Do you know for sure that you love God? Does God know for sure that you love Him? Do you know how to prove your love for God? Do you understand the link between loving God and obeying God?
When Abram was 99 years old, God made a covenant with Abram. The terms of the covenant required Abram to do something painful. Abram fulfilled his side of the covenant and his obedience demonstrated his love for God and is an example for us to follow as we seek to love God. Abram’s obedience is recorded in Genesis 17, starting at verse 1. Notice the word “covenant”.
Gen. 17:1 ¶ Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; Walk before Me, and be blameless.
Gen. 17:2 “I will establish My covenant between Me and you, And I will multiply you exceedingly.”
As part of this covenant, Abram was told to be circumcised. Notice the pronoun “you”.
Gen. 17:9 ¶ God said further to Abraham, “Now as for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations.
Gen. 17:10 “This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: every male among you shall be circumcised.
Gen. 17:11 “And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you.
Gen. 17:12 “And every male among you who is eight days old shall be circumcised throughout your generations, a servant who is born in the house or who is bought with money from any foreigner, who is not of your descendants.
Gen. 17:13 “A servant who is born in your house or who is bought with your money shall surely be circumcised; thus shall My covenant be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.
Gen. 17:14 “But an uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.”
Abram was past the prime of his life and God came to him and told him to do something painful. Put yourself in Abram’s place. What would you do? Would you obey? Abram did and he did it without delay. Notice the phrase “in the very same day”.
Gen. 17:22 When He finished talking with him, God went up from Abraham.
Gen. 17:23 ¶ Then Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all the servants who were born in his house and all who were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s household, and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the very same day, as God had said to him.
Gen. 17:24 Now Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.
Gen. 17:25 And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.
Gen. 17:26 In the very same day Abraham was circumcised, and Ishmael his son.
Gen. 17:27 All the men of his household, who were born in the house or bought with money from a foreigner, were circumcised with him.
Abram obeyed Yahweh, even though obedience resulted in pain. What about us? Do we obey God even when it hurts?
- Are we willing to obey God if it means losing our job?
- Are we willing to obey God if it means being ridiculed?
- Are we willing to obey God if it means being shunned by our family?
- Are we willing to obey God if it means going to jail?
Consider these statements from Jesus. What is the connection between loving God and obeying God?
John 14:15 ¶ “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
John 14:21 “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”
John 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.
John 14:24 “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.
Love for God results in obedience and obedience is the litmus test for whether or not we truly love God. Just as Abram suffered pain when he obeyed God, sometimes we are in situations where it is painful to obey God. Obeying God when obedience is easy proves little, but obeying God when obedience is difficult proves much. If we find ourselves in a situation where obedience to God is difficult, instead of seeing that as a reason to complain, let’s see it as an opportunity to demonstrate that we truly love God.
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