WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JANUARY 05, 2023
TOPIC: OBEDIENCE TO GOD: FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF ABRAHAM
BY T. O. BANSO
“Then the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said: ‘By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son – blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice” (Genesis 22:15-18 New King James Version).
Galatians 3:13-14 says, “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (New King James Version).
There, in this scripture, is the phrase “the blessing of Abraham.” Christians often sing about Abraham’s blessing being theirs, and that is true, as this scripture says. Because of the Gentiles’ faith in Jesus Christ, the blessing of Abraham belongs to them, who are not biological descendants of Abraham. Galatians 3:29 says, “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (New King James Version).
As Abraham’s seed, we should try to emulate his obedience, which was borne out of his faith in God. Abraham demonstrated obedience to God in unique ways that provoked the blessing of God on Him. If we also obey God, we shall receive His blessing. James 1:25 says, “But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does” (New King James Version).
The Amplified Bible puts James 1:25 this way: “But he who looks carefully into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and faithfully abides by it, not having become a [careless] listener who forgets but [a]an active doer [who obeys], he will be blessed and favored by God in what he does [in his life of obedience].”
As Christians and the seed of Abraham, our life of obedience shall be blessed just as Abraham’s life of obedience was. We should walk in his footsteps as we also appropriate his blessing – Abraham’s blessing.
Genesis 12 records the call of Abraham by God and his obedience. Verses 1-3 say, “Now the Lord had said to Abram: ‘Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (New King James Version).
The demand by God from Abraham was not an easy or convenient one for a 75-year-old man but because of Abraham’s faith in God, he obeyed. God is more concerned about His will for your life, which is the best for you, than your comfort. Abraham left his comfort zone in obedience to God.
Genesis 12:4-5 says, “So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan” (New King James Version).
Are you ready to obey God when His command takes you out of your comfort zone? Abraham obeyed God by faith. Hebrews 11:8 says, “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going” (New King James Version).
Years later, God made another demand from Abraham, which tested his faith in God. Unless someone had faith in God, there was no way he would have obeyed God’s command to go and sacrifice his son, whom he waited for twenty-five years before God’s promise to him about his birth was fulfilled. God’s command to sacrifice Isaac appeared contrary to His promise to make Abraham a father of many nations and Sarah a mother of nations (Genesis 17:4, 5, 16). How would that be possible after killing the only child they both have together? But he chose to believe and obey God even if He didn’t understand Him.
Genesis 22:2 says, “Then He said, ‘Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you’” (New King James Version).
Again, Abraham obeyed God. Verse 3 says, “So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him” (New King James Version).
Abraham had a strong faith in God, so he obeyed Him but before he could sacrifice Isaac, the angel of the LORD stopped him. “And He said, ‘Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me’” (verse 12 New King James Version). God provided a ram for sacrifice in place of Isaac (verse 13).
Isaiah 1:19 says if you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land. Because Abraham obeyed God, He blessed him. “Then the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said: ‘By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son – blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice’” (Genesis 22:15-18 New King James Version).
Abraham obeyed God even when he didn’t understand why God commanded him to sacrifice Isaac. “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, ‘In Isaac your seed shall be called,’ concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense” (Hebrews 11:17-19 New King James Version). He obeyed God by faith, believing that if he sacrificed Isaac, as God had commanded, He would bring him back to life.
The Apostle James asks in James 2:21-22 asks, “Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?” (New King James Version). Show your faith in God by obeying Him.
The Prophet Samuel says in 1 Samuel 15:22 that to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. Obedience will release God’s blessing upon your life, as it did for Abraham. Abraham is an example of faith and obedience to God in the Bible. The Bible uses the phrase “the faith of Abraham” in Romans 4:16 and refers to him as the father of us all. And as Romans 4:12 says, believers should walk in the steps of the faith “which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised.”
In Genesis 17, God commanded Abraham to circumcise every male child in his family as a sign of His covenant with him. Abraham and his descendants were to continue to do this. In his characteristic manner, Abraham obeyed God. The Bible says Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin (verse 24). How comfortable do you think that was? A ninety-year-old man undergoing the pain of circumcision!
In addition, he obeyed God by circumcising Ishmael, the son born to him by his wife’s maid, Hagar. Ishmael was thirteen years old then. Abraham also circumcised every male born in his house and all who were bought with his money, as God had said to him (verses 23, 25).
To show how obedient Abraham was, the Bible says, he obeyed God the same day he commanded him (verses 23, 26). Abraham didn’t delay his obedience. Verses 26-27 say, “That very same day Abraham was circumcised, and his son Ishmael; and all the men of his house, born in the house or bought with money from a foreigner, were circumcised with him” (New King James Version). Are you guilty of disobeying God? Delay obedience is disobedience. The psalmist says, “Without delay I hurry to obey your commands” (Psalm 119:60 Good News Translation).
The hallmark of Abraham’s life was obedience to God. God told Isaac, “And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws” (Genesis 26:4-5 New King James Version).
Believe in God and obey Him. Galatians 3:6-7 says just as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness, therefore, only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. James 2:23 and Romans 4:3 says that Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Abraham delighted in the command of God and obeyed Him. Therefore, he was blessed. You will be blessed too if you obey God.
Psalm 112:1-2 says, “Praise the LORD! Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, Who delights greatly in His commandments. His descendants will be mighty on earth; the generation of the upright will be blessed” (New King James Version).
Don’t be disobedient to God. Defending Himself on the accusation against him, Paul told King Agrippa, concerning his conversion, “Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance” (Acts 26:19-20 New King James Version).
Show your faith in God by obeying Him. Without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). Obey God; don’t disobey Him.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, forgive me in the different ways I have disobeyed You. Holy Spirit, help me to obey the Word of God in the Bible and His instructions to me even when they don’t make sense to me. I shall not be disobedient to God in Jesus’ name.
(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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