Archive for tag: Abraham

40. Lessons from Abraham's life

Abraham married again close to the end of his life. He married Keturah and she bore him six sons. God had blessed a man with no descendants to a man with eight sons in total! He was truly blessed. And when the time came for him to die, he left everything to Isaac, but he gave gifts to all his other sons too. He died at the ripe old age of 175. And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the same cave as Sarah, the cave of Machpelah.

He truly was a blessed man and after his death:

"After Abraham's death, God poured out rich blessings on Isaac." Genesis 25:11

Abraham had a rich, full, blessed life and God was continuing these blessings on Isaac, due to the promises He had made to Abraham.

What can we learn from Abraham's life? Well, I think first of all he obeyed God. When God told him to move from his home country, he did. He didn't know where he was going, but God looked after him. He built altars to the Lord everywhere he went and made sure that he and his household stay close to the Lord. He pleaded for the godless cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and cared for his nephew, Lot, even though Lot didn't do much to earn the favour. He also rescued Lot once and didn't hesitate to take on a whole army, because he knew God was with him. He was honest in his business dealings and he had a positive influence on all he met. He was an effective witness to God and gave Him all the glory for his riches.

He believed God when God made a covenant with him and followed through on his side of the covenant, namely to circumcise the men in household, immediately. He didn't waver in his faith. He also acted immediately when God told him to go and sacrifice Isaac. He believed that God will revive Isaac from the dead if he sacrificed him. He placed God first above all. He also believed that God will help him in finding the right wife for Isaac. He trusted God for that and God helped him to find the perfect one.

But Abraham also made mistakes. He lied twice and said that Sarah was his sister and gave her to the kings of the day. And of course he and Sarah tried to force God's hand and had a child through Hagar, instead of waiting on God to deliver on His promises. He was just a human as we are today. But God was faithful to him and even helped him with the mistakes he made. And in the New Testament we never read anything about Abraham's mistakes, we read about his faith and how he trusted God above all else. Isn't that just wonderful? God doesn't remember our mistakes, but chooses to focus on our positive points! And even if we make mistakes, He will help us through them!

There's so much to learn from Abraham's life and I hope you can take some of these lessons and apply them to your life. I know I have certainly learned a lot!

Therefore I would like to end of this series with a blessing. I want to pronounce the following blessing on your life and I hope that you take it and make it your own:

May the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob bless you and keep you. May His face shine with favour towards you. May He look after you just as He did with Abraham. May you be blessed just as Abraham was. You are his spiritual children and therefore all God's promises made to Abraham are  yours too. May these blessings rain on you, may it invigorate you, and may it sustain you and give you the strength to obey God just like Abraham did. May you make a difference on all those around you just like Abraham did and may God give you His Shalom peace and keep you safe from all harm. In Jesus' Name. Amen

39. Obey God

Eliezer, Abraham's servant was sent by Abraham to go to his home country and find a wife for Isaac amongst his relatives. The mission was handed over into God's capable hands as we have seen. And as God ordained it, Eliezer was led right to Rebekah, the granddaughter of Abraham's brother Nahor. Eliezer gave all glory to God for helping him.

Now when Rebecca realised that Eliezer came from Abraham she rushed back home to tell her family. In her haste she forgot to take Eliezer with her. But once her brother, Laban, heard the story, he rushed out to the well and invited Eliezer to come to them. They treated him like royalty and were especially hospitable to him. God was in the whole process and looked after Eliezer.

Once Eliezer and his camels were settled in he insisted on telling them why he came. He didn't even want to eat before he told them his reason for coming. Laban agreed and allowed Eliezer to tell the whole story, which he did. Eliezer told them everything, from his oath that he made with Abraham, to his prayer, to Rebehah's kind actions. And after he told them he didn't waste any time in asking for Rebekah's hand in marriage to his master's son, Isaac. And Laban and Bethuel's reply was:

"The Lord has obviously brought you here, so what can we say? Here is Rebekah; take her and go. Yes, let her be the wife of your master's son, as the Lord has directed." Genesis 24:50, 51

The Lord was in the process the whole way. There was no resistance from her brother or father. God had paved the way. Eliezer was so glad that he immediately bowed down to the ground again and worshipped God. He was overjoyed and didn't care what anyone thought. He saw God's hand in all of this and gave Him all the glory. And s we've seen last week we can also learn from his wonderful example and thank God for His hand in our lives!

Then Eliezer wanted to return to his master the very next day, but Rebekah's mother wanted her to stay another ten days. But when Eliezer continued to insist on leaving the following day, Rebekah agreed to leave with him. It must have been very difficult for her. Here she had to leave her family, her friends, all she ever knew to go with a stranger to a far off land. And she knew that she will probably never see them or have contact with them ever again. It must have been very difficult. They didn't have phones, Skype and internet as we have today. When she had to say goodbye, it was most probably for good. But she recognised God's hand in this and He gave her the strength and the courage to go.

Sometimes God will also ask something of us that is difficult to do. He might ask us to move, He might ask us to change careers, He might ask us to stay right where we are even though we are frustrated or He might ask us to give up certain dreams that we have that is not in line of His will. Whatever the case may be, sometimes God asks us to do certain things. We must learn from Rebekah and act upon what God is asking of us without hesitation. She was obedient and followed His will and He looked after her. We see that God allowed her to take her childhood nurse with her, which must have been a consolation. We see a blessing pronounced on her:

"Our sister, may you become the mother of many millions! May your descendants overcome all their enemies." Genesis 24:60

And indeed that happened. She was married to one of the patriarchs of the Jewish nation. She was the mother of Jacob, later named Israel and she was married to a man who loved her very much. She was a special comfort to Isaac after his mother's death and he adored her. She was the mother of the Jewish nation, of Israel, from whom our Lord and Saviour came. She will be remembered forever.

When you obey God, things work out even better than you might hope or dream. Be obedient and act when God asks you to. Move with His Spirit and enjoy the anointing that comes with that. You will never be sorry that you did.

Father please give us the courage to 'go' when You say 'go' and to 'stay' when You say 'stay'. Please give us the strength to obey You and not to fear the future. Because we know that with You there is true peace, joy and freedom. Thank you for Your wonderful plans for our lives! Amen


38. Remember to say thank you

Eliezer, the servant of Abraham was looking for a wife for Isaac in Abraham's home country amongst his relatives. He travelled all the way to the village where Nahor, Abraham's brother had settled. There at the well outside of the village he prayed that God help him on his mission. He prayed that the first woman, who will be prepared to give water to him and to his ten camels, should be the wife that God had planned for Isaac. As we saw last week, Eliezer was looking for a woman with a servant's heart.

God is faithful and looks after His children. And in this situation it was no different. While Eliezer was still praying Rebekah arrived at the well and when Eliezer asked her for a drink, she replied:

"Certainly, sir," she said, and she quickly lowered the jug for him to drink. When he had finished, she said, "I'll draw water for your camels, too, until they have had enough!" So she quickly emptied the jug into the watering trough and ran down to the well again. She kept carrying water to the camels until they had finished drinking." Genesis 24:18-20

Rebekah was the one he was praying for. She not only offered to water his camels, she offered to give them water until they have had enough! And now we know how much a camel can drink. She also did her job with vigour, running to and fro the well until they had enough. She had a servant heart and was ready to help. She didn't expect to be compensated for her effort. But Eliezer wanted to bless her and gave her a gold ring for her nose and two large gold bracelets. And when he asked if they can sleep over at her father's home that night she readily agreed. She and her family were hospitable people (something we can learn from them too!). Then she told him that her grandparents were Nahor, Abraham's brother. Eliezer was so happy when he heard that and he fell to his knees and worshipped the Lord:

"Praise be to the Lord, the God of my master, Abraham," he said. "The Lord has been so kind and faithful to Abraham, for He has led me straight to my master's relatives." Genesis 24:27

Eliezer did the right thing and immediately gave all honour and praise to God. He acknowledged God's hand in this and praised and thanked Him for His help.

Often times we pray for things and when it happens we forget to say thank you. Mostly we will remember to say thank you when big things that we prayed for happen, but we tend to forget about the smaller things. I know I do sometimes. And it is not right. God loves to receive praises from His children. That is why He didn't make us robots that are forced to praise Him, because what is the joy in that? He finds joy when His children acknowledge Him and praise Him for all He does for them. Of all the ten lepers that Jesus healed only one returned to say thank you. And Jesus asked him where the other nine were, even though He knew. He simply wanted to make a point that all were supposed to come back and thank Him.

Remember when praying to thank the Lord for all the wonderful things He has done and for all His provisions for us. Thank Him and praise Him. Maybe even write down certain things you are praying for and page through that book now and again. You will be pleasantly surprised how God answered them and thank Him for it. Make thanking God a part of your daily prayer, and do it spontaneously like Eliezer did. He didn't worry what anyone thought of him. He immediately fell down and worshipped God for His kindness. Isn't that just a wonderful example to follow!

Thank you Father for all Your kindness. Thank you for listening to us and hearing our prayers. Thank you for Your abundance of grace towards us. Thank you thank you thank you. We are sorry that we forget to say it sometimes, but thank you. You are our everything, our first Love! In Jesus' Name. Amen

37. True beauty

Abraham sent his faithful servant, Eliezer, on a mission to his home country to find a wife for Isaac. Abraham wanted a godly wife for his son and sent Eliezer back to his relatives to bring back a wife for Isaac. And as we saw last week they dedicated the mission to God and left it in His hands to help them with it.

Today we will start again with the prayer of Eliezer:

"O Lord, God of my master," he prayed. "Give me success and show kindness to my master, Abraham. Help me to accomplish the purpose of my journey. See, here I am, standing beside this spring, and the young women of the village are coming out to draw water. This is my request. I will ask one of them for a drink. If she says, "Yes, certainly, and I will water your camels, too!" - let her be the one You have appointed as Isaac's wife. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master." Genesis 24:12-14

At first when I read this, I thought that the request he had was reasonable. Surely it wasn't that hard work to water the camels too? But then I read in a note in my Bible that it was custom in that day for foreigners/travellers to ask the young women to draw water for them from the well. But it wasn't custom for the young women to water the camels too. The note says that it took a lot of water to quench the thirst of one camel, up to 95 litres of water for one camel. Now Eliezer had ten camels and therefore about 950 litres were necessary to quench their thirst! Now for any young woman that is a lot of water to draw out of the well and carry to the camels! And then I understood that Eliezer was asking the Lord that he was looking for someone who will be prepared to water the camels of a stranger without any compensation. He was looking for someone with inner beauty and a servant's heart. Someone who will be willing to serve and help others.

We all spend a lot of money and time on outward appearances. We follow all the latest dieting and exercising trends and if we have enough money we will also spend it on beauty treatments. Now there is nothing wrong with looking after ourselves and being the best we can be, but how much time and effort do we spend on developing our inner beauty? We have a new person created inside of us the moment we believed in Jesus Christ and we need to let that new person grow. We need to spend time in growing this new person into the beautiful being God created him to be. This new person is lovely and desirable. I have never seen an ugly person glowing with the love, joy and peace of the Lord on the inside. People on fire for the Lord has a certain glow about them and a radiance that flows out to all those around them. People like that are attractive and lure all people in and draw them closer to God. We all need to be like that. We need to glow like Moses did after he returned from Mount Sinai. We need to spend so much time in God's presence that His beauty will become our beauty and His attractive nature become our nature. Then we can truly live out our calling here on earth, as the beautiful vessels He created us to be.

Father, we are so sorry that we look at the worldly model for what is beautiful and what is not. Rather we want to look up to You, spend time with You and be like You in this world. Then we are truly beautiful, radiating love and peace to all around. Amen

36. Finding the right person to marry

Abraham was very old by now. But before his death he wanted to make sure that Isaac get the right wife. He realised that the Canaanite women were unbelievers and he didn't want Isaac to marry one of them. And he also didn't want Isaac to leave Canaan to go back to Abraham's home country, because Abraham wanted Isaac to stay within the land promised to him by God. So Abraham sent for his oldest servant, in charge of his household, Eliezer, and asked him to travel to Abraham's relatives and find a wife for Isaac there. He bound him by an oath that he will do that. Eliezer agreed, but wanted to be relieved from his oath if he cannot find a suitable wife that will leave her family to come and marry Isaac. And Abraham agreed. But notice what Abraham says before Eliezer leaves:

"God will send His angel ahead of you, and He will see to it that you find a young woman there to be my son's wife." Genesis 24:7

Abraham trusted God to find the right wife for his son. He also believed that God will provide. And sure enough, Eliezer followed in the wonderful example set by his master. Abraham had a wonderful godly influence on his household. Not only was he an 'honoured prince' in the area, he was also highly regarded in his household and he drew them closer to God as well. As I said last week, Abraham's life is a wonderful example for us to follow.

Now Eliezer left immediately and travelled with ten camels loaded with gifts, the very best of what his master owned.  And the moment he arrived at a well just outside the village where Abraham's brother Nahor had settled, he dedicated his mission to the Lord:

"O Lord, God of my master," he prayed. "Give me success and show kindness to my master, Abraham. Help me to accomplish the purpose of my journey." Genesis 24:12

It is so wonderful to me how he and Abraham asked God's guidance in seeking a wife for Isaac. They gave the matter into God's hands and trusted Him to help them.

Besides giving your life to God, the biggest choice you need to make in your life is who to marry. It is even a bigger choice than your career. And therefore God's guidance is of the utmost importance. Most people follow their feelings and marry the first person that makes them feel good about themselves only later to discover that that feeling disappeared after a while. God's advice and God's guidance in choosing the right person to marry should be your first stop. Ask God to give you the right man/woman, ask Him to guide you, ask Him for confirmation once you have found someone you liked, and stay on your knees and wait for the peace of God that transcends all understanding. God has the best spouse in mind for you. He wants the two of you to accomplish His purposes together. Give the choice over to Him. You will find that He will help you just as He helped Abraham and Eliezer. He wants to help you. Do not marry the first eligible person that comes along, but rather trust in Him for the right person.

And if you are married already and have children, be like Abraham and pray that your children will find the right person to marry one day. Your prayers can guide them and help them to find the right one.

It is such a wonderful thing if you pray, obtain God's guidance and marry the right person. A marriage built on the foundation of Jesus Christ is such a wonderful testimony to the world. It portrays how Christ is the Bridegroom and how the church is His bride, it is a testimony of how much He loves us and it is a testimony of holy matrimony that will last forever and ever.

Father please help those still seeking to find the right person to marry. Father You know what an important choice it is and I pray today that You will help them and guide them along the best pathway for their lives. May they find the right one and may they be blissfully happy and build their marriage on Your solid foundation, Jesus Christ. Amen

35. Reflect God's light

Sarah died at the ripe age of 127. Abraham mourned for her and wanted to have a proper burial place for her body. He was still a foreigner with no land of his own. He then did the right thing and went to the Hittite elders to ask if he can buy a piece of land from them to have as a burial place. They replied the following to him:

"Certainly, for you are an honoured prince among us. It will be a privilege to have you choose the finest of our tombs so you can bury her." Genesis 23:6

Abraham then chose the cave of Machpelah belonging to Ephron. Abraham wanted to buy it from Ephron to have as a permanent burial place. Ephron heard about it and said the following:

"No, sir," he said to Abraham, "please listen to me. I will give you the cave and the field. Here in the presence of my people, I give it to you. Go and bury your dead." Genesis 23:11

But Abraham didn't want the land for free. He knew that the descendants of Ephron can later on turn around and say that Abraham cheated their father out of land. He wanted to pay the full price.

"Well," Ephron answered, "the land is worth four hundred pieces of silver, but what is that between friends? Go ahead and bury your dead." Genesis 23:13

With a reply such as that Ephron's intentions were clear, he actually wanted the money. And Abraham did the right thing and paid him immediately. Abraham was an honourable man and did what was right.

These real life stories are recorded in the Bible to teach us important principles. It is not by chance that these events are recorded here. We need to learn from Abraham and follow his example. He was honourable in his dealings and so should we also be. All of us are involved with some or other business dealing in our lives, whether it is buying a car or a house. Whilst other Christians' full time work is to bring business dealings together. Whatever the case may be, we need to make sure that we are honest in our dealings. We need to ensure that we do not cheat the other party and that we are honourable in our intentions. Sadly we hear a lot of stories of Christians being dishonest in their dealings. The world does not want to be Christians due to the bad example some Christians set. Our main purpose on earth is to exalt God and to draw people into His Kingdom. We need to keep that in mind in everything that we do.

Abraham was an honoured prince amongst Gentiles. They could see God in his life. Can the same be said of you and me? Do our actions reflect God to others? What would our neighbours say? Are we 'honoured princes' where we live and work? Or do we simply do what is best for us and not consider the consequences towards others? God wants us to attract people to Him and not push them away. Sit somewhere quiet this week and reassess your life and make sure that your life reflects the true Light. I know I am going to do that, because in the rush of this life, I also forget what is truly important!

Father, please help us to be the reflection of Your light that we are supposed to be. Please help us to stay in humble obedience to Your Word. Fill us with more and more of Your Spirit, because only with the help of Your Spirit can we accomplish anything. In Jesus' Name. Amen

34. The Temple of God (1)

Abraham was prepared to sacrifice his beloved son, Isaac on Mount Moriah, just as God instructed him to. Now today I want to show you something interesting about Mount Moriah.

Several hundred years later David was king of Israel. And towards the end of his reign, he sinned against the Lord and asked that a census be done throughout Israel. He asked for the census in order to determine his military strength. In other words, he ignored the fact that God was with them and wanted to determine how strong Israel was in their own strength. God was displeased with that and He punished Israel for it. But He in His loving mercy gave them a choice in their punishment. Either He will send three years of famine, or three months of destruction by their enemies, or three days of severe plague caused by the angel of the Lord throughout the land of Israel. David chose three days of severe plague:

"...let me fall into the hands of the Lord, for His mercy is very great." 1 Chronicles 21:13

And that is what happened and 70 000 people died as a result. Then just as God sent the angel to destroy Jerusalem, God ordered him to stop. At that moment the angel was standing by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. Then the angel of the Lord instructed David to build an altar to the Lord at that threshing floor. David immediately reacted, bought the threshing floor, built an altar and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings on it.

"And when David prayed, the Lord answered him by sending fire from heaven to burn up the offering on the altar. Then the Lord spoke to the angel, who put the sword back into its sheath." 1 Chronicles 21:26, 27

From then on David offered his sacrifices to the Lord there at Araunah's threshing floor and he declared that the Temple of the Lord should be built there. Why am I telling you this? Because the Temple was built by Solomon on that very sight. And in 2 Chronicles 3:1 we learn the following:

"So Solomon built the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to Solomon's father, King David. The Temple was built on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, the site that David had selected."

The Temple of the Lord was thus built on the threshing floor of Araunah and it so happens to be on Mount Moriah, the very same spot where Abraham almost sacrificed Isaac. Isn't that interesting? In both instances (Abraham and David) offerings were made which was acceptable to God. Their hearts were right towards God and they honoured Him with their actions. Abraham was prepared to offer his hope for having future generations, he was prepared to offer his plans for the future, he was prepared to offer the love of his life and he placed Isaac in God's hands. David on the other hand was sorry for what he did in ordering the census, and he asked God's forgiveness. He gave honour to God and placed Him above all once again in the nation of Israel.

Today we are the Temple of God and therefore when we approach God today we can be reminded of the example of these two great men of God and make an offering in our hearts too. We need to offer our future to Him; all our future plans should be placed in His hands. We need to offer of our time, we need to set aside all our ambitions and plans and give honour and glory to God Almighty. We should offer our family to Him as He knows best. We should offer our future to Him and place our lives in His hands. We need to have an eternal Temple perspective as we approach Him, our Holy God. We shouldn't place our hope on our own strength and capabilities, but rather trust Him to do the impossible through us.

Father thank you that we can now be Your Temple here on earth. Father, today we come and offer all our ambitions and plans before Your throne. You and You alone know best. You are strong when we are weak. Please take over our weaknesses and work in us with Your strength. You know best and we love You. In Jesus Name. Amen


33. God's blessings

Abraham was faithful and didn't even withhold his beloved son from the Lord. He was prepared to sacrifice him to God. He believed in a God Who can bring the dead back to life. But before he could even witness his son's death, an angel of the Lord appeared to him:

"Lay down the knife," the angel said. "Do not hurt the boy in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld even your beloved son from Me." Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a bush. So he took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering on the altar in place of his son." Genesis 22:12

God stopped Abraham from sacrificing his son and even provided a ram for Abraham to offer a sacrifice. And not only that, God lavished Abraham with blessings due to his obedience:

"This is what the Lord says: Because you have obeyed Me and have not withheld even your beloved son, I swear by My own self that I will bless you richly. I will multiply your descendants into countless millions, like the stars of the sky and the sand on the seashore. They will conquer their enemies, and through your descendants, all the nations of the earth will be blessed - all because you have obeyed Me." Genesis 22:15-18

God showered Abraham with blessings due to his act of obedience. God is a God of more than enough, a God of extravagance. And today He is still the same.

God offered Abraham a ram to be offered as a substitute for his son, but God sacrificed His own Son as a substitute for us. He gave Jesus as an offer, so that we never have to die, but that we can live! God spared Isaac, but God didn't spare His own Son. He didn't spare Him, so that we can all come into His kingdom as His sons and daughters. He loved us so much that He sent His only Son to die for us. And now all we need to do is to believe in the One He sent. And then we become part of Abraham's descendants and the promise that God gave him is now ours too:

"God's promise is given to us as a free gift. And we are certain to receive it, whether or not we follow Jewish customs, if we have faith like Abraham's. For Abraham is the father of all who believe." Romans 4:16

"Now this wonderful truth - that God declared him to be righteous - wasn't just for Abraham's benefit. It was for us, too, assuring us that God will also declare us to be righteous if we believe in God, who brought Jesus our Lord back from the dead." Romans 4:23, 24

How wonderful, we are righteous if we believe in God! We do not even need to try, God declares us so, when we believe in His Son. And even more than that, we are the descendants of Abraham and all the blessings showered on him is now ours too. We just need to reach out and take it. We need to claim it for ourselves. What a wonderful privilege and honour. Praise Him for His wonderful plan, conceived at the beginning of time. We can now stand tall in a world filled with darkness knowing that we are richly blessed.

Thank you Father that we are part of Your family. Thank you for declaring us to be righteous, all because of what Jesus did for us! We praise Your Name and we honour You, our wonderful King and Father! Amen



32. Jesus is our sacrifice

Abraham was obedient and was on his way to sacrifice his son, Isaac, because God told him to do it. He didn't waste a moment and immediately acted on God's command. As we learned last week, Abraham was obedient, because he believed that even if he killed Isaac, that God can raise him from the dead. Abraham's faith was unwavering and a wonderful example to follow.

But one thing that I realised while reading this is that Isaac wasn't that young here. We don't know exactly how old he was, but some scholars believe that he might even have been as old as thirty. We don't know. They believe that he might have been older, because in the next chapter it tells us that Sarah died at the age of 127. We know she was 90 when he was born, so he was 37 years old when his mother died. So he could have been somewhere in his thirties in Genesis chapter 22. The fact of the matter is, Isaac wasn't a small boy anymore. He could easily walk the three days journey to Mount Moriah and he could easily ascend the mountain. And to top it off, he was definitely strong, as Abraham placed the wood for the burnt offering on Isaac's shoulders to carry up the mountain:

"Abraham placed the wood for the burnt offering on Isaac's shoulders, while he himself carried the knife and fire." Genesis 22:6

So I think it is safe to conclude that Isaac must have been a young man. Now what triggers me is how Abraham, a very old man by now, was strong enough to tie up Isaac, a young man, in order to sacrifice him? How was he able to do it?

"When they arrived at the place where God told Abraham to go, he built an altar and placed the wood on it. Then he tied Isaac up and laid him on the altar over the wood. And Abraham took the knife and lifted it up to kill his son as a sacrifice to the Lord."Genesis 22:9, 10

The only way that Abraham could have tied up Isaac, was if Isaac consented to be tied up. That is the only logical explanation. And if that is the truth, we have another hero of the faith, Isaac. If he consented to be sacrificed, he must have had the same faith that his father had. He must have respected his father's judgment so much that he was prepared to be tied up to be sacrificed. Isn't that amazing?

Isaac is also mentioned in Hebrews 11 as one of the greats in the faith. In the Old Testament God introduced Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Isaac's name is still famous today. Isaac submitted his will to the Father's will. Doesn't that remind you of Someone? Someone that was willing to die according to His Father's plan? Yes, Jesus. Jesus gave up His life willingly. He didn't die because He was helpless and couldn't do anything about His situation. No, He died, because He was doing the will of the Father, saving all those that He loved. I would just like to share one instance that shows without a doubt that Jesus gave His life willingly:

"Jesus fully realised all that was going to happen to Him. Stepping forward to meet them, He asked, "Whom are you looking for?" "Jesus of Nazareth," they replied. "I AM." Jesus said. Judas was standing there with them when Jesus identified Himself. And as He said, "I AM", they all fell backward to the ground!" John 18:4-6

They all fell backward to the ground when He used His title "I AM". They couldn't do anything to Him. They were the helpless ones, walking in the presence of the Almighty. No, Jesus gave His life for us willingly and the outcome is freedom for us all. Freedom to walk above this world's problems, because we are destined for a new world above it all. Freedom from our sins and freedom to walk in the new life that He came to give us. Isn't He just wonderful! May you walk in that freedom and fall in love with our Maker all over again.

Thank you Father for Your wonderful plan to save us. Thank you that Jesus is our Saviour and King. Thank you that You came, Jesus, and offered Yourself willingly for us all. We praise You, we love You and we adore You! Amen


31. Place God first

Abraham's beloved son was born and grew into a lovely boy and Abraham loved him very much. Life couldn't be better. He was blessed with riches, he had an heir and a loving wife. And then one day God gave him the following instruction:

"Take your son, your only son - yes, Isaac whom you love so much - and go to the land of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will point out to you." Genesis 22:2

That must have been a shock to Abraham and something every loving parent will dread to do. Any loving parent would much rather sacrifice themselves than their children. I know I would. The Bible doesn't tell us here what Abraham's emotions were or how he felt about the situation, all that it tells us is that he got up early the next morning, chopped wood to take along for the offering, took two servants and Isaac and were on his way. He didn't waste any time in being obedient to the Lord. The Bible doesn't say if he told Sarah where he was going. I personally don't think he told her the truth, as I am convinced that she would have tried to stop him.

Then for three days they travelled on to Mount Moriah. That must have been the most difficult three days in Abraham's life. He was walking with this secret on the inside that he had to sacrifice his son. He must have treasured every moment spent with him. He might even have cried before the Lord, we do not know. All that I know is that for me personally, a trip like that would have been devastating.

But then we read in Hebrews 11 how amazing Abraham's faith really was. Hebrews 11 gives us an insight into Abraham's thoughts that we do not find here in Genesis 22:

"It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God's promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, though God had promised him, "Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted." Abraham assumed that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead." Hebrews 11:17-19

How wonderful is that?! Abraham believed that even if he sacrificed his son, God will raise him from the dead again. What wonderful faith. When we read this whole event, we see that Abraham never wavered and never tried to get out of the situation. He simply obeyed. And what an amazing testimony to his faith!

Today God wants us to be prepared to sacrifice our dreams to Him as well. He wants us to place Him first always. Sometimes He will even test us to see if we will be willing to let go of our dreams in order to glorify Him. Think about that this week. Is God first in your life? Is He your everything? Is He more important than anything else? And if the answer is no, then start today by placing Him first, by loving Him more than anything else. And once you do, you will start to develop the faith that He wants what is best for you. He doesn't want to take things from you, but He wants to raise you up to a new level where your character is developed to such a point where you can make a real difference for His Kingdom's glory. Then you will start to realise that He can raise your dreams from the dead and give it new life. He can open doors for you that have been shut for such a long time. He can make the paths smooth for you. He can. But place Him above all else and live for the glory of His Name and for His honour.

Thank you Father that we can know that You want only what is best for us. Thank you that we can look at the example of Abraham and marvel at his faith. But most of all, thank you that we can realise that we are his offspring too and we can have the same depth of faith, imparted to us by Jesus Christ. Help us to believe in the impossible and to place You first above all things. In Jesus' Name. Amen