The Bible is full of people going about their lives, doing their thing, when something extraordinary happens that completely changes their life, and the lives of those around them. Gods grace in using the ordinary to bring about the extraordinary never ceases to amaze me, but it seems that often the initial reaction of the person involved is not what you would expect from someone exposed to a supernatural event.
For example, in reading through the book of Luke recently we get the story of Zechariah`s amazing visitation from and Angel of the Lord. Luke Ch 1 verses 5 - 23 explains that Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth had always wanted children but it just didn't happen and now they were old. But one day as Zechariah was faithfully completing his duty in the temple he was visited by an angel ( not your usual everyday experience even if you are a priest of the Lord! ) who told him he would have a son and not just any son, he would be a prophet "He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah,. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord" (verses 16 & 17). His son would be a very special person who would be used to proclaim and baptise the saviour of the world. So there before Zechariah stood an angel; a very impressive being. As a priest Zechariah would be totally aware of how and incredible and supernatural an event this was and how humbled he should feel to be visited by such a heavenly being.
But Zechariahs response was so typically human (Verse 18) Zechariah said to the Angel "How can I be sure this will happen? I`m an old man now and my wife is also well along in years" We may at this point be tempted to criticise Zechariah`s response to such a supernatural declaration, but I find that I am so often like this. God speaks in an amazing supernatural way and tells me something, confirms through scripture and I still respond with human logic. "But how can that happen Lord?" It's a really human response and I often think that the Lord is so patient as to go the extra mile, with us and work with us. For Zechariah the Lord said ''Okay because you didn't believe you will not be able to speak until the child is born''. In the face of questioning an omnipotent God, you would have expected far harsher consequences, but the Lord thankfully understands our human frailty and gives grace until we can come into a place of submission, acceptance and faith.
But there do have to be consequences that will continually challenge us until we do finally come into a place of obedience to what the Lord has told us. For Zechariah it came at the birth of his son and although he couldn't speak still, he indicated that he wanted to call his son John the name the Angel had given him. Only in that act of obedience was Zechariah able to step fully into the promise of the Lord to have his speech return and also be free to prophecy of, and herald in the coming of the saviour.
We have many accounts in the Bible of mighty men of God who when visited by an Angel who told them the word of the Lord clearly, then questioned it. Moses was spoken to out of a burning bush and told to go and deliver Israel from Pharaohs' hand, but argued he was not able to speak properly, God even gave him miraculous signs and still he protested that God must have got it wrong to choose him. Gideon also couldn't believe that the Lord would choose such a lowly person to deliver the people and conquer the enemy, he asked for a sign more than once and gracefully and patiently God gave him that sign. Even faced with a Heavenly messenger, an Angel, these men resorted to logic and their own thinking to try and rationalise what the Lord was saying rather than accepting the word of the Lord and acting on it: just because it was the Lord that was speaking.
As I said it's easy to point the finger at these guys but I find I do this all the time. I read a verse like Philippians 4 v 13 `I can do all this through Him who gives me strength` and immediately come up with a hundred logical reasons why I can't. I really think though that there is a great lesson to learn here. When the Lord speaks to us, He really does expect us to do as he asks. (John 14 v 15 'If you love me obey my commandments'. NLT) but He also knows that we are human and from time to time (or every time) we will question what He is asking. It would seem that His grace will allow us to do this and give us time to bring our will and understanding into line with His word and His spirit and then we can come into obedience. Although we can often experience some consequences during this process, just as Zechariah did. However, the truth is if we love the Lord we know that he has a perfect plan for our lives even if we don't always understand or are willing to accept it at the time, we must trust him and obey.
At the time of writing this I know the Lord has asked me to do something, something I keep putting off because I think of all the reasons why I shouldn't do it, the possible outcomes of me doing it, how it could go okay or how it could go very wrong, so I am dithering between two opinions, Gods and my own. I know even as I write that this is a ridiculous place to be and I really should read my own blog and stop avoiding doing what the Lord has told me to do. I share this because this is a real thing in my life and I'm sure a real thing in many lives, we dither in doing what we know the Lord wants us to do because of all the logical reasons of why it could go wrong or not happen at all. I have now decided to obey what the Lord is telling me to do. Maybe my next blog will be about the outcome?
Be blessed today in your struggle to always do what He commands and I pray you will be able to come to a place of obedience and fulfilment of Gods purposes for your life.