Saturday, March 23, 2013
Paul and I use Through Faith Alone, a collection of devotional s by Martin Luther. Yesterday's has caused me to do a lot of pondering. It's based on Genesis 22:19: "Then Abraham returned to his servants, and together they left for Beersheba. Abraham remained in Beersheba."
Think about that! Abraham had just had a truly amazing religious experience!
He had been willing to sacrifice Isaac; he had gone so far as even to have raised the knife. The story implies that Isaac had trusted his father enough to have willingly complied with Abraham's actions.
Then Abraham heard the voice of God's angel. He experienced God's presence and was given the ram for a sacrifice. He called the place 'The Lord Will Provide.'" He even heard the angel a second time and was given the promise that his descendants would be innumerable and that all nations would be blessed throu him.
And what was Abraham's response? He returned to Beersheba and remained there! Why? Because God had given him no other command! In other words, he listened to the voice of God - and he also listened and responded to God's silence. He didn't do anything different; he returned to his wife, his home, and his responsibilities.
"If certain overly religios people were to comment on this passage, they would question Abraham's piety and condemn him for leaving the mountain. They would think that if Abraham were really such an outstanding example for later generations, then he wouldn't have left that holy place. After all, that is where Abraham had met God and His holy angels. How could he return to his donkey and go back to his everyday work? What kind of piety is that? It is remarkable how much certain religious people despise honest work and everyday chores."
We all need to remember that faith isn't about "feeling religious." It's about believing that we are sinful beings in need of a Saviour. It's about believing that Jesus died on the cross to be that Saviour. It's about believing that Jesus paid the FULL PRICE to save us. "It is finished." We don't need to do anything; in fact, we CAN'T do anything - except respond when the Holy Spirit calls us to repentance. Then, too, after we respond, we don't need to DO more; He has done everything necessary!
You see, salvation isn't about us and how we feel or act. It's ALL about God and how He acts. If He doesn't act, i.e. if He doesn't command us to act in a certain way, then we can rest assured that we ARE in the place He wants us to be at this moment in time. We continue in the roles we currently have, whether spouse, parent, student, laborer, or pastor. No one role is more important or more pleasing to Him than another. We please Him by coming down from the mountain and living to please Him exactly where we are.
Of course, he may later speak and call us to something different. He may also continue speaking until we're finally willing to listen, to respond. But until and unless He calls us to change our course of action, we should embrace "honest work and everyday chores" in our everyday lives exactly where we are - whether it's Beersheba or Fulton, MO, or wherever we are at right now.