Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Abraham - Father of the faith #4 (the ultimate!)

Hebrews 11:8 - By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.


By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.


And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.


By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.


Is there anything else I should say regarding Abraham? He laid a foundation for us. There is even a childhood song regarding Father Abraham and his many sons, I am one of them and so are you...


The last part that the author writes is fascinating, though. Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death. I know no man that would do such a thing. I couldn’t. how then did Abraham know that this is what was going to happen? Did he know, or was it only faith in God? Did he maybe know the Lords will that well?


I don’t have the answers, but I do know that I should trust the Lord more often, and listen to His voice, in order to ensure that I too get to a point in my walk with Him that I can KNOW.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Noah - Father of the faith #3

Hebrews 11: 6 - By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.

In Genesis 5 the Bible tells us about Noah. Verse 29 - And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed.

Genesis 6 verse 8 -  But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth.  So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high. Make a roof for it, leaving below the roof an opening one cubit high all around. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks. I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you. You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.”

An interesting story indeed. Just think about it, Noah did something for which, I am sure, he was laughed at, joked about and pretty much everyone thought he was crazy. If you know how the story ends you would know that Noah and his family is saved from the flood and all animals were kept alive.

But how/why?

Verse 22 has the secret to that success: Noah did everything just as God commanded him.

Just as we should...


Thursday, 16 May 2013

Enoch - Father of the faith #2

In verse 5 of chapter 11 of the letter to the Hebrews we get reminded of someone who lived very close to God: By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.” For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.
When we have a look at the detail in the Bible regarding Enoch, there isn’t much, Genesis Chapter 5 from verse 18: When Jared had lived 162 years, he became the father of Enoch. After he became the father of Enoch, Jared lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Jared lived a total of 962 years, and then he died. When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years. Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.
It raises a lot of questions, such as:
          - Did Enoch not walk faithfully with God for the first 65 years?!!!!
          - He was no more? Seriously? Or is this by way of speaking?
          - In Jude 1:14-15 Enoch is quoted, but there is no other reference to him. How did Jude know what Enoch said? (apparently there is a book of Enoch that does not form part of the Bible…)
More importantly, though, I believe, is the verse 6 after the author said that Enoch pleased God: And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Is this it? 1 – I have to believe that He exists, and 2 – I should earnestly seek Him.
I believe it is that simple. Believe Him and in Him. Also, seek Him with all my heart.
You see, it is very easy to believe IN God, for most of us grow up that way. The trick comes when we have to believe Him. Those times when He gives us a word or prophecy and we just cannot see that it will ever come into fruition. Or those trying times when we feel like questioning everything. That is when we have to believe IN Him, trust Him.
Then, to seek Him is a daily, on-going, repeating event. A lifestyle, more than just separate once-off stops in our life.
If only I could be half as effective in this area as Enoch was…

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Abel - Father of the faith #1

As we saw in Hebrews chapter 11, the author refers to Abel as a father of the faith, verse 4 By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.
In Genesis chapter 4, verse 2, we see the story of Abel: Later she gave birth to his (Cain’s) brother Abel. Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought an offering - fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favour on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favour. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
I always looked at this thinking that the Lord was a bit harsh, as Cain could not help that he works with soil. Was there, by that time, a specific law stating that you have bring a blood offering? I don’t think so… So what is the issue here?
You see, it’s does not lie in what we bring to the Lord, but rather in how we live our lives. We can pretend and do whatever is pleasing in other people’s eyes, but only the Lord knows our hearts. Look again at verse 7: If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.
Only now does it make sense to me that this story probably had nothing to do with the offering, but rather with the lives they lived. Abel lived a life of faith, as the author of the letter to the Hebrews noted, while sin was crouching at Cain’s door.
Let us not try and impress other through our lives, but rather live a life of faith.