Re:Verse reading–Genesis 22:1-19 (day four)
Abraham…who was he? A prophet, one who feared God, promised to be the Father of a nation, and eventually, a Hall of Faither in Hebrews 11. From our earliest encounter with Abraham, he was hearing the voice of the Lord, obeying the voice of the Lord, and maturing in his relationship with God as he walked with God in obedience. Abraham’s fear of the Lord had been developed over time. When God first promised to send Abraham a child through Sarah, it was 25 years until it was fulfilled. All the while, Abraham’s character was being built. In chapter 22, when God gave the command to sacrifice Isaac on a mountain…Abraham knew enough about God and trusted His power to raise even from the dead. He did not have the crisis of belief that we would expect if the command had come out of the blue.
When we face crisis in our lives, we need a history of walking with the Lord to prepare us for the time of need. Instead of asking, “Where is the lamb?”, we can know that obedience brings blessing. God will rescue us in our moment of need.
RE Verse reading–Genesis 22:1-19 (day three)
He said to him, “Abraham!’”
Each of Abraham’s names for God—God Most High, God Almighty, God Everlasting, among others—arose over the better part of a hundred years from difficult, often violent experiences that progressively revealed to Abraham something hitherto unknown about the character of God. All of which is to say that when God’s Moriah directive came down, it didn’t arrive in a vacuum. As shocking and fearsome as this communication was, Abraham knew the one speaking––and that’s all he knew. But by now that was enough. Indeed, the writer of Hebrews gives us a window into Abraham’s thinking: He wouldn’t put it past God to possess the ability to raise the dead. So up Moriah he went. On the basis of what (or whom) he knew, he went where he did not know. This is faith.
RE Verse reading–Genesis 22:1-19 (day two)
He said, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.” vs. 2
Our RE:Verse study this quarter begins similarly to the beginning of our last study in 1 Samuel. A parent after desperately longing for a child, gives that child back to the Lord.
For this boy I prayed, and the Lord has given me my petition which I asked of Him. So I have also dedicated him to the Lord; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there. 1 Samuel 27-27
Hannah and Abraham understood the role of God in their lives. Once we have children we often order everything in our lives around them, not so for Samuel and Isaac. Everything was surrendered unto God’s plan and authority. How would our children characterize our actions surrounding them? How have we given the Lord a preeminent place in their lives, or have we put our children ahead of him?
Re:Verse reading–Genesis 22:1-19 (day one)
“And it came about that after these things, that God tested Abraham.”–v 1
“Every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more.”–John 15:2
God tests faith. Satan tempts us with an eye to our failure. God tests us with an eye to our growth and progress. Maturity. Beauty. Strength. These are God’s goals for me and only gained through stress and challenge.
Love/trust always requires proof. Declare that you love Him and He will certainly ask you to prove it. “Do you love Me, Peter?” said the Lord in John 21. Then, “feed my sheep”. True love must always be more than words.
When will we be finished? Probably never. Through eternity we will be growing in our love for Him and the fruit that comes from it.
“More love to Thee, O Christ. More love to Thee. Hear, Thou, the prayer I make on bended knee.”–Elizabeth Prentiss.
Re:Verse reading–1 Samuel 28:3-20; 31:1-6 (day seven)
If I regard wickedness in my heart,
The Lord will not hear;
There are times we feel like Saul. Stuck between a rock and a hard place we cry out to God hoping for relief, but all we receive is silence. It is a heartbreaking reality that drove Saul to a witch. A witch is not usually our first option, but just as blindly, we blame God for being silent.
The deafening distance between you and God is not God’s design. God’s design is for the two of you to be inseparable, but the sin in your heart causes you to drift further and further away from God as if the sound of speech can no longer reach.
Re:Verse reading–1 Samuel 28:3-20; 31:1-6 (day six)
“He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”-Jesus, Luke 16:31
God’s allowing Samuel to rise from the dead is most definitely curious, surprising even, but the message he delivered to Saul most certainly was not. The message was the same message he had heard several times before, to no avail. These hard words had never led Saul to repentance, nor would they now.
Never take God’s Word for granted; never pass by His voice heard in the Scriptures. You never have to go elsewhere to find the will of God for your life, and though His words can be hard at times, they are meant from your good. So, seek God now; listen to His words today; repent while repentance can be found.
Re:Verse reading–1 Samuel 28:3-20; 31:1-6 (day five)
At the end, Saul’s life is empty, miserable, and meaningless. It is lacking. What is missing?
Trust in God. He chooses to follow his own path over and over rather than follow God’s guidance. It was a trust issue. Saul was always looking for a solution rather than trying to find the Lord Himself.
Satisfaction in God. Saul was never content. Being God’s king was never enough. He was restless to get more wealth and monuments instead of destroying the Amalekites. He was not at peace with being God’s king in the moment, rather he tried to secure his future instead of being fulfilled in his current role as king.
Both of these missing pieces lead us to the ultimate conclusion, Saul did not know God. Regardless of his spiritual fervor, Saul’s lack of trust and satisfaction reveal a heart that is unaware of God’s gracious love and His strength and power.
Re:Verse reading–1 Samuel 28:3-20; 31:1-6 (day four)
Saul has sunken to his lowest point spiritually. When he could not discern a word from the Lord…just as Samuel had told him would happen…he reached out to a Spirit Medium. In Leviticus 19:31 and 20:6, we have one of the strongest and specific prohibitions against consulting a medium. “As for the person who turns to mediums and to spiritists, to play the harlot after them, I will also set my face against that person and will cut him off from among his people.” It was idolatry. At any point along his journey, Saul could have repented before the Lord. Rather than repent though, each time he moved further and further away from the Lord.
Do you need to repent? Is there an area of your life that you have consistently chosen to disobey the Lord? It is never too late to repent. “Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near.” (Isaiah 55:6)
Re:Verse reading–1 Samuel 28:3-20; 31:1-6 (day three)
Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?
The spiritual side of reality is nothing if not consistent with the material side. Except for being dead, Samuel is his same old self, delivering his same old word to Saul: No. Really, of course, Samuel is alive—just not occupying the same dimensional space as Saul anymore. But the thing that we often get a little fuzzy on is just how much these two sides of reality affect each other. We act as if the life beyond this life is a kind of fancy reset button. Turns out, though, that Jesus really knew what he was talking about: Whatever you bind on earth is bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth is loosed in heaven. In other words, this life really matters eternally. Live accordingly.
Re:Verse reading–1 Samuel 28:3-20; 31:1-6 (day two)
Samuel said, “Why then do you ask me, since the Lord has departed from you and has become your adversary? vs. 16
There was a time when Samuel had a good word for Saul. A time when the words of the prophet brought comfort to the king, but those days were long past. Saul, so desperate for a word of comfort again, was willing to evoke Samuel’s spirit via a seance. And Samuel, as true to the work of the Lord as ever, was clear: the Lord had departed from Saul. If Samuel had ever spoken peace to Saul, it was at the bidding of the Lord, and if had ever been cold toward the king, that too was from the Lord.
If we don’t hear what we want, how low are we willing to go? Saul cried out to the Lord, and his did not respond. It should have ended there. Are we sometimes so desperate to have our plans vindicated that we will summon the dead? Probably not a good idea.