June 8, 2008
Because God Said It
We have been reading in the book of Luke during our family Bible reading lately. A while back we read the following passage, and as my family and I are facing some changes and uncertain experiences soon - some hopeful and some "normal" - the Lord brought this passage home to me more directly than usual.
Luke 5:3 And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. 4 Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. 5 And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. 6 And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. 7 And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. 8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. 9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: 10 And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.
When the Lord Jesus told Peter to launch out into the deep and let his nets down He didn't seem to be making a great demand. Although it was work, it was not something huge or foreign to Peter. The difficulty was that Peter "knew" there was nothing there to catch. He had tried. They had toiled all night and caught nothing.
But, despite his lack of faith and even being sure it would do no good, "nevertheless at thy word" he let down the net. He obeyed despite his apparent knowledge to the contrary, and despite his doubt. He obeyed the command more as a favor to Him Who had given it than anything else. He did it because he respected and regarded the source.
Interestingly enough, we see in verses 6-7 that God blessed Peter's obedience anyway! Though he had no faith in the possible results, he obeyed and was richly blessed.
Obedience to God's word is the key. So you don't think it will do much, if any, good? Obey out of respect for the Lord and He will take care of the results. At some point or another you will be richly blessed for respectfully obeying. In fact, these men were overwhelmed with blessing! There was so much, they couldn't handle it alone and had to call others to help them sustain it.
Peter immediately felt guilty for his lack of faith. He realized he was in the presence of the power of God, of the Lord Himself. Suddenly his attitude condemned him and he felt unworthy.
But, Jesus did not leave him at his request. He didn't even rebuke him. Instead He began to prepare Peter for greater spiritual work for God. Had Peter's response been self-righteous, this perhaps would not have been the case. Peter's humility was good, and led to greater responsibility. We see his understanding of this when he later wrote, 1Peter 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. 6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
But, the thing that remains in my mind is that if we obey the Lord when He directs us to "launch forth into the deep and let our nets down" we can trust Him to give the blessing and supply the results - results that we can't even anticipate or imagine because of our very limited knowledge! Even things we think we “know” do not limit God. This is a wonderful comfort when heading into unknown situations as well as known ones. The main thing is to do what God says.
Zechariah 6:15 ...And this shall come to pass, if ye will diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God.
1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
As a footnote to this I’d like to say that this was written just shortly before my parents and I moved to Texas with the help of my then fiancé, Peter. In October of that year Peter and I were married. Both the move to Texas and our marriage have been huge blessings to me – more than I could have imagined. Here in Texas my husband and I enjoy more family and church fellowship, more local Christian friendships and my husband has good work. Our marriage has added so many blessings to my life that I couldn’t enumerate them all. Among those that were not expected, I have increased health and strength, decreased anxiety, and my skills in this ministry have been increased by my husband’s teaching and expanding my abilities. Though I’m far from being the obedient Christian that I would like to be, I can say from personal experience that God will fill your nets with more blessings than you could imagine if you will just launch forth when He tells you to. :-) Obey Him. It is so worth it.