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God is True to His Promises

This week we are heading into the second sermon of our “Beginnings” series. We are going to be taking a closer look at Jacob, the son of Isaac, and grandson of Abraham. As we prepare our hearts and minds for the teaching of Gods Word this Sunday, I want us to take a closer look at Genesis 28 where we find Isaac teaching his son Jacob to remember and believe in God’s promises.

 

Isaac said to Jacob, “May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you so that you become an assembly of peoples. May God give you and your offspring the blessing of Abraham so that you may possess the land where you live as a foreigner, the land God gave to Abraham” (Genesis 28:3-4, HCSB).

 

These few sentences are filled with several beautiful parallels that we could (and should) meditate on. We should recognize the familiar language of Genesis 1 when God commands Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply, or the use of the name “God Almighty,” which is the same name that God uses to identify Himself when He reaffirmed the covenant with Abraham (Genesis 17:1). But for now, I want to take a closer look at the latter part of these verses.

 

“May God give you and your offspring the blessing of Abraham so that you may possess the land where you live as a foreigner, the land God gave to Abraham.”

 

At the time that Jacob is hearing these words generations have gone by since God gave this promise to Abraham. Not just a few days or weeks or even a year, but generations. Can you imagine? I mean we live in a world where we can have just about anything we want with the push of a few buttons, and we get a little annoyed if it takes longer than a few days to get here. Now I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with this, I love Amazon Prime as much as the next person, but I do think we should look to Isaac and Jacob as a reminder of what it looks like to faithfully wait on the Lord.

 

You see, the words in these verses give us some insight into Isaac’s thinking. His words tell us that even in the midst of waiting when they are living as foreigners in the land that God has promised them, they are faithfully trusting in the Lord. Their current circumstances did not deter them from the certainty of God’s promise. As a Christian, I want to wait faithfully for the Lord even when my circumstances don’t make sense. I want to trust His Word even when my feelings say otherwise.

 

So, what are some practical ways that we can faithfully wait on the Lord? I will give you three from Genesis 28.

 

  1. Remember His promises (28:3-4)

 

Recounting God’s past faithfulness encourages us to trust in His future promises. Isaac and Jacob only needed to consider their own lives to be reminded of this faithfulness. They were the outcome of God fulfilling His promise to Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 21:1-3). In God’s Word, He is repeatedly telling His people to remember because in the midst of darkness and uncertain circumstances we tend to become forgetful of all that God has done. So we should remind ourselves of His past faithfulness in our lives and as we do our confidence in Him and thankfulness for all He has already done will grow.

 

  1. Rely on God’s Sovereignty (28:15b)

 

Later on in chapter 28 Jacob has a dream, and in his dream, the Lord reaffirms the covenant. In doing so He says to Jacob, “Look, I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go. I will bring you back to this land, for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you” (28:15). Did you notice who is doing the work of this promise? The Lord. He will fulfill all of the promises that He has made because He is our Sovereign Lord. Of course this doesn’t mean that we do nothing, because we are still called to be obedient (see Romans 1:5 for example), but it does remind us that God is faithful to His promises even when His people are unfaithful, and He does not rely on us to ensure that His Words are true.

 

  1. Worship Him in the waiting (28:22).

 

As we remember the Lord’s past faithfulness and trust in His sovereignty we should come to a place of worship. At the end of this chapter, we find Jacob in awe of the Lord, the God of Abraham, and his response is to worship Him. In a commentary by John MacArthur he says this, “We should see Jacob’s vow and offering as genuine worship based on confidence in God’s promise.”

 

So believer, are you faithfully waiting on the Lord and confidently trusting that His promises are true? I hope you will be encouraged as I was by our forefathers who believed that God was true to His promises and worshipped Him in the waiting.

Posted by Joey Tomlinson with

Clothed in Humility

Today’s culture is all about “me.” We even see this a lot in churches today. Many pastors buy into the notion that you must be popular, a big name, growing in fame and acclaim, and have a large presence on social media etc. Yet, at the root of some of these people (not all) is pride. In 1 Peter 5:5 Peter addresses this issue (something not only happening today) and actually quotes his fellow disciple James (referencing James 4:6-7) when he states that “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” What does that mean and look like? How does God oppose the proud and give grace to the humble? Is Peter simply discussing salvific themes here or is there more going on?

 

When we take a look at vs. 6, we get a more full picture. “Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God and at the proper time, He may exalt you.” When you put the two together, as well as remember the previous verses- we can deduce the meaning. God opposes those who are proud, He even resists them, but He gives grace to those who are humble. Because of that, humble yourselves before the Lord and He will exalt you when it is the right time. So what does that mean for you? Well, it doesn’t definitely, without a doubt, mean that you get the promotion you have been waiting for if you simply become humbler. What Peter is focusing on here is the heart of the believer towards not only their own lives but towards the lives of others. Humble people do not mind if others succeed and they do not. Humble people rejoice when God is glorified in someone else’s plenty because they know how to glorify God within their want. You would not want a leader of your church (one of the elders) to be more concerned with themselves and their ego right? Of course not!

 

Yet, in our lives, we live as if that if the goal. Peter exhorts us to “clothe” ourselves in humility, not to simply sprinkle it in various aspects of our lives. Rather, humility should be the foundation upon which we build and grow. If God wants to bless us, we should strive to not simply add humility afterward. We must look to the greatest example of humility to ever have lived- Christ. Philippians 2:5-11 shows us that our very Savior, who IS God, did not use that as a way to avoid dying in our place. Christ saw fit to be humbled and take upon himself the full wrath of God- the same wrath you to which you and I were to be subjected.

 

So be like Christ this week. Consider others more important than you this week. Clothe yourself with humility by remembering that you would still owe God payment for your sins at the end of this life, yet Christ saved you from that by accomplishing that on the cross. Our greatest need was to be redeemed and it was met in Christ’s death alone. We were once doomed to die, and are now justified- that should be humbling.

Posted by Joel Arcieri with

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