Posts tagged ‘Abraham’

January 28, 2013

How Did We Get Here?

by pastortimfowler

Blog

 

I want to fast forward through the rest of Genesis to get to Moses and the deliverance from Egypt. I am currently working on a commentary of the Bible so I don’t want to duplicate that in blog form. Most people are familiar with the story of Moses and how God used him to free Israel from slavery in Egypt. What most don’t think about is how they got there. If you have read your Bible you know the story of Joseph being sold into slavery and the brother’s lie to the dad saying that he was killed. What happens after that is often forgotten when the slavery part comes around.
The Old Testament is full of typology. Certain things and places represent certain common theological issues all throughout the Bible. For instance, Egypt is a type of sin. God’s people, Israel were in bondage to sin, Egypt. When we get to that point in the Bible, most of us are feeling sorry for Israel and rooting for them to be delivered. We all want God to fix the injustice that Egypt is inflicting on them. What we forget is that Israel chose to live there.
Keeping in mind the typology, Israel chose through the years to disobey God. God promised them a land through Abraham and his descendents and over time they rebelled and did what they wanted to do. They chose what felt right to man over what was right to God. That is how sin works. It causes us to go farther and farther away from God. Before you know it we are deep in trouble and crying for God to get us out of it..
Remember that Joseph was sold and left for dead. God sent a famine, and his family that did this to him had to face their sin by going into Egypt and asking for help. Joseph made it possible for the family to move into Egypt and for a while, things were great. But that is how it is, way to often, with sin. It usually feels good and for a while even looks like the right thing, but before long, sin shows its true colors and turns ugly.
God said from the beginning that sin would lead to death. He said that sin would cause trouble for mankind as long as we are on this earth. The more we sin, the less God can fix our problems until we finally decide to turn to Him in desperation and let Him restore us. The good news is that when we finally ask God for help, He will help. He is the only answer to our sin problem. His gift of salvation and forgiveness comes through. Call to Him with all your heart. It is called faith and repentance. If we cry out to God with a change of heart He will forgive us and begin to deliver us from our sin.
The best thing we can do is trust God before we move to Egypt. Turn to God before we think that we can fix a problem by trying to get even further in sin.
Don’t forget that it was Israel that chose to live in Egypt. Don’t forget that even their best efforts turned into slavery. Don’t forget that God is the one who set them free. And don’t forget that you too can be set free if you cry out to God.

January 24, 2013

Isaac Could Have Died

by pastortimfowler

Isaac

In Genesis 22 God’s promise of a son to Abraham has been fulfilled and God tests Abraham’s faith with a really bizarre request. He tells Abraham to take his only son Isaac to the place of worship and sacrifice him. Without chasing that obvious questions of “isn’t that cruel”, because it isn’t if you know God’s promise to him. I want to talk about Abraham’s faith. This whole story is a Christ like story. Think about the similarities. Abraham’s only son, God’s only Son. Isaac carried the wood up the hill, Christ carried the cross up a hill. The father, Abraham was asked to sacrifice, God the Father offered the sacrifice. There was a ram with thorns around its head, Christ wore a crown of thorns. I could go on, but I think you can see the similarities.
Abraham had been promised that God would make his descendants more than the stars in the sky. If Isaac dies, how could this happen? So Abraham had to make a choice. Trust God or argue with God. The Bible tells us that God would rather have our obedience than our sacrifice. But if God wants our sacrifice, we need to trust Him to still fulfill His promises. God cannot lie.
So what were the choices that God had? Well, He could have let the sacrifice happen. If so, He would have had to raise Isaac from the dead or have his 100 plus year old wife have another baby. God could do either. Raising the dead is not hard for God to do. It is hard for us to believe and understand, but not hard for God. Sarah had Isaac at 99, so it wouldn’t be hard at 100 plus.
He could have caused the knife not to penetrate Isaac. Jesus walked through walls and disappeared from among crowds. God made himself in the form of fire and smoke and human flesh, I am sure that He could cause a knife to not penetrate skin.
What God did was what Abraham said God would do. He provided the lamb. As the knife was raised, an angel said stop and they looked and there was a ram in the thorn-bush. It was the lamb from God, again a Jesus picture, as He is THE Lamb of God.
Sure, Isaac could have died. But Abraham believed God and we are told in Hebrews that God counted this faith toward Abraham’s righteousness. As I said, God wants our obedience more than our sacrifice. He wants us to believe that His promises can be trusted no matter how bizarre they sound. God’s ways are higher than ours and our understanding is not required. He wants us to do what we are asked and allow Him to be God. He has done miracles as long as we have been on earth and even before. Nature’s laws do not apply to God and He will never allow the impossible to make Him a liar.
So next time that you are faced with the unbelievable and even the impossible, remember that God is the God of impossible and His love for us is unending. If He tells you to do the unthinkable, first, know that it is from God. Abraham knew this was from God, because Abraham had a very close relationship with God. He knew His voice and knew His promises were true.
I don’t think that God will ask you to sacrifice your child. I often prayed for that when my children were little and was not given the go ahead. But He may ask you to be obedient in the face of logic and worldly wisdom. Knowing God will mean that whatever He asks of you, you can find peace and you can trust Him. The closer your relationship, the greater the peace. The greater the faith, the easier it is to do the impossible.

January 22, 2013

Liar Liar

by pastortimfowler

liar

Genesis Chapter 12:10-20 is a strange story in the Bible. Abraham is going to the place that God will show him and he comes into Egypt where he thinks that something bad will happen to his wife so he lies about her and calls her his sister. He does not have to lie, for a couple of reasons. One, he has God on his side and two, his thoughts were unjustified, as we see when we read the story.
Lying is a common place in our lives. We have this idea that if we are lying for a good reason that it is justifiable. I think that all of us have lied about stuff at one time or another. Those of you who are now saying that you have not done this are now lying. Lying is one of the first sins that humans commit. We don’t have to be taught to lie, it comes natural.
The Bible says that the truth will set us free. It also tells us the Satan is the father of all lies. But, we think that lying is a tool to help us not hurt feelings. So that brings me to the purpose of this blog. If lying is so appalling to God, why do Christians think it is okay?
Abraham is the father of faith. He trusted God to go to a place that he would be shown. Trusted God to make him the father of many nations, even to the point of being willing to sacrifice his only son Isaac. But when facing the present perceived threat to his family, he lies. What I think happened is that he was in a place that was so ungodly, that He dismissed God’s protection for self-protection. When you can’t see God it is easy to turn to self for what we think is best.
Faith is about trusting even when we can’t see or don’t feel God’s presence. Faith is remembering that God is truth and truth never changes. Faith is knowing that when we are in a situation that God has put us in, we can continue to be godly, even when no one else is.
God does not want us to remove ourselves from the things of this world. Jesus lived and ate with sinners. The difference is that He never forgot to be holy. He loved those who were sinners but taught them to not sin. So God wants us to influence others as well. As soon as we give in to the temptation to lie, we give away the ability to allow our faith to shine through. We also limit our ability to show how God works through the tough situation that makes Him the one who solves our problem and not ourselves.
Lying is never the answer. It may feel better, but it will not set us free. Feelings can often be our worst enemy.
God is gracious and will never stop being the God of truth. He often works around our failures and in spite of our sin. But never confuse His love and grace for acceptance of our lack of faith and feeling as if we need to lie. Often our feeling of the need to lie is not justified, even to those who don’t believe. In Abraham’s case the ungodly king was the one who reminded Abraham that God was who He was. I think far more people who claim to not be Christians still know in their hearts that there is a God. They are just looking to see if those of us who publicly say that we believe will allow our faith in action to match our words.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that lying is okay. Tell the truth and live it and watch how God is faithful and true. Jesus said, ” I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life…”

January 16, 2013

Walk By Faith

by pastortimfowler

Abraham

In Genesis chapter 12 we meet a man named Abram, later called Abraham. He is named in a genealogy in the previous chapter, but the first few verses of 12 kind of make you think that we should have known this guy a little more than we do at this point in the Bible. God starts talking to this guy and making him promises as if they have known each other for a while; well they had, but we haven’t.
God tells Abram to go to a place that he will be shown later. The motivation behind it almost seems to be the promise of being a great nation, but this guy was old and didn’t have any kids. I have to be honest with you. If God were to tell me to go somewhere, right now, at my age, and promise to give me lots of kids, I would have to seriously consider becoming a Buddhist monk instead. Promising me kids as motivation would be like promising a kid broccoli as motivation.
The sudden introduction of Abram and the assumption that he knew God a lot longer than it took for us to read that much of the Bible, lets us use our imaginations and assume more than we probably should. What I want to share with you is that the safest assumption is that God and Abram had a relationship that was very close. It had to be for this man to leave his land and relatives with no idea of where he was going. And, I know from reading the rest of the Bible and a personal testimony, that God desires relationships with His people and not religion.
God does not make sense. He reminds me of my parents when I was 6. They made no sense to me when they said not to build a ramp for my bicycle in order to jump over my little brother who was laying in front of the ramp. I had been riding for 2 years and can’t remember ever seeing them on a bike. What did they know about daredevil stunts? I had been watching Evil Knievel jump motorcycles over buses and cars and his parents weren’t around telling him to stop it.
You see, God is, or wants to be our Father. He wants to be intimately involved in our lives. He knows when we are in danger and knows how to do what is best for us. We tend to think that God is only there to be at our beck and call when it should be the other way around. God is our maker and our God. He wants us to love him and trust Him and we can, if we will just quit acting like know-it-all 6 year olds.
I think back through my childhood days and remember all the times that I did just trust my dad. He told me to cast my fishing line in that direction and I did, and I caught a fish. He told me to stand up to that bully and don’t act scared and the bully went away. He told me to go over there and wait and the snipes would come running out of the woods…No wait…there was no such thing as snipes and I waited in the dark for quite a while before I figured out it was a joke. But for the most part, I trusted my dad and did things he told me when I did not know the outcome. I did it because I knew he loved me and was going to take care of me.
Now I can see how Abram took off on his journey to a place that God would show him. Abram is the father of the Jews and the Christians and the Muslims. God held up His end of the bargain. He always does and always will. We just need to know Him. We need to walk by faith.