Thursday, June 1, 2023

 At Thy Word

Gordon Crook, Pastor
Grace Assembly, Wichita, Kansas

“And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.” Luke 5:5

Try to imagine this scene. Simon Peter is a fisherman by trade, and certainly knows how to catch fish. Jesus is a carpenter who knows carpentry (as far as Simon knows). It seems like Simon might have thought that he knew better than Jesus what to do for catching fish. 

This statement “nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net” is a clear indication of Simon’s recognition of Jesus as Lord. He fully trusted that Jesus knew something he didn’t. As if to say, “regardless of what I know or think, I trust you to know best.” It is a statement of yielding to Jesus. 

Jesus speaks about this topic when he asks this question: “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” Luke 6:46. His point here is that, if He is Lord, he deserves obedience. True faith is always followed by action. True reverence (fear of the Lord) will be followed by obedience.

I have been so impressed by this verse. What an example for us to follow. As I meditated on this, I thought about some in the Old Testament that had this similar attitude, and one that needed to be led into this attitude.

Abram was called by God to leave his country and his people and go to a place that he knew nothing about. He did not have the internet to look up all manner of information about the place he was going to. He did not know anyone there, but we read this in Hebrews: “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.” Hebrews 11:8.

Abraham could have chosen to stay with what was already familiar to him, but He would have missed out on God’s great blessing. In Romans we read that he believed God. This attitude of obedience only comes from true faith and trust. We sing a hymn; “Trust and Obey.” This is a good phrase. We will not care to obey God’s Word unless we have come to trust Him. And we will not trust Him completely unless we are reading and studying His Word.

There are others in the Old Testament that are examples to us of obedience, and some that are examples of what not to do. Saul failed to obey in the fifteenth chapter of 1 Samuel. This is what Samuel had to say about that: “And Samuel said, Hath 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 hearken than the fat of rams.” 1 Samuel 15:22. God is not expecting some great sacrifice from our personal efforts, he is looking for obedient children.

In 2 Kings 5, we find Naaman looking for a cure for his leprosy. When Elisha told him to go wash in the river Jordan, he was mad and did not want to do it. There were certainly better rivers to go to, and it did not fit his expectation. Fortunately for Naaman, his servant was able to convince him to do as Elisha said. He would have missed out on the blessing and healing had he not obeyed.

There are others: Daniel and his friends chose to obey God even though it did not seem right to the person in charge of their care. Noah built an ark when it seemed like a silly thing to do. From the eleventh chapter of Hebrews, we come to realize that obedience goes hand in hand with faith. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6. 

In 2 Corinthians 10:5, Paul tells us that we can bring every thought unto the obedience of Christ. Not just our actions, but even our thoughts. We understand from scripture that our actions originate in our heart, so the only way for our actions to be in obedience to our Lord, we must have our heart in obedience. How do we do that? We yield to the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We yield to the life of Christ that dwells in us.

Time in God’s Word will enable us to know what God desires from us, and it is also the means by which the Holy Spirit works in our lives to enable us to be obedient to our Lord. Obeying God’s Word is not a harsh duty, it is a privilege that will bring great blessing and bring glory to Him for eternity.