Monday, January 02, 2012
ABRAHAM, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 1/2/2011
THE LAMB ON MOUNT MORIAH, Part 25a
There are several places in the Bible that are describe as holy ground. This chapter is one of those places. In fact, there is too much good stuff here to even hope to get it all in one message. Therefore, I want to look into these verses and try to catch a glimpse of the Lamb. Today, I would like for us to see the Lamb on Mount Moriah. As we move through this great story from the life of Abraham, I hope we will see that there is something far larger to view here. I hope we will see today that there is a clear portrait of the Lord Jesus Christ and of the price He paid for sinners.
As this story unfolds today, I ask you to give the Lord your undivided attention. Allow Him to speak to your heart today and let Him have His way in your life. This is a chapter that is filled with great blessings. Allow me to share a few of them with you as we look at The Lamb On Mount Moriah.
V. 1 WE ARE TOLD OF A GREAT SAINT
His Name - The man's name is "Abraham". It means "Father of a multitude." When the Lord first called this man to follow Him, his name was "Abram". That name meant "Exalted Father." Yet, at that time, Abram was 75 years old and he was childless. As Abram began to follow the Lord, the Lord changed his name to "Abraham". When he had no children, his name was "Exalted Father". Now, he has one child and God calls him "Father of a Multitude." Imagine the reaction of those around Abram when he announced the name change.
While some surely laughed at this old man and his strange name, that name was, in fact, the promise of God to Abraham. While he only had one son, the Lord promised him that he would have many more, "Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.", (Gen. 17:5). By the time we arrive at today's text, Abraham has two sons. The first, Ishmael, has already left the home, (Gen. 21:9-21), and Isaac, the son of promise, who was born when Abraham was 99, is the only one there.
While people may have mocked this man of God, he placed his trust in the Lord. Even though he only had one son, Abraham looked ahead to a time when the Lord would keep His promises! My friends, this is what saved Abraham's soul. Simple faith in the Word of the Lord, (Gen. 15:5-6), "And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness." Friend, that is how salvation worked then, and it is how salvation starts its works today, because without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb 11:6)! You hear the promise of God , you accept it by faith as you repent, confess Jesus is Lord, and put Jesus on in baptism (Acts 2:38; Rom 10:10; Gal 3:27). That is obeying the Gospel of Jesus Christ and what saves the soul!
His Nature - Notice that as soon as the Lord speaks, Abraham responds. This tells us a lot about this great man of faith. He has his ear tuned to the voice of the Lord. He is literally waiting for orders from headquarters. Here is a man who is literally living by faith, (Rom. 1:17). Here is a man who lives his live for the will of God.
What a lesson for those who claim to love the Lord Jesus Christ! Most of us are so busy listening to the call of the world and the flesh that we cannot even hear His voice when He does speak to us! What are you living for this morning? Is it wealth? Is it family? Is it job? What has your attention today? Don't you think men should be listening for the voice of the Lord? I think so! After all, He is the only voice in the world today that is speaking the truth. He holds the way of salvation for you if you will listen to Him!
After all these thousands of years, Abraham is still viewed as a great saint of God. He is revered by the Jew, the Muslim and by the Christian. He is called by name 284 times in the Word of God. Why? Because he believed God! What about you? What legacy are you leaving behind? Where is your faith today?
V. 1-5 WE ARE TOLD OF A GREAT SACRIFICE
V. 1 The Challenge - The Bible tells us that the Lord "tempted" Abraham. This was not a temptation to do evil. The Lord is never a party to sin, !James 1:13). This is a trial or test of Abraham's faith. There is no doubt that Abraham loved Isaac, (v. 2). There can be no doubt that Abraham loved God. Just look at his life from chapter 12 until this time. He has proven his love over and over again. After all, he left his home, his country, and his family all because God called him to do so. He journeyed as a stranger in a foreign because he loved the Lord. Now, he about to prove the depths of his love for the Lord God.
It is one thing to trust God while waiting on a promise to be fulfilled and quiet another thing to trust Him when He asks us to give that thing back to Him. Abraham had waited for 25 years for Isaac to be born. Now, Isaac is somewhere around 15 or even older. He is the fulfillment of all the promises God ever made to Abraham, and yet the Lord asks Abraham to give him back to God. What a test of this man's faith! Abraham has spoken of his faith in the Lord for years. Now, he is given the opportunity to prove his love for the Lord.
On the surface, this may seem like a cruel thing the Lord is doing. However, we know the outcome! God is demonstrating that there are some people who love the Lord more than anything else in this world. Even more than themselves or their families. God is also painting a picture of His love for humanity. This picture will become clearer as we move through these verses. At this point, do not miss this lesson: real faith is always tested! God never tested Lot. Why? Everyone knew what Lot was. He was worldly, selfish and foolish. He could not be trusted in a time of testing. Abraham, on the other hand, could be trusted! When God trusts you, He will test you! Why? Two reasons.
1. To show you that He can take care of you in the test.
2. To show the world that He is worthy of faith. He does it to get glory for His name!
V. 2 The Cost - The cost is almost beyond calculation. God tells Abraham to take, and notice how the cost is kept constantly before Abraham, your son, your only son, the son you love more than life itself, and offer him to Me as a burnt offering! Surely, this must have broken Abraham's heart! After all, Isaac represented all the promises of God for Abraham. In truth, to Abraham, Isaac was life, (Gen. 17:19-20)! If Isaac were dead and gone, then the promises of God would become worthless. If Isaac were to die, then the hopes of Abraham would die as well. Yet we do not find him trying to negotiate with the Lord. As we will see, this father, brokenhearted though he was, was willing to pay the price! What a portrait this paints of our great God: the Heavenly Father! He also gave up a Son! Notice the similarities between Isaac and the Lord Jesus.
1. Thy son - Is. 9:6 - "unto us a son is given."
2. Thy only son - John 3:16 - "only begotten son"
3. Whom thou lovest - Matt. 17:5 - "this is My beloved Son."
Yet, when the Lord looked at the plight of humanity, He loved us so much that He willingly allowed His Son, the Lord Jesus, to die in our place on the cross, (Rom. 5:8). Never be guilty of thinking that salvation is a cheap thing to be taken lightly! Your salvation cost the Lord Jesus His life on a Roman cross. The price was pain, agony and death, but He paid it because He loved us ( Isa. 53:3-7).
TODAY’S PSALM and BLESSING,
New International Version (NIV)
1 Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge. 2 I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” 3 I say of the holy people who are in the land, “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.” 4 Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more. I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods or take up their names on my lips. 5 LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. 6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.
To Be Continued Tomorrow!
Sunday, January 01, 2012
ABRAHAM, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 1/1/2012
QUALITIES OF GENUINE WORSHIP
The principle of “The Law Of First Mention”: (Satan in Gen. 3; Egypt in Gen 12, etc.). The First mention of the word “worship” is seen in Gen 22: 5, in the Bible. This passage sets the standard for what genuine worship is all about.
The word “worship” means, “reverence or devotion for a deity”. It comes from Anglo-Saxon word “worthscipe”, meaning “worth ship”. Means “ascribing worth to a person or object.” When we “worship” God, we are saying “God is worthy of all our love, our attention and our devotion. He is worthy to receive all that we can give Him.”
The word translated “worship” in verse 5 comes from a Hebrew word that means “to bow down, to prostrate oneself”. In the New Testament, “worship” comes from a word that means “to kiss the hand in a token of reverence”. It was used to refer to “a dog licking his master’s hand”. It is an image of absolute love and complete trust and devotion. People have some strange ideas about worship like it’s something that can only be done in “church“. Like going to a church and sitting quietly while religious exercises are conducted. Worship is a time of singing, preaching, reading of God’s Word, praying, meditating, offering up our gifts, and praising God, and can be done anywhere, anytime and not just in “Church”.
You hear people say, “We really worshiped Sunday! Why, our preacher didn’t even get to preach!” Did genuine worship really take place? Or, they may say, “Our service Sunday was so sublime. The minister’s words were so touching, everyone left the service uplifted and encouraged.” Was that genuine worship? In Gen 22, we are allowed to see genuine worship fleshed out. In this terrible time of testing, Abraham shows us what worship truly is. Let’s examine these verses about the Qualities Of Genuine Worship.
v. 3 GENUINE WORSHIP IS SUBMISSIVE
God’s command was hard, most hard and unbelievable. Yet, it was absolutely clear! God said “Go, worship and sacrifice your son, Isaac.” Abraham did not hesitate; he did as he was commanded! He did not offer excuses, he got up early and he went,( v. 3). A true heart for God is marked by obedience, (John 14:15and 21). Scriptures says that we are His and that we can show our love for Him by doing what He tells us to do ( John 5:24; 8:51 ; 14:15and 23). Worship is not only something a person does; worship is what we are! Every obedient moment of our lives is an act of worship. Our work, witnessing, praying, studying the Bible, meditating, praising Him, singing, our thinking, and even planting a tree..
v. 2 GENUINE WORSHIP IS STEADFAST
Abraham’s life is marked by worship as seen in his altars and in his worship. In fact, Abraham had just finished a time of worship at Beersheba, (Gen. 21:33). He was enjoying a time of blessing and prosperity and he worshiped God. He worshiped the Lord when times were good. In this passage, things take a turn for the worse. God and His ways are not making sense, but Abraham still worships Him! It’s easy to worship God when things are good. It’s not so easy when hard times come! Genuine worship looks beyond the crisis of the hour and sees a God Who is worthy of worship regardless of how life is going. Genuine worship sees a God Who is in control of all the situations of life and it bends the knee to Him, (Rom. 8:28; Ps. 37:23; 2 Cor. 12:7-10). Far too many people are looking for an excuse not to worship. Genuine worship sees the hand of God in all of life and loves Him through the good and the bad.
v. 5 GENUINE WORSHIP IS SEPARATED
When they arrived at the mountain, Abraham separated himself from every worldly care and went to worship. Abraham came ready to worship and he let others take care of worldly matter. Genuine worship shuts the world out and separates itself unto the Lord. Too often our worship is contaminated and controlled by the world. Genuine worship should be the first priority of our lives. We should do nothing else until we have worshiped Him! For examples: Jesus in Mark 1:35; 6:46; and David in Ps. 5:3. We are never too busy not to pray! Worldly concerns contaminate our public worship too. Church is not the place to catch up on gossip; do your nails; figure your checkbook; show off your clothes; fix your hair; talk to your neighbor; look for fault; cause trouble, etc. When we enter the assembly we should come for the sole purpose of worship!
v. 5-10 GENUINE WORSHIP IS SACRIFICIAL
This worship was going to cost Abraham very dearly. He was called to give up the Son of Promise, Isaac. Notice how God makes the demand, (v. 2). Abraham’s response was he never waivers! He gathers what he needs and he goes to do what the Lord has asked of him. He is willing to sacrifice everything he has and everything he has been promised at the command of God. He holds nothing back! Would Sarah have understood?
Genuine worship is costly because it requires us to make sacrifices. Things like time, plans, pride, pleasures, secret sins, etc., will all have to be taken to the mountain and placed on the altar. That is why so few genuinely worship. It is not cheap! What some will give is a cheap variety. We get what we pay for (Gal 6:7)! Genuine worship requires that everything of value be placed on the altar and given to God, ( John 4:23-24; Rom. 12:1-2).
v. 5 GENUINE WORSHIP IS SECURE
Abraham did not know all that was going to happen, but he went up that mountain expecting a miracle, and that is just what he received. (Heb. 11:17-19) He knew that his worship would not be in vain!
Genuine worship does not understand all of life. It is not pleased with every twist in the road. Genuine worship gives itself unreservedly to God, in spite of the things it cannot comprehend, and it bows before Him in the face of everything. Genuine worship knows that its earthly expression is merely practice for what will be perfected in Heaven. Genuine worship bows before God because it realizes Who God is, what God has done and where the road of faith will end up. Genuine worship knows that the real miracle, privilege and blessing is that God allows it to happen in the first place!
Conc: What made all this possible was Abraham’s availability, (v. 1). He was in his place, listening for the voice of the Lord and he was ready for worship. God is seeking genuine worshipers, (John 4:23-24). Is your worship genuine; do you worship in Spirit and in Truth; or does it need work?
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE and BLESSING
New International Version (NIV)
1 Listen to my words, LORD, consider my lament. 2 Hear my cry for help, my King and my God, or to you I pray. 3 In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. 4 For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness; with you, evil people are not welcome. 5 The arrogant cannot stand in your presence. You hate all who do wrong; 6 you destroy those who tell lies. The bloodthirsty and deceitful you, LORD, detest. 7 But I, by your great love, can come into your house; in reverence I bow down toward your holy temple. 8 Lead me, LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies— make your way straight before me. 9 Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with malice. Their throat is an open grave; with their tongues they tell lies. 10 Declare them guilty, O God! Let their intrigues be their downfall. Banish them for their many sins, for they have rebelled against you. 11 But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. 12 Surely, LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.
A SAYING ABOUT MOMENTS I PRACTICE:
In Happy Moments, I praise God; In difficult moments I seek God; In quiet moments I worship God; In painful moments I trust God; And for every moment I thank God.
HAPPY NEW YEAR MY FRIENDS! Vic.
Saturday, December 31, 2011
ABRAHAM, Following In The Footsteps Of Faith, 12/31/2011
HOW TO ENJOY THE REST AREAS OF LIFE, Part23b, Continued From Yesterday!
V. 33 FOR INVOLVING YOURSELF WITH HIS WORSHIP
Abraham used this calm period of life to call on the name of the Lord. He used this time to deepen his relationship with God. This certainly equipped him for the battles that still lay ahead.
Why is it that so many people wait until the bottom falls out to call on the Lord? The best time to worship Him is all the time! It says far more about your character when you are consistent in worship than it does for you to wait until you are in trouble to call on Him. Many people treat Him like He was a spare tire! Pull Him out when life goes flat, put Him away again when the crisis has passed.
Don't wait until some calamity comes to run to Him, be in the business of seeking His face day by day (Mat 6:33). Then, when trials do come, you are already close to Him. That is why church, Bible reading and study, and prayer are so vitally important.
V. 33 FOR INVESTING IN THE FUTURE
This verse tells us that Abraham planted a "grove". This simply means that he planted a tree. He is making an investment for the future. At his age, he might never cool himself under its shade, but Isaac will, and his grandchildren will. He is looking beyond himself to those who will follow and is making a difference for them while he can.
Use the rest areas of life as times to make an investment in the future of the Lord's kingdom work. Is there a young person you can mentor? Is there a life you can impact for the glory of God? Is there someone's life that you can be a blessing to for the glory of the Lord? This is what the Lord intends His people to be doing (Titus 2:2-10).
There will come a time when your life will be wracked by the winds of adversity. When those times come, your focus will be so inward that you will not be able to make a difference for others. The time to reach out is when things are going smoothly. Sadly, too many believers live their lives for self, with no concern for anyone else.
V. 1-8 FOR INVENTORYING HIS BLESSINGS
As those peaceful days unfolded for Abraham, he was able to spend the time listening to the laughter of Isaac and Sarah. He was able to contemplate all that the Lord had done for him and how God had blessed his life. It was a time for him to inventory the blessings of the Lord.
Being thankful for the blessings of the Lord in the days when life is good is a great way to prepare for those times when it is less than pleasant! Living in the constant awareness of the Lord's goodness and blessings in your life is a hedge against doubt, fear and uncertainty when the hard days of trials come. God would have us to be a thankful people (1 Thes. 5:18; Phil. 4:6). Don't take the easy days of life for granted! They will not last forever, but while they are here, use them as times to rejoice in the blessings of the Lord and to prepare for the days that are coming when it may seem that the blessings are few and far in between!
Conc: At this point in his life, Abraham was well aware of all that he had already been through. He knew what the storm felt like! He knew how dark the valley could be and he knew how long the night could last. But, he did not know what lay just ahead! If he had been able to see the future, he might not have ever chosen to face it. God in His wisdom, used this rest area time in Abraham's life to prepare him for the trial that was just ahead.
You know, you and I cannot see tomorrow either! We do not know what is ahead. I am just glad that God, in His wisdom, plans a few rest areas along the way for us to enjoy. He gives us the times of refreshment and peace to help us to recover from our past battles and to prepare ourselves for the trials that lie ahead. Are you using the rest areas of life to their full advantage? If you are in one of life's lulls, thank God for, and ask Him to help you to use it for His glory. If you are in the storm today, why not come before Him and thank Him for the battle you are fighting and thank Him that somewhere out there, there is a rest area with your name on it!
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE and BLESSING!
New International Version (NIV)
10 Your people settled in it, and from your bounty, God, you provided for the poor. 11 The Lord announces the word, and the women who proclaim it are a mighty throng: 12 “Kings and armies flee in haste; the women at home divide the plunder. 13 Even while you sleep among the sheep pens, the wings of my dove are sheathed with silver, its feathers with shining gold.” 14 When the Almighty scattered the kings in the land, it was like snow fallen on Mount Zalmon. 15 Mount Bashan, majestic mountain, Mount Bashan, rugged mountain, 16 why gaze in envy, you rugged mountain, at the mountain where God chooses to reign, where the LORD himself will dwell forever? 17 The chariots of God are tens of thousands and thousands of thousands; the Lord has come from Sinai into his sanctuary. 18 When you ascended on high, you took many captives; you received gifts from people, even from the rebellious— that you, LORD God, might dwell there. 19 Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!
Friday, December 30, 2011
ABRAHAM, Following In The Footsteps Of Faith, 12/30/2011
HOW TO ENJOY THE REST AREAS OF LIFE, Part 23a
There are times in life that are simply difficult to tolerate! There are battles to fight, valleys to cross, long nights of the soul to endure and storms that must be weathered. All you have to do is read the story of Job, or just live in this world for any length of time and you will know what I am saying is true. These times are not sent because the Lord wishes to cause us trouble. He is in the business of conforming His people into His image (Rom. 8:29, 1 Cor. 4:17). The trials of life are the tools that shape us into His likeness. Therefore, even though they are difficult, they are a blessing in disguise.
Despite how we feel sometimes, life isn't all bad. We would all have to admit that there are times when the Lord inserts times of peace into our lives. He allows us to pass by some "still waters" and He causes us the "lie down in green pastures." I thank God for those times in my life and I know you do too! Just as surely as the troubles of life are sent into our lives to grow, mature and strengthen us, the rest periods of life are sent for their purpose as well.
This chapter is all about a rest area in the journey of Abraham's life. The ups and downs that lead to this point. I would like to point a few uses for these rest areas of life. When the times of rest come, knowing how to use them properly allows us to extract from them all the blessing that God wants us to get, as we now take a few minutes to look at How To Use The Rest Areas Of Life.
V. 33 FOR INHABITING THE BEST PLACES
The middle part of this passage has to do with a transaction between Abraham and Abimelech (v. 22-31). This transaction saw seven sheep change hands. These seven sheep ewe were a testimony that the well belonged to Abraham. The well became known as "Beersheba", which means "The well of the seven-fold oath." Water wells were of vast importance to men like Abraham. They needed them to ensure the lives of their flocks, herds and families. It was by this well of sweet water that Abraham settled down and enjoyed this rest area of life.
When the fur is flying in your life, it is harder to concentrate on your walk with the Lord. But, we should take advantage of the calm times of life to enhance our relationship with Him. If we can learn to love Him during the lulls of life, then we won't have to work nearly as hard to find Him during the storms!
What I am advocating is a life that zeros in on God through prayer, worship and the study of His Word. A life that doesn't wait until everything falls apart to confess its sins and seek His face. But, a life that is lived in a place of closeness day by day, even when things are good. A life that finds a place of consistent growth in the things of the Lord is a life that He can use for His glory! A good example of this truth is the life of Job. He called on the Lord when things went wrong (Job 1:20-22). He was able to do it quickly because he had spent time in the Lord's presence when things were going well (Job 1:1, 5, 8).
If we can ever learn to settle down in the best places of His blessings during the good, restful times of life, we will not be so easily blown off course when the adverse winds of trials and afflictions begin to blow against us!
V. 22-32 FOR INSULATING YOURSELF WITH HIS PROMISES
These verses tell of the covenant made between Abraham and Abimelech concerning their mutual interests. Abimelech was concerned about his safety, Abraham was concerned about his well. At the end of this summit, Abraham could dwell with safety within the borders of Abimelech's land because he had the promises of this covenant (v. 23).
Use the rest areas of life as times to meditate on the great promises of the Lord! Let these truths feed your soul. Then, when the troublesome times do come, you will find that you are steadied by His Word and by His great promises.
For instance, we believe in eternal security, and that is His promise to His children, but under the right kind of pressure, you might begin to feel that you are lost again. John the Baptist in Matt. 11:3, found himself in a position of doubt that he probably never thought he would see! The promise of His presence is another that comes under attack. What about His power and ability? What about His Sovereignty? What about His ability to meet your needs? However, I believe that if you will immerse yourself in His promises, they will be a help and a comfort as you fight the battles of life. The whole point is this, so fill your heart and life with His truth during the lulls in the storm, that when the winds begin to howl again, you are insulated by His promises. You will find that it is a tactic that works wonders!
TODAY’S SCRIPYURE and BLESSING!
New International Version (NIV)
1 May God arise, may his enemies be scattered; may his foes flee before him. 2 May you blow them away like smoke— as wax melts before the fire, may the wicked perish before God. 3 But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful. 4 Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him—his name is the LORD. 5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. 6 God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land. 7 When you, God, went out before your people, when you marched through the wilderness, 8 the earth shook, the heavens poured down rain, before God, the One of Sinai, before God, the God of Israel.
TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW!
Thursday, December 29, 2011
ABRAHAM, FOLLOWING THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 12/29/2011
Genesis 21:9-21 WHAT AILETH THEE?
Abraham may have been the father of the faithful, but His family life was a shambles in the relationships of Abraham, Sarah, Hagar and Ishmael. According to Gen. 16, this arrangement did nothing but cause trouble for Abraham, Sarah and Hagar. Sarah was jealous of Hagar and her baby; Hagar was jealous of Sarah and her relationship with Abraham; poor Abraham is caught in the middle trying to please two women. In our text, things have come to head. There is all out civil war in Abraham’s tent. As a result, Hagar finds herself in a desperate situation. In the midst of that terrible time, she has a powerful, personal encounter with Almighty God. Out of Hagar’s pain comes a ray of hope for all those who find themselves in the hard, harsh places of life. I want you to see that God can take your hopeless situation and turn it around for His glory. I want to focus in on the question the Lord asks Hagar in verse 17, “What alieth thee?” If you have an ailment, regardless of what it may be, God has a word of hope for you in these verses.
v. 9-14 IT WAS A TIME OF HARSH REJECTION
Things had been tense in Abraham’s tent for many years. In this passage, Isaac is about three years old and Ishmael is about seventeen. They are celebrating as Isaac matures from a baby to a little boy. Things come to a head during this feast and Hagar faces a terrible time of rejection.
v. 9-10 The Reasons For This Rejection – Ishmael was mocking and making fun of Isaac and the festivities. The word “mocking” is a strong form of the word “Isaac”, which means “laughter”. Ishmael saw all his hopes of inheritance dashed in Isaac, the promised son. He knew that Isaac was the son of promise and that he was just the son of a slave. So he is jealous of Isaac and he acts out his rejections during the feast. Sarah sees this and blows her stack and demands that Hagar and Isaac be sent away!
v. 11-14 The Realities Of This Rejection – Abraham is reluctant, but God tells him that this is part of His plan for Isaac and for Ishmael. For Abraham, this is as real as it gets! He is forced to send away his oldest son and that son’s mother, Hagar. It broke Abraham’s heart to have to send them away. It was a hard morning for Abraham, a worse coming (“Grievous” = “to tremble or quiver”, v. 11). We all know that life can be just like that at times. We are enjoying ourselves one moment and the next; we are on the bottom, looking up, wondering how we got down here. This life is filled with hard realities and heartbreaking moments. Sickness comes; people die; relationships fall apart; depression rears its head; difficulties arise; troubles dog our steps. That is the reality of life! (Job 14:1; John 16:33). Gen. 3:17-19 show us “Some have been there; some are there and some are going there“.
v. 15-16 IT WAS A TIME OF HOPELESS REALITIES
v. 15 There Were Problems – The water ran out, the sun beat down and Hagar gave up! Life is like that at times ( 2 Cor. 1:8). Sometimes, the burdens are more than we can bear! But, they are never more than Jesus can bear (2 Cor. 1:9-10). In Matt. 11:28-30 Jesus is in the yoke with you!
v. 16 There Was Pain – Hagar’s heart is broken. She is sure Ishmael is going to die; and didn’t want to see him die so she set herself “A Bowshot” away, which is probably about 1000 feet. She does not want to witness the death of her son, so she leaves him under a bush and goes off to weep. She found herself in a situation she could not fix and from which she could not escape. Have you ever been there? David was (Ps. 55:1-8). Most of us like to be in control of our lives, when we can’t control it or fix it, we get desperate! Have you ever been there?
v. 16-17 There Was Prayer – Hagar may have prayed: Ishmael certainly did. God heard him and moved to help him; “Ishmael” means “God Hears”. Prayer is an ever-present resource for the believer. We can run to Him anytime, anywhere, for any purpose and He has promised to hear us and help us! (Matt. 7:7-8; Jer. 33:3; Phil. 4:6-7). Prayer should be our first priority, not the final straw! Here’s the truth: Problems are going to come into our lives. When they do, they will come unwanted or unannounced. When they come, they will hurt us deeply at times. When they come, we must not delay, but we must run to the Lord and seek His help. He will hear us and He will help us. He may change the situation, but more often, He will change us in the situation (2 Cor. 12:7-11).
v. 17-21 IT WAS A TIME OF HIDDEN RESOURCES
While Hagar went through this time of terrible tragedy, she was enveloped by some very precious hidden resources. She didn’t realize it, but God was there and He had just what she needed to see her through. She was so overcome by her grief that she could not see the resources that were right there before her eyes. Have you ever been there? We say it like this, “Can’t see the forest for the trees”.
v. 12-13 God’s Providence – God had a plan in all of this. Ishmael represented the efforts of the flesh and he had to go, so the son of faith, Isaac, might obtain his rightful place. The pain and suffering was part of God’s plan. The same is true in your life and mine. God has a plan and sometimes it involves us walking through some hard places. God knows what He is doing. Until you walk through the valley, you cannot appreciate the mountain top; some examples are Elijah, Widow of Zarephath; Three Hebrews; Daniel; Disciples in the boat; 5,000 plus hungry folks; Mary and Martha; etc. (Isa. 55:8-9; Rom. 8:28; 2 Cor. 4:17). Thank God He is behind the scenes pulling all the strings of life (Ps. 37:23).
v. 17a God’s Presence – She didn’t know it, but God had been there the whole time. He won’t leave you either ( Heb. 13:5; Matt. 28:20). Other examples are found in Deut. 31:8; 1 Sam. 12:22; Isa. 41:10; 43:2.
v. 17b God’s Peace – God called Hagar by name; He was concerned about her problem, and He spoke peace to her. God knows (Job 23:10). God cares (Heb. 4:15-16). God can speak peace to your heart (John 14:27; Phil. 4:7). Remember the Disciples in the boat when Jesus came walking in the water? “ It is I” ( John 6:19-21.)
v. 18 God’s Promise – He may not make you a great nation, but He will take care of you –(Matt. 6:25-34; Phil. 4:19; Ps. 37:25).
v. 19 God’s Provision – He opened her eyes and showed her what had been right in front of her all along! We are blinded to His provisions by our problems. He can open our eyes and show us that He has everything we could ever need (Luke 24:30-31). He has what you need, if you will come to Him, you can have that provision (The blessings and power of our God). He has more and can do more than you can imagine ( Eph. 3:20)!
Conc: What ails YOU? Bring it to the Father today by prayer and by faith!
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE and BLESSING,
New International Version (NIV)
1 Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong;
2 for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. 3 Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. 4 Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this:
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