Naked and Vulnerable. Control Freaks' Senility, Part 16

We have learned that being submissive to God in all things will open wide the doors of grace. However there is an element of submission that we often tend to ignore: submission always includes obedience, no matter what the cost!

Jesus provided us with a powerful counsellor, One that would never contradict His written Word, the Bible. "But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth." (John 16:13 NIV) He will always prompt us towards obedience. Some of these promptings will be delightful and easy to follow. Others will be more hmmm… heart-wrenching!

Let's take a look at the prophet Isaiah, for example: "God told Isaiah son of Amoz, 'Go, take off your clothes and sandals,' and Isaiah did it, going about naked and barefooted." (Isa 20:2 The Message)

You likely wonder if you read this right, but you did. Feel free to check any other Bible versions out there, or even the original Hebrew text. Isaiah was prompted to walk in his birthday suit, not for an hour, nor for a day, but for 3 years!

How would you feel if you were the prophet Isaiah? Would you want to walk a mile in his shoes... Uh... Bare feet?

"No way would I ever do any of such nonsense! They would lock me up in the loony bin!"

But notice that Isaiah never questioned the request. He knew without a doubt that it came from God and he obeyed. He subjected himself to ridicule for an entire three years!

At least his clothing budget was manageable!

Because of Isaiah's obedience, God had a visual message for those around him, one that they would never forget. And then it came true:

"Then God said, 'Just as my servant Isaiah has walked around town naked and barefooted for three years as a warning sign to Egypt and Ethiopia, so the king of Assyria is going to come and take the Egyptians as captives and the Ethiopians as exiles. He'll take young and old alike and march them out of there naked and barefooted, exposed to mockery and jeers - the bared buttocks of Egypt on parade!'" (Isa 20:3 The Message)

But remember that if it hadn't come true, Isaiah would have, indeed, been named the fool of centuries! And please don't go out now and start a new fashion called the "bared buttocks on parade!" There is enough of that going around already!

Submission includes unhesitant and whole-hearted obedience. It doesn't include comments such as: "I will do it, but I really don't want to!" Or "This is stupid! So stupid! I will make sure everybody hears about my complaints!"

Jesus also gave us specific commands, ones we never have to doubt came from God Himself: "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34-35 NIV)

This command can be summarized in three little words: "Love others" and "witness". And sadly enough, these three simple words are often disregarded!

One time, during the many years that I have been a teacher, I was encouraged by God's Spirit to attend a local speech competition that one of my students would participate in.

Notice my wining: "But Lord, it's right during church time!"

The answer was clear: "Go!"

I went with my youngest son. My student, as well as her family were ecstatic. "My teacher cares for me!"

A couple of months later, her grandpa had to undergo some serious heart surgery. His life expectancy was at stake and my student was in tears. She came to me and asked: "Could you please pray for my grandpa?" There were other students around and I invited them to join me in this special request.

Her grandpa went through surgery with flying colours and was soon back on his feet! All I could do is praise the Lord!

A few months later, that special little girl came once again to me and announced: "I am a Christian too!"

Oh the power of obedience to God!

Imagine the looks on the faces of all the people who mocked Isaiah, when what he preached came true! What would have been their reaction? There is no way they could continue ridiculing him! I bet some, if not many, gave their heart to God as a result!

Obedience to God will always lead to supernatural love towards others, which, in turn, will lead to salvation! "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:35 NIV)

The same is true with the following New Testament command: "Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men…" (1 Peter 2:13 NIV). Notice: This includes your boss, the mayor, police officers, beloved (or not-so beloved) presidents and prime ministers... In fact, when Peter wrote this particular passage, the emperor was far from being on anybody's favourite list! He was a cruel persecutor!

May we pay attention to the promptings of God's Holy Spirit!

"Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion." (Heb 3:15 NIV)

What will your response be?

Do you have a pair of shorts to loan to Isaiah? It seems he misplaced them somewhere!

Rob Chaffart

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