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Thursday, April 26, 2018

# 206 The Blessing of Obedience



The Book of Genesis

Day 206

Ge 22:15 Then the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time out of heaven,  16 and said: "By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son - 17 "blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies.  18 "In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice."

 The “Angel of the Lord,” This is the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ, the Everlasting Son of God! This is one of several appearances of Jesus in the Old Testament, and theologians call these appearance “theophanies.” These events are always important and worthy of special note.

Think about this. The Son of God has just witnessed an earthly father willing to sacrifice the thing most dearest to him to God. In the same way, that His Father would one day offer up this “Angel of the Lord” as a propitiation (payment) for the sins of the world.

 1Jo 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1Jo 2:2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

You can catch how deeply this moved the Son of God as He pronounces a blessing on Abraham for the sake of this one time never to be repeated act of obedience on the part of Abraham.  God would never again call on anyone other than Himself, to sacrifice a child. And His sole purpose in sacrificing Jesus was to show the world how much He loves us! Joh 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

As in Abraham’s case, God’s love and God’s blessings break out and are unleashed in our obedience to His Word. With that in mind, we should stop looking at the Ten Commandments  as  God’s way of spoiling our fun here on earth. They are meant to serve as a curb against unrighteousness in our world, but they are also meant to convince us of our sins and therefore show us our need for a Savior, and  they are also meant to show us how to love others and thereby prove our love for God.  

Jesus made this latter use of the Law evident when He spoke to the Pharisees in Mt 22:36-40, "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?"  37 Jesus said to him," 'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.'  38 "This is the first and great commandment.  39 "And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'  40 "On these two commandments hang all the Law and the  Prophets."

Do you want to demonstrate a love for God as Abraham did? Do you want Jesus to show up in your life as He did here with Abraham?  Then obey! First of all, obey the voice of the Gospel and receive Jesus as your Savior and then out of gratefulness, receive Him as your Lord.  As your Lord, you will seek to obey His voice! He is your Lord and He promises to show up in your life as you treasure (keep) His Word. This “treasuring” of His Word always shows up in obedience and He said in Joh 14:21,  "He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him."

Pray: Father, let me never take Your love for me for granted. Let me relish You as my Savior, but then help me to live in such a way, that it is evident You are my Lord.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

# 205 Sacrificial Giving





The Book of Genesis
Day 205
Ge 22:13 Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son.  14 And Abraham called the name of the place, The-LORD-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, "In the Mount of The LORD it shall be provided."

“The Lord will provide.” How often have we heard that phrase repeated, especially when someone is going through hard financial times!  

Of course the Lord’s number one provision for us is the sacrifice of His only Son for our sins,  but as our loving Father, He also provides for our material needs. Jesus said in Mt 6:33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

 Abraham was prepared to “give to God,” the most important thing in his life…..his only son, the long awaited  Isaac.  This willingness to sacrifice Isaac showed a heart that would not withhold anything from God.  A heart that realized all he had was God’s anyway. This is a place where we need to get to in the area of giving. We need to come to the realization that all we have (goods and kindred) belong to God!

Remember when Abraham was ready to go up the mountain and sacrifice (“give”) Isaac back to the Lord? He told the young men who stayed behind, “”The lad and I will go yonder and worship.” Abraham’s willingness to give his only son was an act of worship! Of course God is not asking anyone to sacrifice their children, but sacrificial giving to the Lord is an act of worship!

There are other examples of this type of sacrificial giving in Scripture In 1 Kings 17 we read of the account of the widow and Elijah. She was down to her last bit of flour, yet shared it with Elijah because she believed the word from the Lord. She believed He would not let her oil or flour run out. She believed God would provide.

Then there’s the widow dropping her two mites into the offering and Jesus making special note of her, because she gave all she had. What do you think happened to that widow?  We aren’t told, but she caught the eye of the Lord with this act and  2Ch 16:9 says,  "For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.”

Are you struggling with faith in the provision of God? Do you hold back in your giving out of fear? I know I have in the past, but listen to the words of Jesus. He said, Do not worry saying, what shall we eat? Or what shall we drink? Or what shall we wear? Your heavenly Father knows you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

God will provide! Our responsibility is to simply seek His kingdom and His righteousness, and His kingdom and righteousness are sought as we obediently yield all that we are and have to Him.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

# 204 Lift Up Your Eyes



The Book of Genesis

Day 204

Ge 22:13 Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son.  14 And Abraham called the name of the place, The-LORD-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, "In the Mount of The LORD it shall be provided."

“The Lord will provide.” How often have we heard that phrase repeated, especially when someone is going through hard financial times! But this is not about finances! It is about the Lord’s provision for the sins of the world.  

What a picture! The substitute sacrifice, that would take the place of Isaac, a male sheep with his head caught in a thicket, foreshadowing the crown of thorns that our own substitute would one day wear on this very same mountain! 

Note too, that Abraham didn’t look behind him. He didn’t look to the left or to the right. He “lifted his eyes UP!  This is what we must do to be saved! We must look up on the cross of Calvary and see the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

In Numbers chapter 21 we read of an incident where the people had sinned against the Lord, and the Lord sent a plague of deadly vipers among the people. These snakes represent sin, and here’s how God told Moses to handle the deadly sin problem in their midst!

Nu 21:8 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live."

A fiery serpent? Why not a lamb? Wouldn’t that be more fitting? Not really. God used this incident to show the people (and us) what He would one day do with all sin. The Holy Spirit speaks of it through Paul in his second letter to the Corinthians: 2Co 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Jesus became sin for us! He became the fiery serpent lifted high upon the pole, and all that looked up to it survived the plague of snakes, Survived the plague of sin!

As it is said to this day, In the Mount of the Lord (Calvary) it shall be provided.  We all know the words of Jn 3:16, but have you ever paid attention to what Jesus said right before it?

Joh 3:14 "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,  15 "that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
 16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  17 "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Look up brother! Look up sister! Join with Abraham and Moses and see the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! Look up! Receive the gift and live!

Monday, April 23, 2018

# 203 Was He Stalling?



The Book of Genesis

Day 203

Ge 22:9 Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. 10 And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.  11 But the Angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, "Abraham, Abraham!" So he said, "Here I am."

 Meticulous: showing great attention to detail; very careful and precise.. This is what strikes me about Abraham’s preparations to offer up Isaac to God. He builds an altar and then places the wood in order. This is not some back yard burn, with wood thrown in the pit in a helter skelter manner! I can picture Abraham very carefully building this fire one stick at a time. He builds the funeral pyre in in such a way that Isaac would fit nicely on top of it. Then he carefully ties up Isaac and then stretches out his hand (dare we say, ever so slowly,) to take the knife that would be used to slay his son.

Was he stalling? 

Were these methodical preparations all being done in the hope that God would break into the scene and put a stop to it? I’m pretty sure, I would be in the stall mode, how about you? One can almost read Abraham’s mind, “OK God, I’ve got the altar built, You sure You want me to do this? Nevertheless, not my will but Thine be done.  OK God, the wood has been placed in order, You can still stop this. Nonetheless not my will but Thine.  I’ve got Isaac tied up Lord and atop the wood, is there any other way?  Nonetheless, not my will, OK Lord I’m grabbing the knife now, PLEASE put a stop to this”…..and at that point He did.

Now, I’m not saying Jesus was stalling in the Garden of Gethsemane, but He certainly was open to His Father coming up with a plan B. Three times He asked His Father to remove the cup from Him, and He was denied three times,  There would be no heavenly interference as in the case of Abraham and Isaac. There would be no substitute provided.  This would be the ultimate sacrifice. This would be the sacrifice of God’s only Son, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

Can we enter the pain of the Father here for just a moment? Can we grasp just a little bit the depth of love that God has for the world, for you, for me? Can we ever hear Jn 3:16 the same way again? “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

There was no Angel of the Lord appearing to Pilate telling him to release Jesus. There was no angel of the Lord using his forearm to block the first blow of the hammer that would drive the nails through the hands and feet of Jesus.  There was only the Father willing to allow His only Son to die for the sins of the world, and there was only an obedient Son who also loved the world so much that He laid down His life on His own accord. 

Joh 10:17 "Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.  18 "No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father."

There is no greater love! Therefore love Him. Receive Him as your Lord and Savior, that you may spend eternity with this kind of love.

Friday, April 20, 2018

# 202 God Will Provide




The Book of Genesis

Day 202


Ge 22:6 So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together.
 7 But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, "My father!" And he said, "Here I am, my son." Then he said, "Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?"
 8 And Abraham said, "My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering." So the two of them went together.

Still another pre-figuring of the passion of Christ as Abraham lays the wood of the sacrifice on the back of Isaac. He will be required to carry the wood up Mt Moriah, just as Jesus was required to carry His cross up to Golgotha.

At this point we finally hear from Isaac! “Hey Dad, we’ve got the fire and the wood, but where’s the lamb?” What a devastating question for the father, Abraham! How would’ve you answered that question?? “Little children should be seen and not heard?” Or perhaps you would’ve sat him down and explained the entire situation, “man to man?” Not so for Abraham. He gives an answer that is good for all time! “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.”

God will provide! Perhaps you are in a similar situation today. You look around your present circumstances, and there doesn’t seem to be an answer. There appears to be no way out! Hear again the words of Abraham, “God will provide.” While you’re at it, listen to the words of the Apostle Paul in 1Co 10:13, “No temptation ( that is, no trial, that’s right, I said trial! Too often we misinterpret this scripture and speak of temptation as enticement to sin, but the true meaning of the term here is trial by testing, a stretching if you will!.)

So, it reads, “No trial has overtaken you  except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted (tested, stretched, tailed) beyond what you are able, but with the temptation (the trial) will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” Please note that you will be able to bear it, because that speaks of endurance. The way out of the trial is enduring!

God will provide while you endure! And Abraham called the place Jehovah Jireh, which means “the Lord will provide, as it is said to this day, “ In the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.” (v14) 
Do you need provision today? Then head for the mountain of the Lord and receive it as you endure, for in climbing the mountain, provision is supplied when you need it!

 Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be provided.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

# 201 So Many Shadows




The Book of Genesis

Day 201

Ge 22:3 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.  4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off.  5 And Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you."

Have received God’s promises like a welcome guest, Abraham doesn’t hesitate to obey God. He starts out the very next morning and heads to the land of Moriah. It’s a three day journey, which is quite significant, as we shall see later. Abraham brings a donkey, some wood, some provisions, and two young men.

Why did he bring along the two young men? It’s not like he needed their help. In fact when the time came to carry the wood and actually perform the sacrifice, the two young men were told to stay behind with the donkey!

This entire grand event in the history of the people of faith in the One True God,  was rife with shadows of the grandest event of all times. …the death and resurrection of the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

We have the shadow of the father offering his only son.
The three day journey, picturing the three days in the grave.
Abraham’s assertion to the two young men , “We will come back to you!” a picture of  his faith in the resurrection.

The writer of the Book of Hebrews puts it this way:  Heb 11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,  18 of whom it was said, "In Isaac your seed shall be called,"  19 concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.

Then there’s the picture of  Isaac being laid upon the wood, just as Jesus would be laid upon the wood of the cross of Calvary some 2000 years later on this very same mountain!
And let’s not forget about the two young men.  Could they be a picture of God the Father and God the Holy Spirit who on that day at Calvary would withdraw from the third person of the Trinity, and watch Him die for the sins of the world from a distance? “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me!”

So many shadows! So many pictures left for us and others that we might see and also believe in the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins, and the resurrection unto eternal life. “In Isaac ( a picture of Jesus) your seed, (the seed of the true children of Abraham) shall be called.” 

Pray: Thank You Father for all the pictures You have painted for us in Your Word, may they point us to the reality of Your love for us, demonstrated in the laying down of the life of Your only Son, and raising Him up again that we may have life.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

# 200 Entertaining the Promises of God



The Book of Genesis

Day 200


Ge 22:2 Then He said, "Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you."

Where’s the protest Abraham? Where’s the outcry against such a seemingly cruel command of the Lord? Lord, this is my only son! I have waited 100 years to have this child! Surely you can’t be serious! Whatever happened to “Thou shalt not kill?”

What’s going on here? Well for one thing God wants us to make the connection between  the sacrifice of His own long awaited Son, (4000 years of waiting) and the promise of His resurrection!

If Abraham had any protestations they were swallowed  up in his tremendous faith!  Abraham clings to the promise of God that his seed will be blessed through this same Isaac, and if Isaac is slain the only possibility would be for Isaac to be resurrected from the dead.  Abraham had faith in God’s power to raise the dead! We must also have this faith.  Ro 10:9 says, “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

In Heb 11:17-19, we read, “ By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,  18 of whom it was said, "In Isaac your seed shall be called,"  19 concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.”

Abraham was only willing and able to sacrifice his son because he had “received the promises”  The word “received” here means to “entertain as guests.”  Whoa! We have talked about Abraham’s gift of hospitality  before as it concerns people, but now it seems he has the same attitude about the promises of God! He receives them as welcome guests!

How do you view God’s promises> Are they intrusions in your life, or welcome guests? Have you spent any time getting to know them?  Have you received them? Have you embraced them? Look what happens when you do! They instill and strengthen faith in you, and with faith as small as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “move from here to there, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Mt 17:21)

Receive the promises of God! Put out the welcome mat and begin to build your own God-given faith on the promises found in His Word! For without faith, it is impossible to please God!