Delayed Obedience: Do It Now!

This will be quick. I love it when a passage of Scripture hits me over the head. Particularly when I notice something new in a verse or chapter even though I have read it numerous times before. This exact thing happened recently as I read the book of Joshua. New lessons about obedience took shape in my mind. Maybe the same will happen for you.

I think we can all agree that obedience to God is a good thing. If you have spent any time reading the Bible, you know there are some positive and negative commands. Positive meaning, “Do this” and negative meaning, “Don’t do this.” Scripture makes it abundantly clear that obedience is of utmost importance. So, when I read Joshua 2, verses 8 through 11, it felt like a splash of ice-cold water in my face.

Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof and said to them, “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. 10 We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea[a] for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed.[b]

11 When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.

Joshua 2:8-11

Perhaps we should jump back in time a bit so we can fully appreciate what is being communicated in this moment. First, the children of Israel are finally ready to conquer the Promised Land. They send a few spies into the first fortified city they reach – Jericho. These spies are hidden by a prostitute named Rahab. She is the one talking in the passage quoted above.

Obedience is the very best way…

So, what does this have to do with obedience? The people of Jericho were terrified of the Israelite’s God. See verse 10 specifically for why they were afraid. “We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea.” Do you realize how long ago that was from Rahab’s time? 40 years. Word had spread to the people of Jericho of all the things God had done for His people. They had heard about the miracles, the battles won, all of it.

Again, what does this have to do with obedience? Did you catch it? I admit, I’ve missed it my entire life. The Israelites were supposed to have taken the Promised Land a generation before this, but they were afraid after ten of the twelve spies returned with negative reports. God had promised them the land. He had guided and protected them every step of the way, as long as they were obedient. But once they reached the border of Canaan, they cowered in fear and disobeyed. God punished them by keeping them out of the land of promise until that unfaithful and disobedient generation was dead.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way…

The children of Israel were afraid because they thought the people of Canaan were too many, too strong, and too big to conquer. Yet, Rahab testifies that the people of Canaan were already terrified of the Israelites. They had heard about the power of the Israelite God and their “hearts melted” and their “courage failed”. God had prepared the way for Israel. The land was theirs. They only needed to obey. Instead of obedience, they doubted and turned away from God’s plan.

Eventually, they did obey. Forty years later. Forty years of suffering in the wilderness. Every adult dying during the wandering, besides those who had remained faithful. Think about how much the children of Israel missed out on by delaying their obedience. God still gave them the land. He still blessed them with a land flowing with milk and honey. But an entire generation missed out enjoying all of that due their delayed obedience.

Final thoughts on obedience

If God has impressed something upon your heart, do it now. Don’t delay your obedience. Obey now. Don’t be like the Israelites and suffer for your delayed obedience. No matter how small, if God is telling you to do something, don’t hesitate. If God is asking you to take a huge leap of faith for Him, go ahead and jump. Don’t let your lack of obedience keep you from God’s will and best plan for your life.

Phill Lytle
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Phill Lytle

Phill Lytle loves Jesus, his wife, his kids, his family, his friends, his church, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, 80s rock, the Tennessee Titans, Brandon Sanderson books, Whiteheart, Band of Brothers, Thai food, the Nashville Predators, music, books, movies, TV, writing, pizza, vacation...

One thought on “Delayed Obedience: Do It Now!

  • June 20, 2023 at 1:14 pm
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    Excellent thought! Prompt obedience is God’s way. And continued obedience, like Enoch from yesterday. Thanks, Phill.

    Reply

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