Abraham chose obedience, left his home for a place he did not know, and became the “father of many nations” (Genesis 12:1; 17:4-5). Noah built an ark, following the Lord’s instructions even though it had never rained. Through his obedience he and his family were saved (Genesis 7:23). David chose not to kill Saul when he had the opportunity in the cave even though David was God’s clear choice for king and a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 24:6; Acts 13:22). James and John stepped out of their father’s boat and family business and changed the world as disciples of Christ (Matthew 4:21-22).
What is the common denominator in each of these stories? 1 Samuel 15:22 indicates that God prefers obedience to sacrifice. It is not our choices that bring us into our destiny – it is our willingness to obey.
While God wants us to choose obedience and He gives us the right to choose, sometimes He will accept nothing less. Jonah refused to obey God. In fact, he bought a ticket on a boat that would take him almost 2,500 miles in the opposite direction (Jonah 1:2-3), which was no small thing in that day. But God had other plans. He sent a storm and a fish and brought Jonah back “into obedience” to complete His purposes in Jonah’s life and for the city of Nineveh.
How about you? Are there areas of your life or in your heart where you know God is calling you to obedience? Have there been consequences when you have refused? Paul Tripp put it this way: “You have no reason for fear when you answer God’s call on your life; you have every reason to be afraid when you put your life in your own hands.”