This week let’s cover 2 chapters- if I have room that is.
Luke 12 and Hebrews11.
Hebrews 11 is the famous Faith chapter- it records all the heroes of the faith- so to speak.
Just a few points.
If you read the examples of faith in this chapter- you see a ‘strange’ thing.
Many of the ‘acts of faith’ seem to actually be failures!
Yeah- go read it.
Some died- by faith- they were tortured- and because they had FAITH- they did not accept deliverance- but died- and the bible says they will ‘get a better resurrection’.
Now- let’s get real.
Is this type of example popular in today’s Christian culture?
How many dear moms- who lost their kids to some disease- and were told [some outright- I know of examples] that if they had faith- their kid would not have died.
Not only is this wrong- and contrary to the greatest commandment Jesus gave us [to Love God and each other- how can you call telling a mom this- love?]
But in this chapter we are told some died- in FAITH.
I also like the example of Joseph- it says when he was about to die- he gave commandment ‘concerning his bones’.
That is- he knew some day they would get out of Egypt [because God promised this] yet- he would die- in Egypt [see- he would not live to see the promise fulfilled] and tell his family that in the future- when God did keep the promise- for them to take his bones!
Yeah- he had faith- but that did not mean he would- himself- see all the final results of what God was going to do in the future.
Actually- this is one of the main themes in the chapter ‘These all died IN FAITH- NOT HAVING RECEIVED THE PROMISES- but having seen them afar off’.
That’s so against our present mindset.
No- in today’s world- we equate faith with GETTING THE PROMISE- NOW.
But in some of these cases [I say some- because to be honest- we also read that some did see their kids raised back to life- some did win great battles- etc.] faith was simply knowing that down the road- after they died- God would still keep the promise he made.
These promises- like many in the bible- were generational.
That is- they would be fulfilled thru following generations.
The greatest example was Abraham.
We are told that God promised him a huge heritage of people- he would be the ‘Father of many nations’.
Yet- when he finally had a son- after many years of waiting [Isaac].
God said ‘Abraham- go and OFFER YOUR SON ON THE ALTAR’.
Yes- this was the test.
So Abraham took the boy- and up to the mountain he went.
He ties the boy down [historians tell us the ‘boy’ was an older teen at this time- and that means the kid laid down willingly- a type/symbol of Christ on the Cross].
Abraham was ready to kill his son- and God stopped him.
Now- in Hebrews chapter 11- it says that Abraham simply believed that God would have raised him from the dead in order to keep the promise that thru this son he would have many descendants.
See- Abraham was told that it would be thru this boy- and him alone- that God would fulfill the promise.
Yet- how in the heck could he kill him- and yet see the promise come to pass?
In his mind- he thought ‘I guess God will raise him from the dead’.
The point being- all these examples are not what we usually think about when we think ‘FAITH’.
A big part of faith is giving our lives for a greater cause- for others- and even after we die- God will fulfill his ultimate promise thru these people.
Now- how many of you have believed God for some promise- some thing- and it seems like the only link left- the only chance for hope- is lying on some altar- ready to die- by your hand!
Often times we are the ones- in some way- that sabotage the promise.
In Abraham’s case- he was the ‘hit man’ so to speak.
God is still able- even at this point- to say ‘STOP- ENOUGH- ITS ONLY A TEST- YOU PASSED’.
Yeah- tests only count [in Gods school that is] if you think the sacrifice IS REAL.
Many times over the years I have had friends say ‘yeah- this is my Isaac’.
That’s a common phrase to say ‘yeah- I’m walking away- I’m giving all this up for God- just like Abraham gave up his son’.
To be honest- many times my friends who said this were really walking away from stuff that they didn’t want in the first place.
So- for this test to be real- the so called ‘Isaac’ test- you have to think- and believe- in your heart of hearts- that what your walking away from is real- and valuable.
Now- God does not always do the ‘Isaac’ thing the way we want.
Yeah- if we get to the point where all is gone- thinking in the back of our heads ‘okay God- now tell me this is only a joke/test’.
Be careful- he might just say ‘no son- go ahead- Isaac is no more’.
NOTE- I didn’t have time to get to it- but Luke 12 deals with trusting in God- and yes- once again- not seeking security in material stuff [money].
How does this fit in with Faith?
One of the examples in Hebrews 12 is how Moses- by faith- forsook the wealth of Egypt- not fearing the wrath of the king- and chose to suffer affliction with the People of God- than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.
In context- it is saying that suffering with God’s people is greater treasure than stuff.
Ok- in Luke 12 Jesus deals with the same thing.
He tells the parable of a rich man- has lots of stuff- his stocks are booming.
He says ‘I know- I’ll build greater store houses- I’ll put all my stuff in there- and find security’.
Jesus calls him a fool and says ‘you will die tonight- and then who will get all your stuff’.
Jesus then says ‘be rich in God’s way- giving to the poor- etc.’
He then gives a verse that for some reason I memorized many years ago.
‘Beware of covetousness [greed] - for a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he owns’.
So yes- faith entails a willingness- and at times- an actual ‘doing’ of the command to ‘sell what you have- give to the poor- and you will have treasures in heaven where moths don’t get to it- where it won’t rust- and where thieves can’t break in and steal it’.
Yeah- Moses forsook the material advantages he would have had if he stayed as Pharaohs adopted son- but he wanted to identify with his people [for you non bible readers- just recall the movie the 10 commandments- Moses rejected his false Egyptian identity- and accepted his real identity as a Jew].
And part of this step of faith was losing all the wealth and benefits that came with his former life.
Ok- this week the point is we- at times- will be called to go on new journeys.
Sometimes they are a result of our own failures- the bad choices we have made.
But at this stage in life- all we can do is forget the past- and make the best of what’s next.
I recently had some people I know- who were doing well- they messed up some.
When they told me- I simply tried to encourage them- to say ‘ok- what’s done is done- don’t dwell on it- but accept the reality that those years were NOT WASTED YEARS’ [he felt like all the good years were for nothing- because he now had to ‘start all over’].
The fact is- all of our life is a journey- Jesus said why worry [he uses the term TAKE THOUGHT] for the little things that happen in life [geez- we worry about rent- bills- etc.]
If worry can’t change the big things [it can’t] then don’t even waste time on the small stuff!
The apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in the city of Philippi- he said;
‘Be careful [worried] for nothing- but in all things- by prayer and supplication- WITH THANKSGIVING- let your requests be made known unto God- and the PEACE OF GOD- which passes all understanding- shall keep your hearts and minds thru Christ Jesus.’
Yes- walking- living by Faith means we don’t seek security the way the world seeks it.
The unbelieves seek it by seeing how well their 401 k is doing [by the way- as I write today- they just took another hit the last few days].
No- we want to be responsible- and it’s ok to have investments- but Gods kingdom is not based on that.
In Luke 12 we are told that one brother comes to Jesus and says ‘tell my brother to share the inheritance with me’.
Jesus says ‘man- who made me a judge- a wealth distributor- over these things’.
Its’ interesting- but the reply of Jesus can be seen in much of today’s Christian culture.
Many see Jesus as some type of financier- as someone who can ‘distribute’ wealth to us.
Jesus rebuked this mindset- this is what launched him into the story that I just told.
Go read the chapter- see for yourself.
Ok- that’s it for the week.
Meditate on these principles- if your depending too much on stuff- then maybe it’s time to get rid of some of it.
Yeah- give some away- it does a soul some good.
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [FaceBook] - I have posted lots.