Wednesday, February 6, 2019

"GO!"

Douglas Frank Photo


GO!

Do you think that Christianity is an active faith? By this I mean does it’s namesake want action out of believers. Jesus Christ after His resurrection and before ascending to heaven twice exhorted the disciples with “Go.” He told the women who had come to His tomb “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers, to go to Galilee; there I will meet them” (Matthew 28:10). Shortly before meeting Messiah the women had been admonished by the angel to come and see the place where He lay and to “go quickly” to tell the disciples. They were afraid and yet filled with joy at the same time. Then when Jesus with full authority did meet the 11 in Galilee He spoke what is known as the Great Commission saying, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20). Pretty clear instructions for all ages, not to stay in fear, but to “Go.”  This is the mission of all Christian disciples, “to send” and be the “sent,” and He will never leave or forsake us.

Way back in Genesis God became disgusted with the immoral disobedience of men so He found one righteous man, Noah who He commanded to build an ark and told him, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family because I have found you righteous in this generation” (Genesis 7:1). Of course we know the rest of the story as Noah brought all the animals 2x2 and waited for the flood. After cleaning house, God sent Abram to leave his country and “go to the land I will show you” (Genesis 12:1) and he did.  Now Sarai, his wife tried this when she could not have children and told Abram, “Go, sleep with my maid servant; perhaps I can build my family through her.” (Genesis 16:2). Disobedience led to a son of disobedience, Ishmael, who would be a wild donkey and his hand would be against everyone and every one’s hand against him. So began the predicted Arabian nations to battle. God’s plans would not be overcome, but their sin brought a battle of opposing ideologies that will not end until Jesus reigns. 

God tested Abraham by telling him in Genesis 22 to “go” andsacrifice Isaac his son of promise. He passed and God’s people continued to flourish until their next rebellion. 

One of the greatest challenges of God to the heathen came in in 1 Kings 18 when the Prophet Elijah took on hundreds of Baal priests in a fire-throwing duel. After famine and fear reigned, God came to Elijah saying, “‘Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land.”’  He went and God came through.

For those believers or disciples who are not sharing the gospel with others, they are not listening. God has been speaking and calling His prophets as both Samuel and Isaiah said, “Send me!”  Not just prophets but many others through the centuries have heard God’s command to “Go.” 

In the very tense showdown between the Edomites and Judah’s King Jehoshaphat, he calls the nation to prayer and fasting stating, “We don’t know what to do but my eyes are on you,” (2 Chronicles 20:12). Then the Spirit of the Lord comes on Jahaziel, a Levite who calls to the people to “Listen! Do not be afraid of discouraged for the battle is the Lords. Tomorrow march and see the deliverance of the Lord…Go out and face them tomorrow and the Lord will be with you”  (20:17). And they went and the Lord delivered them. 

When God says, “go,” we are to go. The very word “go” is not always in His command as when God audibly spoke to me while in a Christian counselor’s office saying, “This is the Way, Walk in It.”  
God’s voice from Isaiah 30:21 was directing me to listen and hear His call into full-time ministry, after a spiritual crisis. That was when I was leading a men’s Bible study that led me to go to seminary for training in pastoral care for healthcare chaplaincy, where I have been serving for the past 19 years.

God speaks and we need to listen and heed His call. Sometimes it is through trials and temptations. But He is always faithful and will show us a way out or through as 1 Corinthians 10:13 and Psalm 23 clearly express about our faithful God, our “Valley Guide.” Just keep walking and listen for God’s will through prayer, His Word, other Godly people and circumstances. We never know when or where, but we do know that He will equip us to go. Our desires should be His desires. Always test the source using Christian disciplines of silence, solitude, surrender and submission. His go may be in a whisper, so just keep walking, whether it is to bring soup next door to an ailing neighbor or to establish a Bible College in Africa. 

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