I remember when I would pray and then I would wait for God to answer my prayer. I would wait and wait and wait. And then I would pray again, thinking maybe God did not hear me the first time or I did not pray long or hard enough. God heard me the first time. In fact, before I opened my mouth, He knew what I was going to ask. The problem was I did not hear God. What I have realized is that when we make our request known to God or He just wants to bless us, we must listen for instructions. There. are. always. instructions.
“But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer.” (Psalm 66:19)
“I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go; I will guide thee with mine eye.” (Psalm 32:8)
“Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord.” Proverbs 16:20
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1)
In the beginning God gave Adam and Eve simple instructions. They were told that they could eat from any tree in the garden except the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Did they follow instructions? No. And now we suffer the consequences for their disobedience. Whenever we are disobedient to God’s instructions, there are consequences. Disobedience is caused by rebellion and distrust of God. When we obey God we are His light and others see us shine. This is the way we glorify our Father God.
“And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)
“If you love me, keep my commands.” (John 14:15)
“Why do you keep on saying that I am your Lord, when you refuse to do what I say?” (Luke 6:46) CEV
The night of the Passover, specific instructions were given to the Israelites so they would be protected. The Bible does not say so, but it is possible there were some who did not follow instructions and perished along with the Egyptians. I say this because scripture shows us they were stubborn and rebellious. (Exodus 32:9) Which is why eleven days of travel turned into forty years. (Deuteronomy 1) Joshua and Caleb were the only adult Israelites in that first generation who went into the promised land. We can really mess things up not only for ourselves but for our family and generations to come when we do not follow God’s instructions. God delivered the Israelites out of Egypt and then they were hardheaded and disobedient. Jesus saved us from spiritual death and set us free. We are out of Egypt, but will we be obedient and follow the Lord in humble dependence for transformation, fruitfulness, and a life of spiritual victory? We walk in victory when we submit to God.
“Do not eat it raw or boiled in water, but roast it over the fire with its head, its legs, and its entrails. 12:10 You must leave nothing until morning, but you must burn with fire whatever remains of it until morning. 12:11 This is how you are to eat it – dressed to travel, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. You are to eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover.” (Exodus 12:1-11)
“But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life.” (Romans 6:22)
“so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,” (Colossians 1:10-11)
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.” (James 4:7-8)
When we pray and ask God for something, we must listen for instructions. Then we must follow them. We may not understand them, but that is where faith comes in. All through the Bible, Old and New Testament, God has always given instructions. 2 Kings 4:1-7 tells us how God used Elisha, one of His prophets to help a poor widow. The woman’s husband died leaving her poor and with a debt she could not pay, and the creditors was threatening to take her two sons as slaves. God could have miraculously changed the heart of the creditors or given her an instant financial blessing. But instead, Elisha instructed her to use the only thing she had, which was a little olive oil. He told her to borrow empty jars from her friends and neighbors. Then go into the house and shut the door. He told her to pour the olive oil into her jars and set the jars aside. She did exactly as she was told until every jar she had borrowed was filled. And then and only then did the little olive oil stop flowing. Then Elisha instructed her to sell the olive oil to pay her debts and there was enough money left over to support her and her sons. No more lack because she followed instructions! And in 2 King 5 we hear about Naaman, who was a mighty warrior although he suffered from leprosy. Elisha, this same man of God tried to give Naaman instructions to follow so that he would be healed. Naaman became angry and left. He did not want to follow instructions; he wanted an instant miracle. After being convinced by his officers, he followed Elisha’s instructions and his flesh became as healthy as a young child. He could have been healed sooner if he had followed instructions! But I am not judging. A lot of us could have been healed sooner or received that breakthrough sooner if we had followed instructions. God uses people today to give us godly advice, knowledge, and wisdom, but even the best advice is worthless if we do not take it to heart. Jesus’s parting words to his disciples was to instruct the disciples on what they should do in His absence. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Mark 28:19-20). These words are also intended for us. After Jesus had risen, He had a conversation with Peter. Jesus tells Peter to “Feed my sheep.” (John 21:17) These instructions are also intended for the ministers and ministries in today’s world.
Thank God for the Holy Spirit who provides us with wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, courage, knowledge, comfort, and instruction. No matter what it may look like through our natural eyes, if God says do it, do it, If God says do not do it, do not do it. Do it exactly how and when He tells you, not how and when you feel it should happen! If we move ahead of God, it will not last, God will not bless us with things that we are not ready to experience. (that is how the devil works, and it does not last). If we move behind God, we may miss the opportunity or blessing. If we do not move at all, because of fear or lack of faith, we are stuck, then the enemy does a happy dance.
“Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.” (Deuteronomy 5)
“These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” (John 14:25-26)
“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:6)
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” (John 10:27)
God expects us to be obedient and those around us will be inspired by our obedience. Obedience demonstrates our faith and trust in God. As we give our heart over to His leading, we will hear His voice more and more clearly. We must learn to listen for the prompting of God and respond with faith. And let us not forget about the instruction book on life called the Bible. As we study it and meditate on every word, we come to know God better and our desire to please Him grows. We will began to walk in the Spirit which leads to a lifestyle of obedience. Love and Blessings…
“Teach me, Lord, the way of your decrees, that I may follow it to the end. Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law and obey it with all my heart.” (Psalms 119)
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” (2 Timothy 3:16)
“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” (Galatians 5)