“Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”
(From the hymn “Trust and Obey,” written by John H. Sammis, 1887)
These are simple words, but the truth behind them is powerful. As Christians we have made the decision to follow God wherever He may lead. This requires our utmost obedience and trust in the Father who knows the perfect path for us—a path that leads to true joy which the world cannot begin to offer. But sometimes following this path means facing our fears.
Do you know where God is leading you, but you’re having a hard time trusting Him? Is the path one that scares you? Do you doubt your ability to fulfill the task? If this is you, you are certainly not alone. Not only are there other brothers and sisters out there who feel the same way (including me), but there are some significant Bible figures who went through the same experience. Let’s take a look at one of them.
In Exodus 3, Moses has quite an unusual encounter with God as he approaches an inconsumable burning bush. The Lord entrusts Moses with the task of freeing his people from their oppression in Egypt, and He reassures him that He will work wonders to make it happen. Even though Moses knows the plan, he has some fears.
“Then Moses said, “What if they will not believe me or listen to what I say? For they may say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you.’” (Ex. 4:1 NASB)
“What if?” I am guilty of starting many excuses with these two little words. This phrase assumes the worst and reveals doubt–doubt in God and doubt in myself. In Moses’ situation, he is worried about what people think. Despite what God has shared with him and the right answers to give, Moses doubts. In truth, I can’t blame him. To walk into another nation and speak to the highest authority there who has continued to enslave his people is not an easy task. But God in His mercy provides a solution. He changes Moses’ ordinary staff into one that demonstrates the miraculous power of God and gives Moses the gift of performing miracles so that His people might see and believe (Ex. 4:2-9, 17).
Yet even with such amazing gifts of power, Moses has another problem. He doesn’t speak very well.
“’Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”’ (Ex. 4:10).
Even after the Lord reassures Moses that He will be his mouthpiece, Moses still wants the Lord to send the message by someone else. At this point the Lord becomes angry (v. 14). And why shouldn’t He be? He’s revealed Himself to Moses, chosen him for this task, told him what’s going to happen, assured him that his people will be set free, and gifted him with miracles. Yet how many times has the Lord worked in our lives and then when a new task comes along, we doubt? We are not so different from Moses. Moses wants to be a perfect messenger, one in whom his people can place their trust, but he feels inadequate. And in the world’s eyes, he is. However, throughout Scripture God repeatedly works through human weakness. In 2 Corinthians 12 God conveys to Paul that power is perfected through weakness. His grace is sufficient (2 Cor. 12:9). The only One we should boast in is the Lord, not ourselves. That’s what the Lord is telling Moses in Exodus 4: “Trust Me.” So Moses decides to take his family to Egypt and meet Aaron who will be his mouthpiece (still with God’s help). Together, they meet with the elders of Israel and share God’s words and miracles. The Lord has heard His people’s cries and is ready to act!
Even with a rocky start, Moses becomes the leader God created him to be. As we know, the rest of the story involves trials and many plagues demonstrating God’s power and glory. Yet Moses’ trust in God brings about a new age for Israel. They are finally free after four hundred years! This is just the beginning of what Moses will do on Israel’s behalf. The Law God gives to Israel through Moses becomes the foundation by which Israel is judged and remains as such until Christ’s death and resurrection.
I can’t imagine what would’ve happened had Moses turned away from God after “What if?” Perhaps God would’ve chosen someone else. It’s something we can hardly speculate. However, we can look at our own lives. Has God ever asked us to do something, and we didn’t do it? Conversely, have we followed God’s instructions and now can’t imagine what life would be like if we had disobeyed? In my own walk with God I can answer affirmatively to both of these questions.
Sometimes the opportunities that were once presented before us are no longer there. We can’t dwell on them, but what we can do is place our trust in God and ask Him for another chance. Our hearts must be willing and sincere to follow no matter what the task may be. Remember, the Lord works through our weaknesses so that He may be glorified. The Lord will not make Himself look like a fool.
There have been moments in my life when I had no doubt what God was asking me to do. I knew the task would be hard, but I made the choice to trust Him and take those steps. I couldn’t see the outcome, and at times I feared the worst, but God remained faithful. These choices have truly changed my life despite trials and hardships. I wouldn’t change them for anything. Yet even now I face another task, one that for some would be easy: teaching. Like Moses, I feel inadequate, but as we just studied in Scripture, that’s the best time for me to give it all up to God.
I recently heard on the radio that the thing that scares us the most is often what frees us. I think there is truth to that. The enemy would like nothing more for us to be enslaved to fear. He wants to use our weaknesses to destroy us and our faith in God. God wants to use our weaknesses to bring glory to His name. What will we choose today? Who do we want to become? What do we have to lose if we have God and each other (like Moses had Aaron) to lift us up?
Let’s trust and obey.
“But we never can prove the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.”
(From the hymn “Trust and Obey”, verse 4, written by John H. Sammis)
For more encouraging words about trusting and obeying God, please check out a wonderful post written by Karina from the blog Karina’s Thought: https://karinasussanto.wordpress.com/?s=trust+and+obey.