July 19, 2011

To Obey is Better Than Sacrifice

God has stretched my faith this summer in an unexpected way.  I was not looking to find another job, but a teaching position was open at the school that Ella will attend this fall.  If you have read my blog for long or know me well, you know that a) I didn't want to go back to work in the first place, b) I had dreamed of homeschooling Ella forever, and c) I thought I was done with teaching for good, at least in the classroom setting.  Despite my best efforts to keep things the way I wanted them, God has had other plans for me.  He sent me back to work with my husband this past year, sent Ella to a school where things were very difficult for her, helped us find this new school, then dropped this job opening in my lap.

I did my best to ignore His leading to apply for the job, with my fingers in my ears, singing, "Lalalala, I can't hear you, God!".  Through friends and family, God began to open my heart to the idea.  He would not relent until I filled out the application.  Filled with fear and doubt, I dropped it off at the school, praying that God would give me the strength to do this job, if indeed that was His plan.  I was called for an interview that same week.  Nerves threatened to eat at me, but God filled me with His resolve.  He even prompted a wonderful pastor friend of ours to call us on the morning before the interview.  This godly man prayed that I would shine with the glory of God and that I would get the job.  I have never seen a prayer of this man's go unanswered, so I went into the interview feeling good.  The interview went very well - much better than I ever could have hoped, seeing that it had been 11 years since my last interview!  I was told that I would find out if I had gotten the job around July 15.  I prayed.  Friends and family prayed.  God had pushed me to do this, surely I would get the job.  I had faith that even though I hadn't been in the classroom since 2002, God would equip me for this work.  My creative juices began flowing like they hadn't in a while.  I had several dreams that seemed to point towards me teaching at this particular school.  Every circumstance suggested that the job would most likely be mine.

Today I got the call that the school had hired someone else.  I felt momentarily crushed!  Why had God built this dream back up in my heart, just to tear it down?  Right now, I really have no answer to that question.  But God has given me peace.  I know that He called me to obey and I did.  The words of my pastor friend ring in my mind as I sort through my feelings about this situation.  In describing the work he had been doing recently, he said, "All I try to do is be obedient and do what God tells me to do."  Whether that be to get down on his knees in the middle of an airport with friends who were travelling overseas, or pray over a former addict's infertile wife, or fly to Africa, or sit in a hospital room with a girl he didn't know who had just had major back surgery.  He was just doing what God told him to do.  And, that is how I want to live my life.  Daily.  Just doing what God says.  Period. 

As I have been reading the Bible in 90 Days, along with many others through Mom's Toolbox, I have learned so much about simple obedience.  Many people read the Old Testament and get bogged down by all the rules.  At first glance it does seem that God is enforcing an unrealistic set of expectations.  But, if you dig a bit deeper, you find something more.  You find a God that desires obedience over sacrifice.  Though the blood and bread offerings were said to be a sweet aroma to the LORD, what He wanted more was for His people to listen to Him.  To do what He asked them to do.  1 Samuel 15:22 says, "'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 listen than the fat of rams.'"  In Leviticus, Aaron and his sons, had been given very specific instructions on how to make these offerings for the sins of their people.  Much of this book consists of the laws the Israelites were to obey.  If they did not obey, they had to bring an offering to atone for their sins.  But what God really wanted was for them to follow Him - not so that they could get check marks on a chart of rigid rules, but because He was the God Who had delivered them!  

Ever since the first sin of Adam and Eve, God had been seeking men, women, and children who would just listen to Him.  Trust Him.  Obey Him.  Because He is God.  He is Sovereign.  He is "I AM."  Sometimes being obedient is more important than the actual task God is asking you to do.  In my case, there was no end result to my obedience in my eyes.  I was not rewarded by the world's standards.  But, I trust that God has His reasons.  Though Moses never got to see the Promised Land, God used him to show us that the obedient ones are those that get to see His Glory.  And that means more to me than any job ever will.

Those of you reading by email or feedreader, click through to see the video.

Show Me Your Glory, Third Day

1 comment:

teresa said...

thankfully, i decided to check my email while on vacation. Your words are encouraging and I am so thankful that GOD has blessed me w/a friend like you! love you!