Taking the Word to the World

Archive for December, 2013

The Lord will Provide

Abraham was not lying to his servants when he said, “I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.” He firmly believed that the two of them would come again. He spoke words of faith and exemplified obedience.

As Abraham and Isaac climb the mountain a ram climbs the other side of the mountain. Someone has said, “For every step Abraham takes toward the top the ram also takes a step. And it was God’s plan all along that they meet in the same place at the same time for the same purpose.”

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Isaac was not a little boy. He was a full grown man. According to Josephus he was about twenty-seven. It seems he shared his father’s confidence and faith in the promises and provisions of God. He willingly allowed his old father to tie him there. After all, Isaac’s very existence was a direct result of God keeping His word.

“And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood” (Genesis 22:9).

Of course, God did not allow Abraham to take the life of his beloved son. With the knife raised, positioned to come down, God stopped him. God doesn’t require a burnt, human sacrifice from us. But, he does asking us to present ourselves a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2).

This story is also prophetic that the Lamb of God would provide Himself a sacrifice. Perhaps, it is a glimpse of Calvary when the Lamb would take away the sin of the world (John 1:29).

“And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen” (Genesis 22:13-14).

God tests us so that we can learn to trust Him. You may feel like you are climbing a mountain alone, struggling with each step, worried about what the summit will bring. Remember, God’s provision is already on its way. The Lord will provide. The ram will be at the top. As “Jehovah-Jireh” God provides our needs.

Leaving Everything in God’s Hands

What challenges, hindrances, or disadvantages hang over your head at this stage of your faith journey?

Pick up a newspaper. Tune into a radio station. Surf the Net. Dreary stories are plentiful. The economy plummets. Terrorists provoke panic. Political chaos prevails. Extortionists plunder. Calamities produce pressure. The future is pessimistic. It would be easy to be caught in despair, depression, and desperation. It’s a fact. We live in unsettling times.

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When looking at the future it is easy to think of one word to describe it: “unknown.” I love this famous poem, written by Minnie Louise Harkins and used in the end-of-the-year message of King George VI, in 1939:

I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year
’
Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.’

And he replied,
‘Go into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way!’

So I went forth and finding the Hand of God
Trod gladly into the night
He led me towards the hills
And the breaking of day in the lone east.

So heart be still!
What need our human life to know
If God hath comprehension?

I’m not sure what you may be going through, or what may be taking place in your lives individually, or with your families. Put your hand into the hand of our all-knowing God and walk into the unknown. Abraham did and thousands of years later we are still telling the story.

God is in control. Someone said, “Those that see God’s hand in everything, best leave everything in God’s hand.”

One senior minister earnestly prayed repeatedly, “I put my tiny, little hand into your big, big hand.”

How true!

Laughing at the Promises of God

God focused on one man to bring to pass His promises.

“Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him” (Genesis 12:1-4).

Five times in three verses we find the words bless, blessed, or blessing. We are blessed to be a blessing.

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There are 7,487 promises in the Bible from God to man, and many of them are directed to us. Sadly, through ignorance, we live far below what God has in mind for us. We are the children of the promise (Romans 9:8; Galatians 4:28) and the heirs of promise (Hebrews 6:12, 17). It is our inheritance. God has many good things in mind for us. Some promises are conditional: they depend on our obedience for fulfillment. Others are unconditional.

Unfortunately, we often fail to take God at His word and do not believe Him to be powerful or sufficient enough to handle our problems. For the problems we encounter in life there are corresponding promises to overcome them.

“We sometimes denigrate Sarah for laughing at God. However, as incredible as it sounds, laughing at God is not that unusual. We in effect do the same thing every time we read God’s words and fail to put them into practice or hear his promises and decide not to believe them” (The Knowing Jesus Study Bible).

The Father of Faith

God called Abram out of a pagan world and made him some amazing promises. Abram responded in faith. “Faith obeys God” (The Bible Knowledge Commentary, page 46). He left everything to follow God’s plan.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report….But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:1-2, 6).

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Abraham is the embodiment of faith. In life’s circumstances he believed God. No wonder he is commonly referred to as the father of faith. He took God at His word and did what was asked of him.

I am awed with that phrase “Father of Faith.” Being old, having a wife that was very old, he became a father. Although, his son was named Isaac (laughter; God has made me laugh), for all intent and purposes, he could be simply called “Faith.” Isaac was the direct result of faith. Looking at Isaac, one could quickly see faith in action. No one could dispute it.

“And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform” (Romans 4:19-21, Emphasis mine).

Lessons from the Road they Travelled

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There are great lessons we can learn from elderly men and women. Someone has rightly said, a church without elderly people has no history. A church without young people has no future. I’m glad we have an abundance of both in this church. Let’s look at the elderly:

  • They’ve made the journey of faith; the walk of the godly before.
  • They’ve been through all that life threw at them, and made it.
  • If they can survive the long-haul, I can survive the long-haul, and you can survive the long-haul. You can make it. You will make it.
  • God, through their stories, has proved that He remains the same through the ages. He met them at their need; and He will do the same for us. See Hebrews 13:8; Malachi 3:6.

The impact of one’s journey through life is many times determined by what is said or remembered after they ran the race, completed the course, and kept the faith.

Pause for a moment and ponder how you would like to be remembered after the end of your life. It has been said, “When you were born, everyone around you was smiling and you were crying. Live life so that when you die, you are smiling, and everyone around you is crying.”