November 09, 2008

Trusting and Obeying

Deuteronomy 9:23-24

You did not trust him or obey him.
Deuteronomy 9:23


Can we play trust and obedience off against each other? Is trust a gift and obedience an accomplishment? Or are the two connected in some way?

We are tempted to think, as Israel did before us, that obedience makes trust unnecessary. If we keep the rules and in the process demonstrate our worthiness, we don’t need to trust, right? Doesn’t Paul say in 2 Corinthians 11 that if anyone could boast about keeping rules, he would have first place? But then Paul also notes that trusting the Lord Jesus is worth more than all the obedience he could muster!

In our Scripture reading for today, the people of Israel were gathered at the threshold of the promised land. Moses explained to them, with illustrations from their own behavior, why God did not let their parents and grandparents enter the land of promise. It was because they neither trusted nor obeyed the Lord. Their lack of trust prevented them from obeying the command to take the land as their gift.

Obedience flows from trust, and trust shows itself in obedience. Where each exists, the other grows. The two actions—one internal, the other external—are tied together in a loving relationship that blesses us and praises God.

Do you trust the Lord? And do you obey him?

Lord of our deliverance, create in us the trust that yields the fruit of obedience, and may our obeying show that our trust is real. In your name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Harvey Brink

Rev. Harvey Brink has retired from active ministry in the Christian Reformed Church, having served congregations in Michigan, California, Iowa, New Jersey, Illinois, and
Washington. He and his wife Maxine live near their children and grandchildren in western Washington.

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