The ‘Secret’ of Radical Obedience

Being the President of the United States is a tough job! We expect much of the man who occupies the Oval Office. The pomp that surrounds him, the motorcades, bands, Air Force One, and security detail create a picture of a man who enjoys almost godlike powers.  So we want him to create world peace, keep our economy prosperous, defeat the terrorists, and make sure that all of that Federal largesse keeps flowing to us!  We tend to let the carefully crafted image of being “The President” eclipse the reality that’s he just a politician in high office, a person who pulls on his trousers each morning one leg at time, just like us. We feel better if we think that he is bigger than life.

awesomeBecause God is Spirit, invisible to us in His Person, we tend to make Him too small! When we rob God of His majesty, our faith shrinks, too.  In our age of inquiry, we do not value mystery as much as explanation.  An unintended consequence of all our study is often to tame God.  Thinking we know more than we do, we explain away His mighty acts.

So how does He reveal Himself to us?  David sings, “The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world. God has made a home in the heavens for the sun.” (Psalm 19:1-4, NLT)  Yes, the world tells us of His greatness.  Jesus Christ shows us His wonderful heart.  He asks,  “How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?  Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.”

Honest pursuit of the knowledge of the Holy One brings His majesty into sight, His grandeur only increasing with discovery!   In that great hymn, A Mighty Fortress is Our God, a line that says, “Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same.”   Yahweh T’sebaoththe Lord of Hosts– is a name given to God often in the Old Testament.   Some modern translations say “Almighty God” but The Message comes closer to the real intent of the tithe.  In that translation we read “GOD-of-the-Angel-Armies.”    The Hebrew – “tsaba” – is a generalized word that means a force, a group, or an army. When the Scripture calls God, Yahweh T’sebaoth, the intent is to show us His power that is beyond challenge.

Let’s not trivialize God! Let’s not confuse a Christian fish on your car’s bumper, wearing a jeweled cross, or saying a ritual prayer before we drop off to sleep with the worship He desires, worship that is offering in “spirit and in truth.”   Yahweh T’sebaoth is honored by our implicit trust and complete obedience. Both of those are impossible if we make Him too small.  They are difficult sometimes because He only allows us to see a slice of time that doesn’t include a neat ending to the story of our lives!  But, we reveal our true faith and understanding of Who He Is when we see how we live in the trials that lead us into the depths of mystery.

Let me illustrate obedience.
If you think your project manager is competent, if you understand her goals, if you agree with her strategy, it’s easy to fall in line, isn’t it? If our leader inspires us we readily put ourselves wholeheartedly into the effort they are leading.

But what about the times when you don’t know the plan, when you only have your assignment, and have not worked with the one in charge enough to really know if she’s all that competent as a leader?   It is natural then to wonder – “Is this the right thing to do? Will this really succeed?”

God is Yahweh T’sebaoth – “GOD-of-the-Angel-Armies.”    Let’s trust Him totally  even when He doesn’t reveal the whole plan to us! The General of Heaven’s Armies is also the “Alpha and Omega” (The Beginning and the End) so, when He sends us into the battle in life – be it with temptation, with sickness, with Satan or his demons- we go with full assurance, and with authority – not of our own making, but from His Name!    David, just a teenager, went to do battle with Goliath, the giant champion of the Philistine army that was holding the line against the armies of Israel.    Filled with faith and in spite of not knowing exactly how the Lord would provide the victory, the teenage shepherd strode onto the field where the contest would take place.   His courage came from knowing he was in the Lord’s army.   As he approached the skilled warrior, he said, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty (Yahweh T’sebaoth), the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.  This day the LORD will hand you over to me… and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel.”  (1 Samuel 17:45-46, NIV)   And, we know the rest of the story.    David defeated the hero in the power of the Lord and God’s Name was honored.

Who is trying to stymie God’s work in your life?
Who is trying to discourage you, cause you to doubt or fear?
Bow in humble reverence, magnify God in sincere praise.

Pray that because of your reverent obedient that ‘the whole world will know that there is a God!’

Here is the word from the Word.   “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.”  Amen  (Ephesians 1:17-19, NIV)


Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)

You call me out upon the waters,

The great unknown, where feet may fail.

And there I find You in the mystery,

In oceans deep, my faith will stand.


And I will call upon Your name

And keep my eyes above the waves,

When oceans rise,

My soul will rest in Your embrace,

For I am Yours and You are mine.


Your grace abounds in deepest waters,

Your sov’reign hand will be my guide.

Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me,

You’ve never failed and You won’t start now.


Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders.

Let me walk upon the waters,

Wherever You would call me.

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander

And my faith will be made stronger

In the presence of my Savior.


I will call upon Your name.

Keep my eyes above the waves.

My soul will rest in Your embrace.

I am Yours and You are mine!

Joel Houston | Matt Crocker | Salomon Ligthelm

© 2012 Hillsong Music Publishing (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing)

For use solely with the SongSelect Terms of Use.  All rights reserved.

CCLI License # 810055

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