James 1:2-17 “ Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits. Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”
Continuing from yesterday’s post, Pastor Kyle reminds us that hardships build us up and strengthen our faith, while giving an honest look at the current condition of our faith in those trying times. We may ask; What is this all about? or Why would God ask for that? He’s testing, who is your God? When obedience doesn’t make sense to us, we are still called to do it. We do not have all the facts, knowledge, or significant pieces of information, but we can trust that God does. The “Good Book” says: Deuteronomy 29:29“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” We must realize that we do not have all the answers, but we know the sovereign Creator of heaven and earth, who does.
Isaiah 55:8-9 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
When obedience doesn’t make sense, we can either look at it with a sense of dread or a sense of faith. In every trial and tribulation, know that God is going to do something in it. Faith sees the same situations as fear does, but perceives them differently. Look on your difficult steps that God is asking you to do with the attitude that “God with provide”. We often do not see God provide until after we take the first step. Jehovah Jireh literally means “God, the Provider”. Isn’t it true that we want to see God provide first? But actually, God has provided everything for us prior. God wants us to take a “step of faith” in our Christian walk. God puts all the food on the table (so-to-speak), but we need to eat. God always has something better on the backside of obedience.
1 Corinthians 5:7 “Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.”
But this Genesis 22 story isn’t just about Abraham and Isaac; it’s all about the Cross, because it parallels Jesus substitutionary sacrifice and connects our salvation. A substitute offering was provided by God. There are going to be times in our life when God is going to request steps of obedience in faith that do not make sense to us, to test us. But, we can look to the Cross for strength in obedience, through faithful belief in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior of our life. In God we trust and obey. Lord, give us the power to live our life for you.
In Christ, Brian