How Do You Respond When God Tells You to Do Something?
Have you ever felt the Lord leading you to do something but resisted? Perhaps you doubted you were really hearing from the Lord. Maybe you thought someone else could do whatever He was asking you to do and be better at doing it. Could it be you were just downright afraid—afraid of embarrassing yourself, not doing it right, or even failing? Have you ever found yourself arguing the “what ifs” with God?
Think about Moses and everything He accomplished through God and for God: leading the Israelites out of Egypt, establishing the laws that God gave to Him for His people to live by, passing down discipline from God when He required it, and building a tabernacle where people could go and worship God, offering sacrifices to God where He could dwell among His people. 8 “Have the people of Israel build me a holy sanctuary so I can live among them. Exodus 25:8 (NLT)
Did you know that initially Moses argued with God? When God told Abraham, Moses’ ancestor, to “go to a land He would show him”, Abraham went. (The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you…. So Abram (later to be known as Abraham) went as the Lord had told him. Genesis 12:1&4)
Moses wasn’t such an easy sell. At first he argued that the Israelites wouldn’t believe him. Then he argued that he wasn’t a good enough speaker. God was telling Moses in person (via a burning bush) what He wanted him to do and Moses hesitated, pointing out all the reasons he could not do what God had asked!
Moses answered the *LORD. ‘Suppose that the *Israelites do not believe me?’ Moses asked. ‘Suppose that they do not listen to me? They may say to me, “The *LORD did not appear to you”. Exodus 4:1
Then Moses replied to the *LORD. ‘My *Lord, I have never been an impressive speaker. I was not a good speaker before you spoke to me. And I am still the same now. I speak very slowly, and it is difficult for me to say the right words.’ Exodus 4:10
We are all thinking as we read these words, “Moses! How could you argue with the Lord?” But don’t we all do that? Many times when we feel led to pray with or for someone, out loud in a public and visible place, don’t we tell ourselves (and God) that we will pray for that person or over that situation at a later, more appropriate time? (Just what time should we consider “appropriate.”) And when we feel the nudge to speak to someone we do not know, are we not guilty at times of telling ourselves (and God) we cannot speak to them because they would think we were crazy? (So what? Obviously, God has a reason for wanting us to reach out them.) What about the times we feel compelled to stop by and visit someone, call them, or write them a note or card, but we delay because at the time it is just not “convenient?” (What is convenient as far as God is concerned?) In our own ways, are we not doing the exact same thing that Moses was doing? Telling God why His plan will not work instead of agreeing to be a part of His plan.
Fortunately, we have the Bible that tells us and shows us how God was able to use Moses. He even allowed Moses to win the “not an eloquent speaker” argument by allowing Moses’ brother Aaron to speak for Moses—however, God continued to give Moses His message, and Moses would have to then relay what God had said to Aaron. God did just as He had planned all along, He used Moses to free His people from Egypt and lead them to the promised land. Moses learned to listen to God, learned to lead God’s people, and learned He could do whatever God wanted him to do.
There are several things we can remember when God is telling us what He has for us to do:
- Remember, God has a plan, he knows the plan, and He knows where we fall into His plan. Although we cannot see what the end will be, God knows how it will all end so we are to “trust in His plan.”
- We will make mistakes. Since we do not always know God’s plan or how it will end in a particular instance, mistakes will be made. We are human and we are not perfect. More than likely we will make mistakes and miss opportunities because we are focused elsewhere. There may even be times we get so enthusiastic that we run ahead of God and His timing in our enthusiasm. Or we might lose sight of where we are going and veer off in another direction. At these times we have to trust that God will “work all things out for the good” and use our mistakes to His glory.
- Do not consider failure. What seems like failure to us, may not be failure in God’s eyes. Since we are only part of the plan, maybe God was planning to use another to accomplish the “big” plan all along. Perhaps we were part of the “minor” plans leading up to the “major” plan. Again, we have to trust that God knows the plan and He will work the plan.
- Stay amenable to God’s plan. Agree to allow God to use you in whatever way He wants to in order to accomplish His plan. It is His plan after all and we should feel honored and thankful that He wants us to be a part of it.
So make a decision a now. Are you an “Abraham” or a “Moses”? The next time you feel God leading you to do something, stop, listen, and pray. And then do not argue—just trust and obey.
Give me wisdom, Lord, to know when I am hearing from you. Give me discernment to see what you want me to do. Give me faith to believe that you have given me this responsibility for a reason, and trust to remember that it is all in your hands. I pray for a thankful heart that is honored to serve you and further your kingdom by following you in obedience.