Monday, January 11, 2016

Instant obedience

"Edge of the Forest (The Flight
Into Egypt)" by Jan Brueghel the Elder
"Edge of the Forest (The Flight  Into Egypt)" by Jan Brueghel the Elder

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Matthew 2:13-23

TO CHEW ON: "Now when they had departed behold an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, 'Arise, take the young child and His mother, flee to Egypt ... When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt." Matthew 2:13-14

I am the kind of person who likes to have lots of warning. Hubby wants to invite people for dinner? Great. But I appreciate knowing a couple of days in advance. He wants to go for a drive? Well, he'd better not expect me to just drop everything and come with him. I need to know ahead of time so I can fit it into my plans.

With God I'm sure this is a flaw. Imagine if Joseph had stalled when the angel visited him in the night with the message to take Jesus and Mary and flee to Egypt (not realizing that Herod's soldiers were already assembling in order to comb the town for Jesus and kill Him)? But he didn't. Rather, he got up, woke his family, loaded the donkey and left immediately—at night.

His actions show he was a man of faith who trusted God's wisdom to the extent of instant obedience. Though starting a journey with a wife and baby in the middle of the night was not what he had planned, he just did it without a minute's hesitation.

I'm sure there is some lack of trust in God and His ability to orchestrate my life behind my inflexibility. Of course I'm not suggesting that it's a bad thing to plan ahead. But when my plans trump God's surprises, I may be depriving myself of some wonderful serendipities, or even putting myself in harm's way.

Are you a spontaneous person, or schedule-driven? Have you ever experienced a time when God interrupted your plans? What happened?

PRAYER: Dear God, I love Joseph's instant, unquestioning obedience. Help me to trust You to coordinate my days. I want to learn to handle surprises with optimism and the anticipation of finding You in them. Amen.

MORE: Abandon
"Jesus sums up common-sense carefulness in a disciple as infidelity. If we have received the Spirit of God, He will press through and say - Now where does God come in in this relationship, in this mapped out holiday, in these new books? ....

"Have you ever noticed what Jesus said would choke the word He puts in? The devil? No, the cares of this world. It is the little worries always. I will not trust where I cannot see, that is where infidelity begins. The only cure for infidelity is obedience to the Spirit.

The great word of Jesus to His disciples is abandon."
- Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, May 23rd reading

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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