Sunday, January 08, 2006

God Sees and God will

Now that the kids are getting older we've enjoyed watching them observe their world with renewed interest. My oldest son is astounded to imagine what it must have been like without the skateboard world as it is now. Most of us are aware of the changes the last couple of decades--I feel gypped having paid so much money for an 8-track or turntable and one can spend just as much on MP3 players--whatever happened to CD's? Remember those? They are not gone yet but it won’t be long! To think that the technology that sent men to the moon is now operating our cell phones is causing me problems. I am writing this blog on a hand-held computer using a transcriber. I'm not using a keyboard--PAPER IS OBSOLETE--THE KEYBOARD IS NEXT TO GO!

Can you imagine what life would be like without A New Testament? Can you imagine what life would be like without a Bible at all? I have a hard enough time getting along as it is much less trying to imagine what life would be like being a worshipper of the true and living God without it. But this is Abraham's situation--he had no Bible but he still has the Word of the Lord. One of my Kids asked me if I thought Abraham heard God speak out loud. I know he did in Genesis 18!

When I read that the Lord tested Abraham I remember that what God asks him to do does not come out of a void nor is it a spontaneous request (as if God were suddenly bored And needed entertainment). God made a request of Abraham within context of His own plan and also by the faith Abraham had exhibited already--and not to satisfy Divine curiosity but to make--a demonstration of what He can and will do. This is a comfort and a confirmation that what the Lord says He will do.

The MKJV gives a curious insight into the richness of the Hebrew language (on the technical side) and a reinforcement of the providential sovereignty of God. Gen 22:14 usually translates YHWH JIREH as ''the Lord provides." This is correct, but thanks to the shallowness of our mother tongue, we only get a small idea of what the words also imply. The MKJV helps out a bit, giving us, "The LORD Will See." The term used to describe the LORD can also be translated as “The LORD will see to it.” This is consistent with what we've seen God do already. This is not time to break out and do something remarkably different.

Remember Abraham had one son at an earlier age by his own attempt to provide for God's own promise. That son (Ishmael) had been ejected from the house twice already. The first time is when he was not yet born (Gen 16). "And the Angel of the LORD found her [Hagar] by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur." (16:7.) At the end of the conversation, Hagar calls Him the God who sees. I wonder (because the text does not say) if she was going to die? The second time was when Ishmael was 14 and Isaac was just born. Ishmael was given up to die God shows up (again) only this time He opens her eyes to something not seen before (do you see a theme developing?) and the boy lives!

Now we come to Abraham and Isaac. Isaac should not be alive, but God has a promise connected to the laughter boy. When I read 22:1 I feel like I am getting one of those stage-winks (you know when a character interacts with the audience during some witty dialogue) --God is testing Abraham, but has Abraham been paying attention?

In contrast to Ishmael, Isaac is taken into the wilderness to die by his father. . . where is the lamb for the fire? God will provide, just as He had given in small ways before, so He will do again! Abraham saw it and passed. God saw it and passed Abraham and Isaac.

Will God ask us to do something He will not see us through? I don't think so. He does not change and is dependable. My N.T. Confirms this. Abraham had huge faith! And the English just can’t communicate how huge.

Bottom line: God purifies our faith. When we obey Him sincerely, believing Him, God breaks us from traditions, ideals, preconceptions we have formed that misrepresent Him. And we have much to be purged. God wants us to better know Him in order that we may more effectively make Him known. How can we point people to God who we don’t really know?

Oswald Chambers wrote, “The great point of Abraham’s faith in God was that he was prepared to do anything for God. He was there to obey God, no matter to what belief he went contrary. Abraham was not a devotee of his convictions, or he would have slain Isaac and said that the voice of the angel was the voice of the devil. That is the attitude of a fanatic. If you will remain true to God, God will lead you straight through every barrier into the inner chamber of the knowledge of Himself; but there is always this point of giving up convictions and traditional beliefs. Don’t ask God to test you. Never declare as Peter did— ‘I will do anything, I will go to death with Thee.’ Abraham did not make any such declaration, he remained true to God, and God purified his faith.”[i] In another place Chambers draws the distinction between the sacrifice of death and the sacrifice through death. Again, Abraham did not have the NT to fall back on.
Genesis 23: Sarah dies, is buried.

Genesis 24: Finding a bride for Isaac. Note the LORD’s activity in the process:

Oath-binder (verse 3)
Life-director (verse 7)
Prayer-hearer (verse 12ff)
Discernment-giver (verse 21)
Success-grantor and worship center (verse 26, 52)
The subject of witness (verse 27)
Blessing-giver (verse 31)
Life-director (verse 40)
Testimony-receiver (verse 42, 48)
The Sovereign director of matters (verse 50-51)

glitter graphics

[i]Chambers, Oswald. My Utmost for His Highest : Selections for the Year, April 26. Grand Rapids, MI: Discovery House Publishers, 1993, c1935.

Popular Posts