Throughout the Old Testament God refers to Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. So what is it about these men? What did God see in them?
We all know the story of Abraham. His wife Sarah was barren and God promised them a child in their very old age. God told Abraham, “Look north, south, east, and west. Everything you see, the whole land spread out before you, I will give to you and your children forever. I’ll make your descendants like dust – counting your descendants will be as impossible as counting the dust of the Earth. So – on your feet, get moving! Walk through the country, its length and breadth; I’m giving it all to you.” Sometimes God gives us the promise without the details. Could you imagine what Abraham was thinking when God promised him all that land and descendants too impossible to count? Yet, when God said, “on your feet, get moving, walk through,” Abraham did just that. Abraham never saw the promised land or the 12 tribes of Israel…but he walked in faith and trusted God’s promise. 1) God’s promises don’t always come to fruition in the manner we expect; 2) God’s promises don’t always come to fruition in our lifetime. Do you have the faith to believe God and walk through your promise even if…?
How many times do we take things into our own hands when things aren’t going the way we think they should? When Sarah hadn’t yet produced a child, she had Abraham sleep with her maid, Hagar, in order to produce a son, Ishmael. Seriously, these Old Testament women are giving us a bad rap!!!! BUT…Sarah wasn’t the one who spoke with God, Abraham was…yet he agreed. I actually love it when the Old Testament ‘heroes’ mess up because it shows their humanity…and it shows God’s faithfulness in spite of our weaknesses. After later having her own child, Isaac, Sarah couldn’t stand the sight of Ishmael and she sent him away. Sarah’s attempt to manipulate God ultimately produced animosity and jealousy. When we take things into our own hands and try to manipulate the outcome, we take ourselves outside of God’s perfect will. I’m not saying you won’t reach the finish line (salvation), but the path to get there will be a lot rockier.
Abraham “was eighty-six years old when Hagar gave him his son, Ishmael.” “Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born.” 14 years later!!! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…are we willing to wait that long? I am a pretty impatient person. I have dreams and desires God placed inside me and I have been trying to step into that calling. I have not necessarily seen the results I’d like as quickly as I’d like. Let me also say this…I have not always had the spiritual maturity to handle that calling. AND, even though I have grown a lot in my faith, maybe I am still not at a place in my spiritual journey to have the capacity to carry out all that God has in store for me. At this point in the process, I am simply enjoying being in God’s Word and soaking in everything God has to say. AND THAT’S THE POINT…allowing God to do a work in me, even if that never outwardly produces the results I want. It is true that God wants to use us to accomplish His Will, but ultimately His Will is to be close to you. Is your ultimate goal just to be close to Him? Is He enough?
I have another blog post called ‘Unqualified’ and I do believe God uses the unqualified because it is through our inability his Glory shines brightest. That’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about stewardship (the job of supervising or taking care of something). We have to be intentional with our faith. In order to mature spiritually, we have to be in the Word and in prayer and communion with God. It is possible to go your entire life as a “baby christian”. Luke 16:10 (NLT) says, “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. but if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with great responsibilities.” We have to start being faithful with whatever God has entrusted to us, however big or small, and stop wishing for more, for greater, for better. Again, is He enough?
Are you willing to lose it all? So Abraham and Sarah finally have their son, Isaac, and God tells Abraham, “Take your dear son Isaac whom you love and go to the land of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I’ll point out to you.” Here’s where I would argue with God like Moses did or where I’d try to run away like Jonah did. But Abraham got up early the next morning and did just as God instructed. I WOULD NEVER!! But Abraham trusted God. Abraham loved God more than he loved his son. We say we trust God, but if he tested us like he did Abraham, would we pass? Not me! We talk about giving to God but we’re not willing to give everything…but the truth is it’s all His. What are you holding on to so tightly; what do you love more than God? Do you actually trust God with everything in your life. I don’t know if I’ve said this somewhere else but I’ll repeat it if so. I was listening to a Francis Chan sermon where he said Christians are willing to follow Christ so long as it doesn’t cost them too much. Are you willing to lose it all?
After Abraham died, God told Isaac, “All the nations of the Earth will get a blessing for themselves through your descendants. And why? Because Abraham obeyed my summons and kept my charge – my commands, my guidelines, my teachings.” This brings two things to mind. 1) This first one is controversial because we are not saved by works alone, but we are commanded to obey. We want to focus on the love, grace, and mercy of God without addressing what that requires. You can’t manipulate God’s love, grace, and mercy in order to get your spot in heaven. You will be known by your fruit…what your life produces. A good tree will bear good fruit and a bad tree will bear bad fruit. The difference between a good tree and a bad tree is the root system. Are you rooted in Christ or aren’t you (notice the question is not whether you believe in God). Obedience is evidence of being rooted in Christ. 2) I always say I grew up in the church but the truth is I didn’t actually. I only went to church when I would spend the weekend at my Nana’s house. BUT…I have many fond memories of being in the church throughout my childhood because of that woman’s faithfulness. My actual home life was drastically different. My Nana’s faithfulness had an impact on my life and I have the ability to bless my children and their children and future generations through my faithfulness as well. My spiritual maturity, or lack thereof, has the ability to affect future generations…and so does yours. Again, stewardship.
Ok…I struggle with Jacob because so much of his story is him tricking and manipulating. Maybe one day God will enlighten me…and who am I to question Him. But I also know that Jacob was a man in reverent awe of God. While fleeing his brother Esau, Jacob stopped in Bethel to sleep and God spoke to him. Upon waking, “he said, ‘God is in this place – truly. And I didn’t even know it!’ He was terrified. He whispered in awe, ‘Incredible. Wonderful. Holy. This is God’s House. This is the Gate of Heaven.'” Did you know God is in this place, wherever it is you are reading this from. How many of us live our lives in the presence of God and don’t even know it! Or maybe we know it in the general sense that the Bible says so, or we’ve been told. But do we actually know it, deep down…as in a belief we have as opposed to a general idea. I follow Christine Caine’s organization named Propel. They sent me a screensaver for my phone and it says, “God doesn’t want us sleepwalking through life.” Trust me, I know how busy life is…jobs, school, bills, meals, cleaning, activities, and on and on and on. But if you go through the day to day hustle and bustle with no awareness of Who’s presence you’re in, what’s the point? What’s the point of it all? A question so many struggle with but the answer is so simple. God is the point. Relationship is the point. You have the incredible ability to be in relationship with GOD. I am such a different person when I spend my morning in God’s Word…it equips me to go through my day with a different kind of awareness, a different perspective, a different grasp on reality…and it affects the way I do things, how bad my road rage is, the way I treat other people, the choices I make throughout my day, and on and on and on. We are not meant to merely survive this life waiting for eternity. Eternity is now.
Lord let your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Amen!