Links Daily Devotional

Doing the Hard Thing

Obadiah was a devout believer in the LORD. While Jezebel was killing off the LORD’s prophets, Obadiah had taken a hundred prophets and hidden them in two caves, fifty in each, and supplied them with food and water. (1 Kings 18:3-4, NIV)

I have lately been involved in a study of Proverbs with a small group in my local church. The book on which it is based, A Proverbs Driven Life, by Anthony Selvaggio, considers the major themes of this biblical depository of wisdom: words, work, wealth, and relationships.

It was of Bernhard that a tour chaplain once told me, “If you show him something is in Scripture, he will immediately start doing it.”What we have seen happen throughout the church, particularly as we have come to examine our own lives in the arenas of work and wealth, are big personal changes. Some have recognized the toll their particular work takes on their family—they’re leaving those jobs for more balanced careers. Others have found they are spending their money on things that do not satisfy—they’re reordering their budgets and beginning afresh.

The presence of God in the heart of a man or woman spawns this intense effect. When we study God’s Word, read the truths and directives there, and are quickened by the Holy Spirit, very little stays the same. While salvation certainly changes a heart, the continuing growth process we call the sanctifying work of God means that the changed heart will keep changing as it is exposed to more and more of the Lord of life and the words by which he trains us.

When I consider this kind of learning followed by doing, I am often reminded of Bernhard Langer. It was of Bernhard that a tour chaplain once told me, “If you show him something is in Scripture, he will immediately start doing it.” In another context, we might call this “blind obedience.” But of the believer this is never true, for we obey with our eyes wide open to Jesus, who obeyed perfectly and calls us to the same refining changes in our lives.

What this eventually means is that you will be called on to do the hard thing. The Old Testament case of Obadiah, a man in charge of an evil king’s palace, presents a powerful example. The queen was killing God’s men; Obadiah’s response was to secret them away and save their lives—at complete risk of his own.

Obadiah’s work was no isolated task where one wipe’s his brow and mutters, “Got that out of the way.” Obadiah kept putting his life in jeopardy, arranging for the supply of food and water that sustained these men.

Are you so obedient as to do the hard thing? Often you will not know until you get there, until the challenge rises to dare you. Pray that you will then be like Bernhard Langer, like Obadiah, and like the Lord Jesus, who went to the cross when every atom of his humanity begged for another option. Pray now for your faithfulness in that day.

Jeff Hopper
April 5, 2017
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