“I really don’t think…….you are in a bargaining position with God. He is the Master. He is the Commanding Officer. It is not for you to have input. It is simply for you to accept the orders as the orders are given.”—–Elizabeth Elliot
I have really enjoyed the book, “Lone Survivor” by Marcus Luttrell——-a.k.a. Navy Seal. It has been fascinating, amazing and has right out left me speechless as I read of the desire, discipline, endurance, unselfishness, strength, honor, courage, love and OBEDIENCE a person must have to become a Navy Seal. I have always respected the men and women who give their lives to defend our country and our freedom but that respect is at an ALL NEW LEVEL. I love the line in the book where Marcus says of the Seals, “we are your FRONT LINE,” meaning they will face anything, any danger, any threat, no matter what the cost, to obey orders to honor their commitment and love for their country. As I have read the book, I have paralleled it to my love for God and asked myself, “Am I willing to be a Front Line for God and my faith?” For a Navy Seal and for a Christian, the identical question you have to ask yourself is……..”Will I OBEY, no matter what????????”
Living the Christian life, and living in the God-created “Strength Zone,” all rests on OBEDIENCE. There has to be a “YES” to whatever your Commanding Officer (God) asks of you! I have also looked at “my yes” as it parallels to a Navy Seal’s “yes.” When a Navy Seal is given a command they shout, “Yes Sir,” often repeating the command and then acting immediately and usually with an all-out sprint. I have stopped to reflect……”When God asks me to do something, how do I respond?” As I have read about Navy Seals, I have realized the LIFE IMPORTANCE of obedience and carefully following the details of the command. “Lone Survivor” takes you through the process of what it takes to become a “SEAL” and what it looks like in action “against hostile threats in enemy territory in Afghanistan against men, women and children who would cut your throat no matter if it cost them their life.”
A Navy Seal’s commanding officer gives me a picture of God as our Commander. The commander has all the “intelligence”, all the “intel” of what the Navy Seal is going to face, from where the enemy resides and hides, to what weapons they will possess, to what they look like, to all their tricks. The commanding officer has the ability to send in help, aid, and back-up support. Funny, God has all of that and more when He calls us to our Created Strength Zone. God has the helicopter view. He can send in reinforcements and equip us with anything we need for accomplishing the command. We will be equipped even more than a Navy Seal. Our job is the same as the Navy Seal’s–OBEY, immediately and fully. Where the Navy Seal obeys out of commitment and love of country, the Christian obeys out of love for their God.
Obedience in the Christian life is where the rubber hits the road. I think of Moses! He loved God. He was a murderer yet God still used him in a mighty way to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. He equipped Moses as a leader by providing help and everything they needed for the journey. Their lack of obedience at times made the journey longer and harder but God never did forsake Moses. I think of how God provided Moses and the Israelites with water…. The first time Moses was told by God to strike a rock for water. Moses obeyed. He struck the rock and water came pouring out. But the second time the Israelites needed water was a little different. Let me set the scene:
It was apparently the first month of the 40th year of wandering in the wilderness. There was a new generation of people in Israel. Moses had just buried his sister. He had reached that point in his life when many of his friends had died. In this time of grief and transition he had to face another crisis with the Israelites.
There was no water and the people began to panic. They complained. They hurled attacks at Moses and he was angry. We don’t know why Moses got so angry. Maybe it was the strain of grief. Maybe it was the weariness of the years. Maybe it was from concern that after 40 years the Israelites were going to do something stupid again and they would end up wandering another 40 years. All we know is the people were complaining and Moses was mad. We read,
“Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the Tent of Meeting and fell facedown, and the glory of the LORD appeared to them. The LORD said to Moses, ‘Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.’” [Numbers 20:6-8]
God in His incredible mercy and grace gives Moses simple instructions, “Take the staff, SPEAK to the rock, and water will come out.” After these instructions, Moses heads back to the people and we read the account that Moses regretted most in his life.
“So Moses took the staff from the LORD’s presence, just as he commanded him. He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, ‘Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?’ Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.” [Numbers 20:9-11]
Moses struck the rock instead of simply speaking to it as he was commanded. To you and me it seems like a pretty minor offense for a guy who had been so faithful. But God saw it differently.
“’Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.’” [Numbers 20:12]
Life is a series of interrelated moments. And if we were to visit with Moses, I think he would have a truckload of these moments he would consider memorable. When asked about the high points of his life, surely Moses would point to His experiences of talking with God “face to face”; the burning bush that didn’t burn; the parting of the red sea; the incredible miracles in the desert. I can only imagine the hours we could spend mesmerized by these accounts from the lips of Moses.
However, if you were to ask Moses about the things he regretted in his life, I’m sure one would be the act of disobedience in not speaking to the rock. It kept him from entering the “Promised Land.”
Our life is a series of moments. And some of those moments impact us for the rest of our lives:
- The pass that was dropped/caught in the big game.
- The stock you failed to invest in (or did invest in).
- The moment of rage that caused you to hurt another.
- The job you took (or didn’t take).
- The moment of passion that led to an inappropriate relationship.
- The angry words that spewed hate and inflicted scars that never healed OR the word of encouragement that inspired you.
- The missed/made putt to win/lose a tournament
- Will you marry me?
God does redeem and restore but Obedience to God can save us from regret.
Obedience TO GOD IS A MUST TO LIVE IN THE CREATED STRENGTH ZONE OF YOUR LIFE…………IT WILL BE THE DEFINING MOMENT OF THE WHOLE DIRECTION OR REDIRECTION OF YOUR LIFE. Keep in mind–Christ is the only One who was able to be perfectly obedient. We will never be perfectly obedient but our obedience should flow out of a love for God, out of joy for what He has done for us.