Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Story 2: Could You?

Remember back to the day of your coming to Christ, of being clothed in Christ?
God gave Abram a plan to follow. Trust Him. 
Can you imagine what that must have been like for him? Here he is, his family has relocated half way between Saudi Arabia and Iraq. First, one of his brothers dies, and then his father. His dead brother also had a son, so Abram takes to raising the boy, though still his own father’s heir, Abram is concerned later that his servant will inherit all that Abram has instead of his own son, his own legacy.
But God called him to go, and he gave him a promise. Go and I will make you into a great nation. Here he is, in his mid 70s and his wife, in her mid 60s. “You shall be a great nation.” It’s that promise that people can become tired of hearing. You will have kids someday, don’t you worry! Could you leave your comfort zone?
Abram tried to fulfill the plan, messing it up. 
You see, God was on Abraham’s side. This empowered Abraham. Who wouldn’t be? If God is on your side, how can you falter? Perhaps it’s because we forget the proper perspective. President Lincoln was once asked about the Civil War, on whose side is God? He said that the real question is, are we on God’s side?
Abraham would then show himself to be a force to be reckoned with. He was generous in his judgment. The camp was too big for both Lot and Abraham so they parted company. Abraham even allowed Lot to take the Valley of Sodom and Gomorrah, which was greener to graze the flock.
Then after Lot left, Lot was taken captive along with many of his neighbors. With the help of 318 men, Abraham is able to rescue everyone and restore the loot to the rightful owners. He refused to take anything that wasn’t his. Even afterwards, he gave a tithe to the priest of the most high God. (Here we have the introduction of two terms, Hebrew and tithe.)
Though God was guiding him, that promise was still weighing on him. How? When? Sarah was barren. But she came up with a plan, to give her husband her maid so that the maid can become the surrogate in Sarah’s stead. She’d forgotten the promise that their offspring. Of course we know the mess that came, from Ishmael being kept by his mother instead of being given to Sarah. Then their relationship later...
Even with God on their side, they acted apart from God. They saw the promise. They knew God’s word. But instead they thought they knew better. God was acting too slow. By the time the Lord would act, they’d likely be 100 years old. It’d been 10 years since the promise was made.
Yet that wasn’t the only time they messed up. Trusting God is easy to do, intellectually. It’s harder to let that trust affect your actions. I am with you. Another promise. Tell them that you are my sister because they will otherwise kill me because of your beauty.
God still worked the plan to the good of those who love Him. 
When they make a mess of life, they make a royal mess! Yet God doesn’t chastise Abraham and his impatience. He didn’t save him from the consequences of those actions, either. It is claimed that Islam comes from the line of Ishmael. Yet God is gracious. At 99 and 90, Isaac is now on his way. One son is all that is needed. One son, and Abraham’s faith stops becoming an intellectual construct and becomes real. It was tested.
When Isaac was older, we aren’t sure how much older he was, but perhaps a young man since he was carrying the wood to consume his body by fire. When asking about the sacrificial lamb, Abraham replied, “God will provide the lamb.” Even in his mind, he committed that either God will indeed provide the lamb or He would raise Isaac back to life. Could you take such a step of faith?
So what is our take-home from this story? God has called us, just as He called Abraham. He’s given us a mission, just like Abraham. That mission is to convey the Good News to those we meet. Oh indeed, that very likely will mean that we must leave our comfort zone.
For when we are comfortable, we allow God to become an intellectual construct. Yet God wants us to live a different life, a life that is full of grace and love. He wants us to make disciples.
And yet, no matter what is in your life, look at Abraham or any of the other people God uses in the Bible, New Testament and Old. Save Enoch, everyone has a failing. Some could be graded worse than others. But God doesn’t look at what we’ve done. He sees us through whom we’ve trusted. He sees us pure. He gives us not only strength but also power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish the mission that we’ve been called.
So the question is, can you leave your comfort and live by a little more faith? Have you been living a life of faith? Or, as important, do you have a relationship with the Father? If not, come let’s talk afterwards.

No comments:

Post a Comment