Friends Magazine Hong Kong
By Bro. Eddie C. Villanueva
April 2013 Edition
Sixteenth Century English Bible commentator Matthew Henry was quoted as saying, “God has wisely kept us in the dark concerning future events and reserved for Himself the knowledge of them, that He may train us up in a dependence upon Himself and a continued readiness for every event.”
Five centuries later, we still second guess God concerning the future, question His wisdom, depend not upon Him, and hesitate during life’s shifting moments. Clearly, we are yet to learn the lessons Henry thought we ought to learn.
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There was a man who perfectly fit Henry’s bill when it came to trusting God, particularly at a time when he was kept in the dark concerning his future and that of his entire household.
From the onset of Abraham’s calling by God, he walked in total obedience to Him. With nothing but the weight of His instruction, Abraham went out, “even though he did not know where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8). Without the benefit of a map or a compass at the very least, tangible tokens he could hold onto when the going got tough so to speak, he uprooted himself and his family from their familiar surroundings and moved to a new land (Genesis 12). He didn’t ask God for the rationale of His command, or the strategies he ought to use to negotiate foreign terrains and navigate strange territories; he simply went out to accomplish his mission. He merely did as he was told.
Abraham’s act of obedience is undoubtedly astounding, but it is not quite unique. Before and after him, people who also heard and believed the voice of God were likewise enabled to do as they were told.
Noah built an arc at a time when flood was still unknown to men. “Faith led Noah to listen when God warned him about the things in the future that he could not see. He obeyed God and built a ship to save his family. Through faith Noah condemned the world and received God’s approval that comes through faith” (Hebrews 11:7, GWT).
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego chose to obey God’s command to have no other gods besides Him (Deuteronomy 5:7) and opted to be hurled instead into the blazing furnace, heated seven times, despite not knowing whether God will rescue them or not. “If our God, whom we honor, can save us from a blazing furnace and from your power, he will, Your Majesty. But if he doesn’t, you should know, Your Majesty, we’ll never honor your gods or worship the gold statue that you set up” (Daniel 3:17-18, GWT).
Betrothed Mary, at the risk of being shamed and stoned to death for becoming the mother of a prophesied Son through the Holy Spirit, responded to the angel of the LORD, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38, ESV).
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Albeit their stories crossed over various generations, a singular truth tied them all together into the beautiful narrative from where we continue to draw inspiration to this date – that of absolutely taking God at His word.
When God calls us and commands us to do something, there is no fitting response other than obedience. After all, it is our obedience that merits His approval. It’s not the result of obedience, because even that is exclusively up to Him.
Singer Joni Erickson Tada once said, “It is a glorious thing to know that your Father God makes no mistakes in directing or permitting that which crosses the path of your life. It is the glory of God to conceal a matter. It is our glory to trust Him, no matter what.”
Just as we simply sit still and trust the engineer when our train goes through a dark tunnel, let us also learn absolute dependence on God when He chooses to conceal a matter to us. Our Father God makes no mistakes; even His obscure acts can be trusted.