My Verse

Isaiah 43:1

"But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Isreal, "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!"

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sacrifice: The Ram In The Bush

Exodus 22:13
13Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son.

There is a song that we sing at church, right now the title escapes me, as well as most of the words! But this Sunday, there were five words that have continued to stick with me. "The ram in the bush..." I'm not sure how everyone else in service felt about those words as they melodically floated through the air, but they seemed to settle on me in such a way, that I feel God is trying to show me something. Speak something to me. If you have been following my blogs lately, you know that sacrifice has been a main and repetitive theme, with emphasis on the portion of scripture that those lyrics come from.

We know that Jesus is represented in this passage, by Abraham willing to sacrifice his only son and by the ram that becomes the sacrifice provided by God. I began to think about the timing of it all, and how important it was that Abraham paid close attention to the details God was showing Him.

vs. 2
2He 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."

There was a specific place that God was leading Abraham, much like there is a specific place that God is leading us. Anytime we become rebellious or stubborn and decide that we want to go our own route, it keeps us from getting to the spot where God has provided the "ram in the bush". I have been on my own journey, most of you have read about it here, to a place God has purposed for me, learning about sacrifice, patience, and faith. I have had to try my hardest to put my desires and passions, my life, on that alter. Most times I have struggled and failed, and I still see where I am lacking in faith. But God has given me hope. Once again, I'm brought to the realization (and it shouldn't really be such a grand realization cause it's something I should know already!) that my hope is in Jesus. If I follow the direction of God, and go to the mountain He will tell me of, He has already provided the "ram in the bush".

What would have happened had Abraham decided he couldn't go all the way, or that another mountain was closer and made better sense. Would the ram have been caught in the bushes? Would he have passed up what God really had in store? We know that God never intended for Abraham to sacrifice his son. But just like God tested Abraham's patience, by causing him to wait till he was over 100 years old for Isaac, the promised seed, God was testing Abraham's faith. If God could give a promise, He would see it through to the very end, even if He had to raise the boy from the dead.

Where am I in this? God, I know that you have been speaking to me about sacrifice. I want to follow Your direction to the very end. I don't want to give up on You, or to rebel and turn aside and follow my own path. You are directing, leading, and guiding me to that place, and I want to follow You!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Counting the Cost

Luke 14:25-33 25
Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. 27And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 28"Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? 29For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, 30saying, 'This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.' 31"Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.

Phil 3:7-9. 7
But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,

Again, it was a Sunday morning when God spoke these words to me. "Count the cost." The pervasive "still small voice" of God, penetrating my heart. Really I don't know what to say to that. While I've meditated and chewed on it for days, I don't want to respond mindlessly. Isn't that what Luke is talking about, a mindless haphazard response to God's will, instead of counting the cost?

So, I'll continue to seek God about this, and what He is trying to show me. But I really wanted to share these scriptures with everyone. I think we are in a time, where we need to be counting the costs. Are we really willing to give all? Our lavish homes, our fancy cars, friendships, family, anything that we may put ahead of God or that we allow to stop us from fully following God. I don't want to sound pesimistic, since really it is because of hope in our God that we are able to shed the cares and worries and things of this world.