People Who Say Such Things: Show Us How Faith Works

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February 10, 2020

Genesis 24:1-9 (NIV)

Abraham was now very old, and the Lord had blessed him in every way. 2 He said to the senior servant in his household, the one in charge of all that he had, “Put your hand under my thigh. 3 I want you to swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you will not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living, 4 but will go to my country and my own relatives and get a wife for my son Isaac.”

5 The servant asked him, “What if the woman is unwilling to come back with me to this land? Shall I then take your son back to the country you came from?”

6 “Make sure that you do not take my son back there,” Abraham said. 7 “The Lord, the God of heaven, who brought me out of my father’s household and my native land and who spoke to me and promised me on oath, saying, ‘To your offspring I will give this land’—he will send his angel before you so that you can get a wife for my son from there. 8 If the woman is unwilling to come back with you, then you will be released from this oath of mine. Only do not take my son back there.” 9 So the servant put his hand under the thigh of his master Abraham and swore an oath to him concerning this matter.

CONSIDER THIS

Observe the blessed outcome of an obedient life.

Abraham was now very old and the Lord has blessed him in every way.

Abraham doesn’t rest in this. He will live by faith in the promises of God to the very end. He calls his servant and enlists him in the cause. He sends the servant back to his homeland to get a wife for Isaac. Two things Abraham knew: First, Isaac’s wife needed to come from Abraham’s homeland and clan. Second, Isaac had to stay in the land of the Canaanites which the Lord had promised to Abraham’s descendants.

Abraham lived between a promise and its fulfillment.

Abraham said. 7 “The Lord, the God of heaven, who brought me out of my father’s household and my native land and who spoke to me and promised me on oath, saying, ‘To your offspring I will give this land’—he will send his angel before you so that you can get a wife for my son from there. 8 If the woman is unwilling to come back with you, then you will be released from this oath of mine. Only do not take my son back there.

People who say such things show us the very essence of faith. As far as faith is concerned, a promise from God is money in the bank. It is as good as fulfilled. Faith, in fact, doesn’t hope in the promise but actually moves as though it is already done. 

Abraham knows by faith the servant will find a wife and yet he is not sure it will work out like he thinks. This potential wife will have a will of her own. Maybe she will not come back with the servant. In other words, God’s will is God’s will yet a person’s free will is just that—their free will. Abraham asks the servant to swear him an oath yet he gives the servant an out clause.

Abraham extends his faith as far as he can— which is complete dependence on God, and yet if it doesn’t work out like he thinks—he still completely depends on God to work it out in some other way he can’t yet see.

In the matter of God’s will, everything depends on God, yet the free will of people can pose enormous complexities in how God’s will ultimately gets worked out. People can thwart God’s plan, but they can’t change his will. God always has another plan and another one after that. We can’t control the outcome or even the process. We can only be obedient as far as we can understand and see. We seek wisdom from God by faith and then we set things in motion by obedience. From there we let things unfold, trust the process and outcome and all the possible (and even impossible) contingencies to God.

God’s will is fixed yet his ways are fluid. We are not responsible for the choices of others; only our obedience to our best understanding of God’s will and our best discernment of the ways God works with us. It requires us to move all at once with a humble boldness and yet a faith-filled tentativeness.

We too live between a promise and its fulfillment.

People who say such things show us how to do it.  

THE PRAYER

Father, I want to be a person who says such things. I want to be a person who trusts your will and who obeys your plan and yet who trusts the process and the outcome to you. Forgive me for my need to be in control. You are in control. Give me the courage to have the faith to play my part, whether it makes sense to me or not. Train my spirit to be boldly confident that your will—will in fact be done yet wildly open to how you will bring it about. Come Holy Spirit, and train me be such a person of faith. I pray in Jesus name, Amen. 

THE QUESTION

God’s will is fixed yet his ways are fluid. How do you understand, agree with, disagree with and grapple with this statement? How do you relate to this notion of the contingencies and complexities of how God’s will gets worked out in our lives? 

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

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