Tuesday, December 14, 2010
From The Driven Quill
“In my house Ishmael would be a waver!” John Wimber
Abraham! Yes, Lord? Stop staring at the walls of your tent, you are only getting discouraged. How did you know that? I know your heart - better than you do. You do? Yes, I do! I know you are starting to doubt My promise to you. I might have expected you would know that too. I want to show you something. Now step outside your tent. But its dark, I won’t be able to see anything. Just do what I tell you. Oy Vey! But its still dark? What do you see? Nothing, but a bunch of stars in the sky. That’s it! It is? Yes, it is! I have given you a promise and I want to remind you of something. How many stars can you see? Too many to count! Can you see where they begin and where they end? I can’t do that either.
I have given you a promise concerning your descendants. I remember. But you must know that I am greater than my promises. The stars will remind you of who I am. You can’t see where I begin and you can’t see where I end - nor can you measure my greatness. I am able to complete that which I have begun in you.
Thank you Lord, that is wonderful. But what if it is not night and I can’t see the stars? Then look at the sands of the sea. You cannot see where they begin, not can you see where they end - and they cannot be measured.
I am not giving you a vision of my promise to you. I am giving you a vision of Myself. That is the only thing that will sustain you when your faith begins to waver. For I have chosen you so that you will direct your children and your family after you to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just. In this way I, the LORD, will do what I have promised to you.
And so you shall be remembered from generation to generation, that your faith did not waver. But Lord, what about Hagar, Ishmael and all of that? I know, but I am greater than that. Curses endure but for a season - My Promise lasts until it has accomplished the purpose for which I have sent it. Then it will return to Me without perishing. Remember, the blessing always comes first for it originates in My creative initiative.
Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
Promises or The Promise - the many or The One
“Why does the New Testament declare that the faith of Abraham did not waver? The key is in Paul’s letter to the Galatians.”
Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, "And to seeds," as referring to many, but rather to one, "And to your seed," that is, Christ. Galatians 3:16
The Promise to Abraham is singular - faith in the One true God. In this Abraham did not waver. He did not see many descendants when he looked at the stars of the sky or the sands of the sea, he saw the One who was able...it is God who has promised. When his eye focused on his seeds - the temporal - he wavered. When his eye is fixed on His Seed - the eternal - he did not waver. The eternal promise defines the temporal - not visa versa - for it is God who cannot lie. In Him there is no variation, no shadow of turning (James 1:17-18).
Indeed, Abraham had many sons - of whom Isaac was not the first nor the last: but he was the first born of The Promise - its surety. In God, the seed of the woman - the Promised One - is singular: “No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father's heart. He has revealed God to us.” John 1:18NLT (There is indication that the seed of the serpent is plural, while the seed of the woman is singular: “I will make your descendants and her descendant hostile toward each other. He will crush your head, and you will bruise his heel." Gen 3:15 GOD’S WORD) Oneness is the immutable characteristic of the Eternal God and the defining witness of those that name the Name of His One and Only Son (John 17:23-24).
Abraham’s testimony of faith is thus recorded by Paul: “yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God,...” Romans 4:20 In the Messiah the writer to the Hebrews encourages us: “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;” Hebrews 10:23
At the end of the day Abraham has a lasting testimony of faith and that is what passes through the Cross to the Glory of God. “for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” Hebrews 11:10 And of Sarah it is written: “because she was convinced that the one who had made the promise was faithful.” 11:11 ISV
In his letter to the Galatians Paul writes of the futility of trying to make it happen by our own efforts: “for if by law be the inheritance, it is no more by promise, but to Abraham through promise did God grant it.” Gal 3:18 Young’s From his commentary on the same book Martin Luther writes: “the promise of the seed offers us the spiritual and everlasting benefits of God, and that freely for Christ’s sake.”
In Christ we have a sure and unwavering promise to the glory of the Eternal God: “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God.” 2 Cor 1:20 NIV
The New Testament as a witness to faith testifies to the great truth of the Shema of Israel, the beginning and ending of daily prayer: "Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one," Deut. 6:4. Paul writes to the church and to his young disciple Timothy: Now a mediator is not for one party only; whereas God is only one. Gal. 3:20 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 1 Tim 2:5
The promise is singular, the focus of faith is singular - Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, Hebrews 12:2 NIV The eye is the window of the soul or the mind. To be double-minded is to doubt. Thomas is referred to as Didymus which means to be twin-minded.
In Melchizedek Abram recognized the Presence of the One True God and he worshiped. “But the one whose genealogy is not traced from them (the many) collected a tenth from Abraham (in the New Testament he is not remembered as Abram) and blessed the one (One) who had the promises.” Hebrews 7:6 In Melchizedek there was no beginning nor ending - he existed eternally. “That person is a priest, not because he met human requirements, but because he has power that comes from a life that cannot be destroyed.” 7:16 GOD’S WORD
The Lord gave Abram a vision of Himself - His Seed - that was as of the stars of the sky and the sands of the sea. As they cannot be counted, nor can their beginning or their ending be determined - so is the One True God. In this revelation Abraham wavered not.
If by His Word we have received a revelation of the Glory of His Oneness the following passage does not cause us to stumble, but to rejoice. "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12 And certainly it cannot be degraded to dreary dogma for its wisdom is transcendent.
And in Him, we who are many become one. The result is a testimony to the nations: And since He is One, we who are in Him are one with one another. “for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Gal. 3:28b “that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one;” John 17:21-22
The Glory of the One True God is revealed in His Oneness. Before this revelation we can only worship - and all the nations of the world will worship. And this is the revelation of Himself that the Lord God gave to Abraham and by it his faith was sustained.
It is this that passes through the Cross of Christ and leaves an unyielding testimony. “yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform.” Romans 4:21-22
And at the end of days - the consummation of all things: "To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever." Rev. 5:13
Returning to the passion of our ancient Celtic forebears:
Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise,
Thou mine inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of heaven, my Treasure Thou art.
And The Final Word as sung by Michael Card:
The Lord God said when time was full
He would shine His light in the darkness
He said a virgin would conceive
And give birth to the Promise
For a thousand years the dreamers dreamt
And hoped to see His love
The Promise showed their wildest dreams
Had simply not been wild enough
The Promise was love and the Promise was life
The Promise meant light to the world
Living proof Jehovah saves
For the name of the Promise was Jesus