Obey God When the Outcome Is Unclear

This is a difficult thing to do. We are logical and hedonistic people. When God tells us to do something, we naturally consider the outcome of our obedience. Will our marriages get better if we confess our sin? Will our children be happier if we take them to church on Sunday instead of the game? If we conclude that the answers to these questions are yes, then we are likely to obey.

This is not the kind of obedience God seeks from us, however. Sometimes, or maybe often, God wants us to obey Him even when doing so might not turn out exactly how we want it to. Confessing sin to your spouse might push them away. Taking your children to church on Sunday might forfeit their spot on the team.

I’m reminded of one of the accounts from the book of Daniel about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Facing execution by King Nebuchadnezzar, they were urged to bow down toward the idol he set up when the music sounded. Their response is one of true faith. Here it is below, with key portions in bold.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Daniel 3:16-18

Notice in verse 17 that they believed in God’s ability to deliver them from the furnace of death Nebuchadnezzar set up. They also expressed confidence that God would deliver them. But they also made it clear to the king that even if God didn’t deliver them, they would still not serve his gods or worship the image he set up. They were committed to obeying God regardless of the immediate outcome.

These three young men seemed to understand something that we’re all still learning: doing what God says is the most important thing we could do.

How About You?

Is there something God is asking you to do that you’re hesitant to do because you’re not sure how it will work out? Are you willing to obey God in spite of what the result is? If we want to live in true freedom and joy in the Lord, we must be willing to obey Him and leave the results up to Him.