Obedience and Opportunities

(On the Essential Practice of Preemptive Obedience first published by Seedbed.com) Numbers 13:27-29 They came back to Moses and Aaron on the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the desert of Paran. There they reported to them the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land. They gave Moses this account “We went into the land to which you sent us and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of a Anak there.” I have discovered a devotional web site called Seedbed. The study on this scripture follows a series on Gideon. In the end they are linked, and they have provoked a different way of thinking about this idea of what Seedbed writer, J.D. Walt, calls Preemptive Obedience. It started with a series of studies on Gideon. The essence of this series was about Gideon’s need to, first, have God prove to him it was really God talking to him. (The fleece.) Then, second, God’s actions to assure Gideon he had chosen correctly when he decided to follow God’s instructions for a strange way to lead the army. (Sending most of the men home and equipping the remaining with trumpets and pitchers with lights in them.) It was a story of God’s dealing with Gideon. This scripture follows those lessons and speaks of opportunity provided by God being approached on an intellectual level. Two spies reported the good but the other ten dwelt on the overwhelming odds. Giants in the land is the way our Sunday School lessons put it. Marching into the promised land made as little sense as God sending most of Gideon’s army home did. The Israelites hesitated. Gideon obeyed. Preemptive Obedience. I believe I will always remember the idea. I know, counting the cost, looking at things logically are all part of the process. But sometimes it still does not help us know which direction to go when we feel God’s call to action. I don’t know when I learned this, but I learned to talk to God about assignments (I always called it opportunities to use God given talents) and wait for God to send the opportunity instead of going out and trying to find/make my own. This is backwards from what we are taught. It really does not make sense in our society. When I feel I need to seek a place to serve God, to use the talents God gave me, I believe first and wait for God to present an opportunity. I have nearly despaired at times, but the opportunities, when they came, were tailored to my abilities. I also have learned many of the opportunities God sends are small ones. I quickly learned not to turn down the little opportunities. Several times in my life, those quiet little services have led to more opportunities to serve. Believe before you understand what God is trying to do. Believe before you understand God’s method. Obey before you understand everything you want to know so you can be comfortable before stepping into action faithful. Right now, I am in a believing state. I, as you may or may not know, am an arranger of sacred music and pianist. I just keep practicing and will see what God sends along next. If nothing comes along for the piano, I will keep singing in a choir and ringing in a bell choir. Hopefully, God will tailor something more for may particular talent on the piano. I am believing. Gideon and the Israelites are reminders about the way God deals with people. When we are faithful, God is always faithful.

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