Lesson 1 -- first quarter 2005
December 5, 2004
© Copyright 2004, Christian Light Publications
Probing Your Own Heart
Can you, like Abraham, perceive God's personal call to you?
Is your heart set to do the will of God no matter the cost?
Building on Some Foundational Concepts
Sarai was barren.
"But Sarai was barren; she had no child" (Genesis 11:30). What is so foundational about that? It establishes the reality that gives meaning to God's promise to Abram and to Abram's faithful acceptance of that promise. Sarai's barrenness was surely just as God-given as was the promise to Abram. When God's promises defy the realities we know, faith must triumph over rationalism.
The familiar and the comfortable may hinder God's ambitions for us.
It would seem that Abram was at ease in Haran. He was among the familial and the familiar. But God had grand ambitions and immense promises for him -- ambitions and promises that required removal from some of that to which Abram was attached. When God chooses to tear us from our treasures, He doesn't do so lightly. Likewise we must keep to a minimum our attachments to the temporal; otherwise, God may not accomplish His ambitions for us.
God zealously treasures His own.
"And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee" (Genesis 12:3). That is how "wrapped up" God's heart was in His people way back then. He treasures His own no less in our day. That means He holds you and me dear. Shall we bask in that reality without giving anything in return?!
Worship and sacrifice should follow promise.
When God promises, it is up to us to claim the promise. That same faith should also lead us to "build an altar" (to worship and sacrifice) as Abram did (Genesis 12:7).
Questions and Responses
Why couldn't God accomplish His purposes for Abram in Haran and among his family?
We really do not know. God didn't choose to reveal to us that portion of His perspective. And we don't have any evidence that Abram knew the answer either. We do have plenty of evidence that Abram accepted God's plan, seemingly without insisting on having it all satisfactorily explained to him.
We also must rest in the assurance and faith that God knows exactly what He is doing. His decision to have Abram leave wasn't merely some experiment to see if His ideas were workable. No! When God said, "Get thee out of...and from," He knew that was the best way to accomplish His purposes. Had the best way been for Abram to stay put, then there would have been no command to leave. God works no differently in our day and in our lives. As children of faith, we too are called on to respond as Abram did: "So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him" (Genesis 12:4).
Does Genesis 12:3 apply to Jews today?
Consider the verse again: "And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed."
Plenty of pro and con arguments have been presented in the debate of whether or not to apply that verse to modern-day Jews in general and to the present nation of Israel in particular. Since this space has no room for that (and I have no interest in pursuing it), let's not get into that angle. Rather, let's focus our attention and decision-making on the consequences presented in the verse.
If Genesis 12:3 leads me to bless Israel and Jews in my day and I learn later that it wasn't necessary because the verse no longer applies, I have lost nothing. After all, even God bestows certain blessings on those who do not deserve it (Matthew 5:45).
Alternately, if I think the verse doesn't apply and therefore (at a minimum) opt not to bless them and later learn the verse did apply, I have lost much. So why take any chances?
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