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obey in advance

By Guy Anthony
June 24, 2020

Passages of the day: Click HERE ​to read today’s passages.

2 Kings 6:1-7:20
Acts 15:36-16:15
Psalm 142:1-7
Proverbs 17:24-25

Eric Liddell is the hero in the 1981 film “Chariots of Fire” for refusing to run in the 100 meter event at the 1924 Olympics because the heats fell on a Sunday. Eric was actually favored to win, yet he held firm as a follower of Christ. He did run and win at 400 meters despite his modest record in that event. Less known is that he obeyed God months in advance and focused his training on the 400 meter distance.

That film was named for a “Chariots of Fire” scene in today’s 2 Kings passage. Elisha, a “man of God” so in step with God’s will that “obeying in advance” was always on full display. Elisha had to know that his repeated thwarting of the king of Aram’s battle plans would provoke a direct attack on him. But he obeyed God’s call to warn his king because he knew the hillsides would be filled with horses and chariots of fire.

Obeying in advance can also mean being ready to accept God’s prodding for a change in plans. In today’s Acts passage, Paul and Barnabas initially planned to retrace the steps of Paul’s first journey and visit the churches they had planted on the first trip. But as they traveled God either blocked or convicted them to travel the route He had ordained. Paul was receptive to these leadings because he had obeyed in advance the call to hear God continuously through their journey.

Our Psalms passage shows another kind of path—a route of prayer that takes us close to the heart of God. Only by seeking intimacy with Christ through prayer can we have the strength to obey in advance. In the moment, when chaos or distraction could cause us to impulsively disobey, is it not joyous to hold firm to the position we have worked out with God ahead of time?

With unprecedented uncertainty now facing us—disease, employment, racial justice and political upheaval—let us obey in advance God’s calling for us to respond with courage, trust, humility, patience and love.

To memorize:

“If you agree that I am a true believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my home.” And she urged us until we agreed.

— Acts 16:15

Prayer to start with: Lord help me seek your face moment by moment and to seek ways to build walls of obedience that can weather attacks of the enemy and my own sinful nature. In Jesus’ name, Amen.