Thinking about relationships and how they started with God—God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit—and they have been in perfect relationship for ever and ever and ever without end. I’m just thrilled that he made us to have relationship with him and to have relationship with others. Relationships can be glorious and relationships can be extremely difficult. But God wants us to really understand the beauty of relationships because that is what we will have with him for ever and ever.
I must interrupt this message to remind you to READ YOUR BIBLE! I have promised God that wherever I go and wherever I speak I will give this message! I was so ignorant for so many years about so much because I was not in the Word of God. You can be in church, like I was, and doing good things like listening to good preaching, attending Sunday School, singing in the choir, and so on, but still be very very ignorant of God’s Word.
I want you to have that in mind—that more than anything we are to love God’s Word. When I read it I’m not necessarily looking for some deep insight, but the more I read it the more I also understand what God is trying to say to me. Jesus said in John 5:39-40: “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” My prayer is that as I read the Bible that I would do exactly what Jesus said. That what I just read brings me to Jesus. It’s not just words on pages.
I was thinking about that and how this one horrible thing almost destroyed the relationship I have with my husband when we first got married. I got this attack of jealousy. I was incredibly jealous, and God helped me. I went to a biblical counselor. She started off with three lovely words— “I rebuke you!” She gave me some instructions and Rod and I started to do what we needed to do and God delivered me.
In reading my Bible I also see that there is a good jealousy—a perfect jealousy, a holy jealousy. He is a jealous God. He will not share his glory with anyone and he is jealous for his people. He refers to Israel sometimes as his wife and she is an adulteress who has left him and he is jealous.
And in Romans 11:11 Paul says that God will now save the Gentiles to make Israel jealous. So God uses jealousy, in a sense, to get us right with him. I thought about that and wow. We have that twisted jealousy that Satan has, because he looked at God and said, “I want to be where you are.” And that has kicked him out and has twisted us in many ways. But I hope to tell you something—that I’m still a little jealous. I want to say that I believe that it’s a good jealousy.
There’s one person in the Bible and I wonder—Lord, what was it with this man that you loved? There is one person in the Bible that God refers to as his friend. I want God to say “Dámaris is my friend!”
That person is Abraham. And the Bible clearly says this. What did Abraham do? We know that he believed. This man was in a pagan country where they worshipped many gods. God speaks to him clearly. He tells Abraham that he wants him to get up and leave his land and family. And go where I will show you to go. And the Bible says that he believed.
The Bible also tells us in Hebrews 11:6—without faith it’s impossible to please God. That’s what I just loved about Abraham. That when God speaks Abraham understands it’s God and he says “Yes!” And he gets up.
The Bible calls Abraham the father of all who believe. He is the father of all who believe. I pray “God make me more like Abraham. As I read your word, as I see things that are maybe a little difficult, that I would just believe.” That if this is what God wants me to do—then do it. Don’t question me. Be like Abraham. I’m jealous! I want to be like this man because God loved him.
The Bible also tells us that nothing moved him. And that God one day tells him to look up and see the stars and that’s how numerous your people will be. And Abraham says okay it will be through my servant since I don’t have a child. And God said no, it’s not going to be through your servant. And then Sarah had a lovely idea that didn’t work out to well. Even in that story I feel like God has such mercy and grace to even help Hagar. He even speaks to her and says I’ll take care of you. But still this baby boy finally does show up. And here’s where Abraham just melts me. The Bible says that Abraham heard the Lord say I want you to sacrifice your son. And Abraham obeyed—without question. He picked up his son, Isaac, who was probably close to being a teen-aged boy, he said I’ll do it. He gets to the place, and tells the servants to stay in one place as he will go alone with the boy to worship. The boy says we have everything, but where is the sacrifice? And Abraham says the Lord will provide. He must have tied Isaac up.
We don’t know what Isaac was thinking or did. But we do know that Abraham picks up his knife and is about to take his son’s life because that’s what God told him to do. Now, in Hebrews 11 it gives us the explanation of why. He said listen – God called me – God told me where to go. God told me that I would have a son. God told me that he would give me a people. I don’t really understand all this, but even if I kill him, God must have a plan to resurrect him or something. There was no wavering in this man. When he picks up the knife God says stop—now I know that you love me even more than this son that you adore.
I just think about this faith that Abraham had. A faith to believe God to not only get up and leave everything he knew with his wife but to be willing to sacrifice his long-awaited son. That story in Genesis is enough to make me say, “O God make me more like Abraham.”
Here’s another thing that strikes me. Abraham did not have a Bible. The reason I point this out is that because we have WAY more information than Abraham had. And yet Abraham believed God. What I’m trying to say is that it should be easier for me to believe God by what I know he did, how God fulfilled his promises, how these things have happened in the Word of God. There should be absolutely no wavering in my life and yet I am constantly wavering about things. And I just say, “Lord would you just give me this heart that Abraham had?” And that you would say something like—now I know I believe in God’s sovereignty.
I believe that God knew that Abraham was going to obey him. I believe that God speaks a certain way so that we might know what pleases him. Because God clearly said, you love me more than this boy. I want to love the Lord more than anyone else in this world. And I also want to jealously guard my heart for God and God alone. That nothing else would take me away from what God wants me to do, how God wants me to be, how God wants me to speak. This man had no Bible, no church, no fellowship, no studying—none of this. He just walked with God and listened to God. I’m jealous. But in a good way. I want to be like this man. No wonder he is called the father of the faith.
As James, the brother of Jesus, says—yes he believed, but he obeyed and that’s true. I don’t want to make little of that. He did what God asked of him. I want to be obedient like that and have that kind of faith. But I am more and more convicted that it’s not that I have to know more of my Bible to understand how to be this way. I just have to look at Abraham who had nothing but God’s voice and he was certain, he was confident that this is what God wanted him to do. And he did it. I am jealous of Abraham, but I think it’s a good way of being jealous.
Please read your Bible—don’t stop reading your Bible! It’s the Bible that’s going to give us that kind of faith that we need. And the Bible does clearly say that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. I am jealous of Abraham, but it’s a good jealousy!