Cloud of Witnesses IIIFebruary 26, 2007
Genesis 21:10-13 “Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac. And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight because of his son. And God said unto Abraham, let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of the bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called. And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed.”
Abraham gained some important understanding with these instructions from the Ancient of Days. He understood that it would be through Isaac that his seed would be called. He also learned that in Ishmael a nation would also come forth. In other words, neither of his sons were going to be cut off. He could turn the situation concerning Hagar and Ishmael over to Sarah knowing that everything would be alright. I bring this up because Abraham was grieved over Sarahs demands and God eleviated this grief by promising that a nation would come from Ishmael. Abrahams simple trust in the words of the Lord were soon to be put to a test that the natural mind cannot begin to fathom.
Hebrews 11:17-19 “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac; and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.”
Abraham believed God. He trusted the words of God over all of the physical evidence to the contrary. He truly believed that in Isaac would his seed be called and as such, believed that God would even raise him from the dead; had the trial of his faith lasted a couple of seconds longer. The testimony of Abraham is one that we’ve read and heard teaching on countless times, but as I was reading this earlier, it really began to dawn on me just how profound it is. No ten step program on how to increase your faith. No formulas, no correspondance courses, and no indication that Abraham had ever seen a person rise from the dead. It was a venture into that which was contrary to all earthly recollections and offered no physical evidence of having happened before.
Genesis 15:6 “And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.”
Noah, Abraham, Job, Elijah, Joshua, Daniel, any of these guys. If one were to go up to them and ask “what’s your secret?’ The reply would be along the lines of “there’s no secret. God said thus and therefore, thus is true. Gods word has more authority than the laws of physics and the continual repeating of historical patterns. This is something that we all must get into our heart of hearts as our faith will be tested in ways that we may well not expect. A favorite example is “suppose a spacecraft lands on the white house lawn and a bunch of Pleiadians emerge?” Will our faith stand up in the face of something that seems to be in such contrast to the biblical account of creation?”
Hebrews 11:20 “By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.”
The story of Jacob and Esau is a complicated one to discuss and I feel woefully inadequate in doing so. It brings with it questions of predestination in the minds of some. Romans 9:11-15 discusses this; verse fifteen explaining that the Lord will have mercy upon whom he will. This is a complex subject indeed as we also know that God isn’t willing that any should perish. I’m convinced that the biggest problem with Esau was when he sold his birthright for sustaeance in this life. This is kind of drifting off topic but the following passage is very enlightening. It also serves as a warning that we should keep our hearts with all diligence.
Hebrews 12:16-17 “Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no space of repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.”
Venturing into a few of the “scary verses” this morning. Esaus problem was “Esau” as is evidenced by the preceeding passage. Just like Cains problem was “Cain” I’m compelled to bring up the passage in Genesis where God explains things to Cain.
Genesis 4:6-7 “And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
One thing that taking on a portion of scripture such as Hebrews chapter 11 is that, if you go verse by verse, it forces topics that normally you may neglect to tackle. Jacob and Esau is such a topic. In the natural, it really appears sneaky for rebecca to have Jacob pose as Esau in order to receive the blessing. Then when Isaac asks him how he found the venison so fast, Jacob replies “Because the LORD thy God brought it to me.” Nonetheless, such is how things transpired. One more verse before moving on.
John 2:23-25 “Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself to them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.”
The simple truth is that God knows every thought and every intent in every heart of every person who ever has walked the earth, walks the earth now, or will walk the earth in the future. That’s an unimaginable amount of information that God has and as such he sees the “whole picture.” His ways really are past our finding out by folks who pass through this life as a vapor that quickly vanishes away. This offers us a glimpse into the awesomeness of God and the incredible salvation that we have in Jesus.
Hebrews 11:21 “By faith Jacob, when he was a-dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.”
Genesis 48:20-21 “And he blessed them that day, saying, God make thee as ephraim and as Manasseh: and he set Ephraim before Manasseh. And Israel said unto Joseph, Behold I die: but God shall be with you, and bring you again into the land of your fathers.”
An expected end; the expected end that all who love the Lord look to. Jacob looking not just till the days of famine were past, but into the future when they would leave Egypt altogether. I’m going to leave this for now and post it; probably before I should as I really haven’t gone through it as I would like to yet. I have to run around this morning and I don’t know how much time I’ll have here. This is forcing me to ponder things as going through scripture should always do; no matter how many times we may have read a certain portion. It never gets old; it only gets deeper and sweeter.
Well I’ll publish it and see what happens. If I have typed error in anything, please bring it up. One thing about dialogue of this nature is that it provides a means of discussion with folks who like to discuss things.