Bible Ballistics: Vol. 11 No. 09 Commitment Or Convenience???
We live in a world of rushing, pressure and stress, and often we get so caught up in the “hurry” of the minute that we forget that there are things that we are to set as priorities in keeping our commitments to God and others. But we often say, “I’m in a hurry!” And hurried we are, but have we allowed ‘hurry’ to excuse convenience over commitment? Let’s take a glimpse at a couple of people who show us that the hurried decision isn’t necessarily the right decision!
Let’s start with Abraham (Also known as Abram). Abram had been called by God to leave his country and his people to go to a place that God had for him. Abraham started on a journey of the “unknown” by faith, but a faith that wasn’t the faith that he would come to have. When we read of Abram starting in chapter 12 we find him called by God—and it is always God who initiates our relationship to Him—it was then and it is now. Salvation is never our idea, but God’s!
“Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves.
44 No man can come to me,
except the Father which hath sent me
and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:43-44
It’s the convicting work of the Holy Spirit that brings us to God, and keeps us when we come to Jesus in repentance and faith! That’s why the author of the book of Hebrews describes Jesus in the way that he does:
“Looking unto Jesus
of our faith;
who for the joy that was set before him
endured the cross,
despising the shame,
and is set down
at the right hand
of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
God by HIS Spirit convicts and calls us to the cross, and then leads us by the power of Jesus’ cross!
“Nevertheless I tell you the truth;
It is expedient for you that I go away:
for if I go not away,
the Comforter will not come
but if I depart,
I will send him
8 And when he is come,
he will reprove the world of sin,
and of righteousness,
and of judgment:” John 16:7-8
We must understand that God’s work is done by God, and God alone. Only God can bring a sinner to see his sin, and cover that sin with the blood of His “only begotten Son”! We don’t receive salvation at our discretion but at the call of God. But back to Abraham’s call—he was called of God and came to be a believer in the coming Messiah (which is how anyone is saved—by believing in Jesus’ work of atonement for our sin, by His death, burial and resurrection for our sin—whether Old or New Testament believers! They in believing it was coming, us in believing in its accomplishment!)
“And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.
6 And he believed in the LORD;
and he counted it to him
7 And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.” Genesis 15:5-7
Paul helps us to understand that salvation was, is and always will be by grace through faith!!!
“For what saith the scripture?
Abraham believed God,
and it was counted unto him
4 Now to him that worketh
is the reward not reckoned of grace,
but of debt.
5 But to him that worketh not,
on him that justifieth the ungodly,
his faith is counted
for righteousness.” Romans 4:3-5
“Even as Abraham believed God,
and it was accounted to him
7 Know ye therefore that
they which are of faith,
the same are the children of Abraham.
8 And the scripture,
foreseeing that God would justify
the gospel unto Abraham,
In thee shall all nations
be blessed.” Galatians 3:6-8
It is by faith that we are God’s, and by faith we walk with HIM—Jesus is that blessing, The Savior! But faith isn’t perfect, and even Abraham had a major faith failure simply because he was “in a hurry” and he and Sarah decided that God needed “help” in bringing His promises to fulfillment. This man who received the promise of God that The Messiah would come through his descendants! But like us, Abraham got into that “I’m in a hurry!” mode!
“Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. 2 And Sarai said unto Abram,
the LORD hath restrained me
I pray thee,
go in unto my maid;
it may be that
I may obtain children
And Abram hearkened
to the voice of Sarai.” Genesis 16:1-2
Abraham “hearkened to the voice” of his wife, instead of waiting on God’s provision of that ‘child of promise’; yet even in his failure God still had a divine purpose for Abraham and a time for this ‘child of promise’!
“And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo,
Sarah thy wife shall have a son.
And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. 11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age;
and it ceased to be with Sarah
after the manner of women.
12 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying,
After I am waxed old
shall I have pleasure,
my lord being old also?
13 And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying,
Shall I of a surety bear a child,
which am old?
14 Is any thing too hard for the LORD?
At the time appointed
I will return unto thee,
according to the time of life,
and Sarah shall have a son.” Genesis 18:10-14
Did you get that? “At the time appointed” God said that HE would return to perform HIS promise, and Sarah would bear a son at 90 years old, fathered by a man 100 years old. And God kept His Word! I find it most interesting that the book of Hebrews, once again, confirms what God promised and fulfilled—beyond the boundary of human ability (The ability to conceive and bear a child after the “child-bearing” years have passed, as well as a man’s ability to father a child!) And even as God asked Abraham, He asks us today, “Is any thing too hard for the LORD?” Yet so often, our answer is, “But Lord, I’m in a hurry?
“Through faith also
Sara herself received strength
to conceive seed,
and was delivered of a child
when she was past age,
because she judged him faithful
who had promised.
12 Therefore sprang there even of one,
and him as good as dead,
so many as the stars of the sky
and as the sand which is by the
sea shore innumerable.” Hebrews 11:11-12
And one thing we need to remember in these volatile days is that we are still reaping the results of Abraham’s “hurried” decision! And when we hurry and go for convenience rather than commitment and devoted “faith” we too will have consequences—some small and some with generational effects! We could go on with our study of Abraham, but there is another man in scripture that I want us to look at today, for while Abraham rushed in and didn’t walk by faith, this other man let “hurry” push him to the point of destroying his own life, testimony and heritage. What about you and I, what are we doing when we get in a “hurry”? Are we waiting on God or rushing in “where angels fear to tread”? Are we more concerned with our own fleshly convenience? Or are we waiting on God to work out HIS will in our lives, in HIS time? Oh, I’ve just got to tell you, this is much easier to write than to practice, especially as we are seeing the need to apply this every day going through a major move in our lives—but the principle is true no matter the test!
Let’s take a look at the first King of Israel, Saul.
“Then Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured it upon his head, and kissed him, and said, Is it not because the LORD hath anointed thee to be captain over his inheritance?” 1 Samuel 10:1
Saul was anointed King of Israel, and went forth to serve God and lead the nation of Israel. Yet he faltered rather quickly, and while we will only consider one instance of his “faith failure” in this article, you can read of the compromise that he continued to exhibit as he went forward, giving more import to convenience rather than commitment to “wait on the Lord”! (You can read about another instance in 1 Samuel 15!) Oh that we would learn to trust to HIS timing in all our ways! That is my prayer for each of us!
“When the men of Israel saw that they were in a strait, (for the people were distressed,) then the people did hide themselves in caves, and in thickets, and in rocks, and in high places, and in pits. 7 And some of the Hebrews went over Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead.
As for Saul, he was yet in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling.
8 And he tarried seven days,
according to the set time
that Samuel had appointed:
but Samuel came not to Gilgal;
and the people were scattered from him.
9 And Saul said,
Bring hither a burnt offering
and peace offerings.
And he offered the burnt offering.
10 And it came to pass,
that as soon as he had made an end
of offering the burnt offering,
behold, Samuel came;
and Saul went out to meet him,
that he might salute him.
11 And Samuel said,
What hast thou done?
And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me,
and that thou camest not
within the days appointed,
and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash;
12 Therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal,
and I have not made supplication
unto the LORD:
I forced myself therefore,
and offered a burnt offering.
13 And Samuel said to Saul,
Thou hast done foolishly:
thou hast not kept the commandment
of the LORD thy God,
which he commanded thee:
for now would the LORD have
established thy kingdom
14 But now thy kingdom
shall not continue:
the LORD hath sought him a man
after his own heart,
and the LORD hath commanded him
to be captain over his people,
because thou hast not kept
that which the LORD
commanded thee.” 1 Samuel 13:6-14
Presumption and what seemed to be the convenient thing brought an end to a dynasty that Saul could have had, all because of his presumption and “I can’t wait!” attitude. Hurry can do that! When we choose convenience over obedience it will never end well. And just a portion about another ‘bad choice’ of Saul’s, may help us understand the import that God places on obedience and commitment to Him—regardless of timing or convenience!
“And Samuel said,
Hath the LORD as great delight
in burnt offerings
as in obeying the voice
of the LORD?
Behold, to obey
is better than sacrifice,
and to hearken
than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion
is as the sin of witchcraft,
is as iniquity
Because thou hast rejected
the word of the LORD,
he hath also rejected thee
from being king.
24 And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.
25 Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the LORD.
26 And Samuel said unto Saul,
I will not return with thee:
for thou hast rejected
the word of the LORD,
and the LORD hath rejected
from being king over Israel.” 1 Samuel 15:22-26
What are you afraid of? Will you choose commitment or convenience? The choice is yours! Don’t miss HIS voice!!!
“And the LORD said,
My spirit shall not always strive with man…..”