Listen to God and Do What He Says
I have provided spiritual advice to people over fifty years. I am convinced that the most valuable piece of advice I have given and continue to give is to tell people to listen to God and to do what He says. This is valuable advice even if people do not understand why God is telling them to do certain things.
Below are examples from the Bible when people listened to God and did what He said even though they did not understand why God was giving such a command.
Abram heard from God when he was a pagan. He was living his life the way he thought was best. Then God commanded him one day to stop whatever he was doing and leave behind everything he knew, including his country and his family. To top it off, God didn't tell Abram where he should go until he was on the way.
"Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing" (Genesis 12:1-2).
Abram didn't know it at the time, but the rest of his life depended on obeying God. We can see the following things from that one command God gave Abram.
- Abram was his name at the time. It was later changed for a special reason.
- Abram was told to leave his country and his kindred.
- Abram wasn't told where he was to go until he was on the way.
- God gave Abram the promise of becoming a great nation.
- God promised Abram blessings.
- God promised to make Abram's name great.
- Abram received the promise to be a blessing to others.
Abram obeyed God and he did exactly what God told him to do. God kept all the promises made to Abram whose name was later changed to Abraham. It means "Father of Many Nations." God gave Abraham three things: land, descendants, and riches.
Others in the Old Testament
There are many other people in the Old Testament who listened to God and received God's blessings because they did what God told them to do. Some examples include Moses, Samuel, David, Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and many of the other prophets.
The Old Testament minor prophet Jonah heard God tell him to go to Nineveh to preach to the people there. Jonah refused to go. In fact, he boarded a ship and went in the opposite direction. Because he had disobeyed God, there was trouble on the sea. His shipmates assumed it was because of Jonah's disobedience. Therefore, they threw him overboard.
Jonah ended up in the belly of a great fish for three days until he decided to do what God had told him to do. Jonah would have saved himself a lot of trouble if he had done what God told him to do in the first place.
Mary, the Mother of Jesus
In the New Testament, Mary, the Mother of Jesus stands out as one who listened to God even though she did not understand her role in being the woman through whom Jesus would be born.
At the time Mary was a young virgin betrothed to marry Joseph. According to Luke 1:28-38, "When the angel of the Lord spoke to her she was greatly troubled at his words. The angel told Mary she had found favor with God. She would conceive and give birth to a son, and call him Jesus. He would be great and would be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
Mary asked how could that be since she was a virgin. The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled” (Luke 1:38).
Others in the New Testament
There were other people in the New Testament who heard from God and did what He said. The Apostle Paul was one of them. Paul was imprisoned, beaten, and suffered for the sake of the gospel.
Peter, James, and John are also among the disciples of Jesus who listened and were obedient.
Should We Listen and Do What God Says?
Of course, we should listen and do what God says even when we do not understand the situation. We should trust God because He can see into the future while we cannot.
There are numerous people who have testified that they gave up lucrative jobs after hearing from God. Lawyers, doctors, and other successful people changed careers after they heard God tell them to move in a different direction. Even though giving up their high-paying jobs was hard, they knew they had to do what God told them to do because God's "Yes" was louder than their "No."
In order to avoid being in a big fish like Jonah, it is better to do what God wants us to do as soon as He tells us.