This summer I’m studying the book of Isaiah in the Bible with the help of a study book. I’m getting real, new and applicable lessons for my own life out of Isaiah that I had missed before. I am continually amazed and how God uses his word like this. Anyway…
Isaiah was sent to give a message to the people. His conversation with God can be found here. God told him that most of the people wouldn’t listen, and that their hearts would be hardened even more as a result of his message. Not only would they not respond and take the message to heart, but things were actually going to get worse before they got better. Basically, that Isaiah would seemingly fail on his mission. Or would he? It sure sounded that way.
How many times in my life do I focus on the outcome I’m hoping for in my obedience to God? I am actually fairly good to start out on the right foot with just a desire to simply obey no matter what. But then as I see how God might use me, a desire develops in my own heart to see good outcomes. I mean, who doesn’t want good outcomes? But I soon become too focused on that instead of just doing what God said. Even in the process of obeying, it can become too much about the outcome.
I am not responsible for the outcomes. My obedience may have a purpose for me personally or in the big picture that is completely beyond my understanding. It won’t always make sense to me or those around me. It may even make me look like a fool. (Don’t you love it when that happens?) The obedience is what God asks of me.
There may be times when, like Isaiah, I can see from the beginning that it “won’t work”. What if God asks me to do something that is destined for failure? Maybe he’s teaching me an important lesson, laying the groundwork for something else in the future, or doing something bigger that I will never even get to see or understand. Am I willing to obey no matter what? Is my mission about obedience or the outcome?