Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“It is, indeed, a source of immense profit, for godliness accompanied with great contentment…For we brought nothing into the world, And obviously we cannot take anything out of the world…aim at and pursue righteousness (right standing with God and true godliness), godliness which is the loving fear of God, and being Christlike, faith, love, steadfastness, patience and gentleness of heart.”
I Timothy 6: 5, 11
“’Godliness with contentment is great gain,’ says the Word; or as rendered in Phillip’s (Bible) vivid paraphrase: ‘there is real profit, of course, but it comes only to those who live contentedly as God would have them live’ (I Timothy 6: 6). The promise is for those whose hearts are at rest in whatever state God has placed them…The lilies of the field are rooted in God’s earth and draw their sustenance from soil and sunshine…the children of the King should be as lighthearted as the lilies. Rooted are they in the earth, yes; but their faces are always turned toward the sky! The birds are delighted with their lot, and lift their daily, even hourly, thanksgiving to their Provider in the lilt of song. Like them our Lord would have us to be carefree, yet not careless, thoughtful, and not thoughtless; confident, and not complaining; faithful, and not fearful; prayerful, and not peevish nor petulant; careful, yes, yet not full of care.”
V. Raymond Edman
Today’s Study Text:
“And the Angel of the Lord called to (Abraham) from heaven and said, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ He answered, ‘Here I am.’ And He said, ‘Do not lay your hand on the lad or do anything to him; now I know that you fear and revere God since you have not held back from Me or begrudged giving Me your son, your only son.”
Genesis 22:11, 12
“The Fraud We Call Fear” Part 10
“The Move, The Monarch, The Mammon, The Mistress, and The Mountain – Part E
“We cannot make God greater or higher than He is; but if we adore Him as infinitely great, and higher than the highest, He is pleased to reckon this magnifying and exalting Him.”
Even in the most fearful experiences of my life, in what ways have I seen God’s glory revealed?
In a commercial world, how do I see God’s glory and thus hold Him in reverence?
“A sight of God’s glory humbles. The stars vanish when the sun appears.”
“The best evidence of our fearing (reverencing and honoring) God is our being willing to serve and honor Him with that which is dearest to us, and to part with all to Him or for Him.”
Out of the desperation of silence, a voice rang out, “Abraham, Abraham!” This cry from heaven was not too early or too late. “Do not harm the boy.” These were words Abraham had longed to hear for three days. As he climbed atop Mt. Moriah, he hoped that a voice would stop the ascent, but none was heard.
With the knife held tightly in his hand and his arm raised heavenward, Abraham was ready to part with the child he loved more than his own life. He would have done the unthinkable and taken the life of his son. As several Biblical scholars point out, it was Abraham’s belief that his Father in heaven would provide a way out even if it meant that Isaac would be resurrected from the dead.
For us to understand more completely the relationship which had been forged between Abraham and his heavenly Father, we need to explore the words God chose to speak to this man of faith for they help us understand the depth of Abraham’s commitment to Someone whose face was obscured from view because of the blight of sin.
Author Ronald Youngblood helps us with his commentary on Genesis 22: 12 – “And (God) said, ‘do not lay your hand on the lad or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear and revere God, since you have not held back from Me or begrudged giving Me your son, your only son.” As Author Youngblood suggests, “Perhaps a comment is in order about Abraham’s ‘fear of God. To ‘fear’ God in contexts like this is not so much to be ‘afraid’ of Him or to ‘dread’ Him as it is to ‘respect’ and ‘revere’ Him…In the mind of the ancient Israelite, fearing the Lord included loving Him and trusting Him.”
Interestingly, when we respect another person to the point that we fully trust them, we will, like Abraham, find that our faith in that individual becomes a “silver thread” as Pastor Charles Spurgeon calls it. As A. W. Tozer correctly states, “Faith rests upon the character of God, not upon the demonstration of laboratory or logic.”
After a lifetime experience with God, near the end of his life on earth, Abraham’s relationship with God was one of mutual trust and love. There was nothing Abraham would not do in answer to his heavenly Father’s request. By the same token, God knew His friend Abraham. Pastor Ben Patterson sums up their union this way:
“God has a special affection for those who let go of their Isaacs, their deepest loves, for the sake of a promise. Mount Moriah is very near another mount, perhaps no more than a few hundred yards that we know as Golgotha. It was there that God gave up His one and only Son for the sake of His promise, the very same promise He made to Abraham. What Abraham was willing to do, but didn’t have to do, God actually did! Hear this, you who struggle to trust God’s promises, who have been forced to let go of the things you most love, who strain to believe (God) is perfect in love, wisdom, and power: ‘He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all – how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things” (Romans 8: 32).
Abraham’s faith was in a Father whose promises he learned could be counted on all his life through. Thankfully, our Father does not change. The promises He made so long ago, He will keep today. The question for us today is: What in the world means more to me than anything else and would I be willing to freely give that to God today?
"Thou, Lord, alone art all
Thy children need,
And there is none beside;
From Thee the streams of blessedness proceed;
In Thee the blest abide,
Fountain of life, and all-abounding grace,
Our Source, our Center, and our dwelling place."
Madame Jeanne Marie Guyon
The God of Abraham Praise
"The God of Abraham praise,
Who reigns enthroned above,
The Ancient of eternal days
And God of love.
Jehovah, the great I AM,
By earth and heaven confessed;
We bow and bless the sacred name
He by Himself hath sworn;
We on His oath depend.
We shall, on eagles' wings upborne,
To heaven ascend.
We shall behold His face;
We shall His power adore
And sing the wonders of His grace
The whole triumphant host
Give thanks to God on high;
'Hail, Father, Son and Holy Ghost!'
They ever cry.
Hail, Abraham's God and mine!
With heaven our songs we raise;
All might and majesty are Thine
And endless praise."
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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