I was reading in Isaiah chapter 20 this morning. Just look at what God asked of him in this one instance:
20 In the year that Tartan[a] came to Ashdod, when Sargon the king of Assyria sent him, and he fought against Ashdod and took it, 2 at the same time the Lord spoke by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, “Go, and remove the sackcloth from your body, and take your sandals off your feet.” And he did so, walking naked and barefoot.3 Then the Lord said, “Just as My servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot three years for a sign and a wonder against Egypt and Ethiopia, 4 so shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians as prisoners and the Ethiopians as captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt. 5 Then they shall be afraid and ashamed of Ethiopia their expectation and Egypt their glory. 6 And the inhabitant of this territory will say in that day, ‘Surely such is our expectation, wherever we flee for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria; and how shall we escape?’”
Do you realize that God asked this man to go around naked and barefoot for three years!!!!!
He used that as a way to prophecy to Egypt and Ethiopia.
I don't know about you, but I would be hard pressed to follow that command. Isaiah must have been ridiculed, mocked, and humiliated. What did people think of him or say to him? I really wonder.
There are so many times we think we know what God would want us to do. Do we really? Do we really understand and hear the voice of God and His commands? Would we obey if we think it is outlandish or if it something we deem as crazy?
This makes me think of the basic commands we already know he has given. Am I willing to completely give myself over to those basic commands? You know the ones that say things like:
Love your enemies.
Do good to those who hurt you.
If they ask for your coat, give them your cloak too.
Forgive 70 times 7.
Love one another, forgive one another.
Go forth and preach the gospel
Romans 12:1-2 says I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
He asks us to present ourselves as a living sacrifice. He states this is only the basic or reasonable thing he asking. It is not over the top, crazy or even above average.
It is average. I can say I have yet to completely understand my reasonable service. I have yet to be just the average follower in God's eyes. His average follower that he asks for is given over wholly to His service. Not just what I think He wants, but completely obeys the commands of God in spite of personal comfort, or opinion.
Isaiah did not question the command of God to strip down and run around naked for three years just so God could make a point. He obeyed. That is what God is asking for: obedience. Obeying without question, obedience to the reasonable requests he makes of us.
1 Samuel 15:22 says So Samuel said: “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.
God wants obedient children, not just sacrifice to make up for our disobedience.
He is eager to use us for the kingdom of God, but we must be willing vessels. We must be obedient, even when it may not make sense to us.
Does God always make sense to us? The answer is 'no.' We are merely humans, the creation, while he is the Heavenly Father, the creator.
We may not always see the big picture, but He does. We may not understand why we are asked to do something in particular. It may not even look like it was effective or accomplished anything, but God knows what the purpose is. His plan will go forward and He will use us if we are willing.
Isaiah 55:8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
Let's really learn to hear the voice of God and obey. He knows what He is doing.