiar hills of Judah. But now the call had come to leave the security of what they knew. Could this be God's will, to save a town from the Philistines if all these people are against the idea? Should David have conducted a survey?
No, he returned to the Lord with the fears of his men and their reactions on his heart. He was realistic about what was before him.
Then David inquired of the LORD once again. And the LORD answered him and said, "Arise, go down to Keilah. For I will deliver the Philistines into your hand." (I Samuel 23:4 NKJV)
The answer had not changed. David had perceived a need, consulted God and considered the reaction of his people. And though it was largely negative, his mind was firmly fixed on following God's will, even though public opinion was against it.
After God again confirms to David that He was giving over the Philistines into his hand, there were no more questions or discussion. The next verse says that David and his men went and "struck them with a mighty blow," saving the people of Keilah.
It's interesting to read on about his time in Keilah. King Saul was still out to kill David. Knowing that Saul was on his way to capture him at Keilah, he consulted God in prayer once again. When Saul attacks the city will the people of Keilah betray David and turn him over the Saul? The Lord said yes, they would do that. What gratitude, huh?
The point I'm pondering in this is two-fold. First, David initiated the idea of helping these people in Keilah. God was for it, but no one else was; so public opinion polls were not behind him going in. At least the men had the sense of loyalty to challenge their fear and trust their leader's walk with God.
Secondly, once he rescued these people of Keilah, risking the lives of himself and his men, they would not be willing to risk their lives for David. One is tempted to think, "well why bother helping these people if they're going to turn on me anyway?" The reason why we do anything should be because it pleases God, even if we are misunderstood or even despised by people.
Walking with God does not necessarily put us in the good graces of people. Human nature is sinful and the human heart "deceitful... and desperately wicked" (Jeremiah 17:9). So, measuring the will of God according to the public opinion or the level of gratitude you receive from others will be disappointing and even demoralizing.
But again, David's focus was solely on what God wanted him to do. Obedience is not tempered by compromise or conditions. Once we know we're on the right path, as the Lord has confirmed through prayer and His word, the opinions around us and the reception of others before us is what it is; but the right way is clear.
Our job is to be faithful, to seek God's will and do it. Trust and obey. Success is defined and measured by God's standard. And if we are truly seeking to serve the Lord, His standard is the only one that matters anyway.
"Commit your works to the LORD, and your thoughts will be established." (Proverbs 16:3 NKJV)
Pastor Whitmore is not affiliated with Picket News, nor does he submit material directly to our publication. We regularly reprint interesting articles found at his public web site, www.fumcl.org, and encourage all readers to visit for similar material.