Sunday, July 26, 2009

Would You Serve A God Like That?

When I was a child, I lived next door to my aunt, uncle, and cousin, Kimberly. It was like having a sister--Saturday morning omelets, trips back and forth between our houses, late night rounds of my uncle cheating at Monopoly, and too many sleepovers to count. Then, baby Allison was added to their family. Now, I would have two sisters to share everything with!

But, suddenly, our close-knit world was rocked when my aunt and uncle felt God calling them to be international missionaries. They then accepted that calling, leaving behind careers, family, and friends to become missionaries on the island of St. Maarten in the Caribbean…and taking with them my two “sisters.”

After that, our families came together maybe once a year. We were still close, but it just wasn’t the same. Many years into their ministry, they rode out a very serious hurricane that destroyed much of the island. While their lives were spared, our church had to send a team to help repair their home.

What kind of God asks His people to leave their family? Stable jobs? Country? What kind of God puts those same people who are obediently serving Him in the path of a killer storm?

Yahweh. The God of Moses, Abraham, and Isaac.

Scripture gives us several examples of God asking His people to give up everything to serve and obey Him. One such man was Ezekiel, a priest whom God called to prophecy to an exiled Israel: “Son of man, I am sending you to the sons of Israel, to a rebellious people who have rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have transgressed against Me to this very day. I am sending you to them who are stubborn and obstinate children…” (Ezekiel 2:3-4).

Ezekiel wasn’t a Jonah. He didn’t run the other way or ask God to send somebody else. Instead, even with God continuously reminding him that his prophesies wouldn’t result in Israel’s repentance or turning from its sin, Ezekiel was obedient in doing what the Lord asked of him.

And then in the midst of that obedience, God required Ezekiel to make yet another sacrifice, which would serve as a sign to a rebellious Israel of Jerusalem’s coming destruction: “And the word of the LORD came to me saying, ‘Son of man, behold, I am about to take from you the desire of your eyes with a blow; but you shall not mourn and you shall not weep, and your tears shall not come. Groan silently; make no mourning for the dead Bind on your turban and put your shoes on your feet, and do not cover your mustache and do not eat the bread of men.’ So I spoke to the people in the morning, and in the evening my wife died. And in the morning I did as I was commanded” (Ezekiel 24:15-18).

What!? Did I read that right? God required Ezekiel to not only lose his beloved wife but to also not publically mourn her death? Yes. And Ezekiel obeyed.

How? Why?

Because Ezekiel knew the God he served. He knew the price for disobedience. He knew God’s kingdom agenda was more important than one man or one woman.

Although we may not like to think of God as one who requires such large sacrifices of his obedient servants, that doesn’t mean we can ignore Scripture that tells us otherwise. We must accept every part of who Scripture says God is or not accept Him at all.

This week, spend some time considering if you’re serving the God of the Bible who may require you to sacrifice everything you love most for His kingdom… or if you’re serving a watered-down version of God that doesn’t really exist.

3 comments:

  1. "And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life." Matthew 19:29

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  2. And praise God your fam has obeyed that call and chose to serve a God like that. A God who wants to make sure we all come to know Him and His great love. So glad I stopped by to read your posts.

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