Today, we will continue in our study called, “On the Edge”, a study of how exciting it is to follow God. We have seen and will see again today how living by faith can be hard and even painful. But, it is never boring.
An exciting and fulfilling life is one composed of pain and glory. You can’t know victory without trial. You can’t know fulfillment until you have been empty. So, here we go into another look inside the life of Abram. Today’s teaching is called, “When Your Vision Becomes a Joke”.
Last week, we talked about divine delays. A divine delay is one that has its origin in God. In other words, it is a product of His timing not our inaction or lack of faith. At this point, it has been 24 years since God first spoke to Abram – thirteen or so since the birth of Ishmael. Abram is now 99 years old and Sarai is 90. All natural hope for God’s promise to come to pass is long gone. You know, it’s interesting that its easier for us to believe when there is still a chance that something in the natural can produce God’s promise coming to pass, but once we pass that point – things often get harder still. God is not backing off His word. He even makes Abram change his name and Sarai’s name – their very identity to fit the fulfillment of God’s word to them. At this point, Abraham is a broken man. God needs broken men and women to fulfill His plan.
“God has a university. It’s a small school. Few enroll; even fewer graduate. Very, very few indeed. God has this school because he doesn’t have broken men and women. In God’s sacred school of submission and brokenness, why are there so few students? Because all students in this school must suffer much pain." -Tale of Three Kings
Abraham was enrolled in God’s school of brokenness and if you are going to be used by God without taking His glory as your own, you must be enrolled as well. When God speaks to Abraham about the promise this time, Abraham laughs at the absurdity of it all. Have you ever laughed because it seemed too foolish to believe anymore? So, what do you do when your vision becomes a joke? Circumcise everything and everyone in your house!
For the first time, Abraham has a timeframe: Sarah will have a son named Isaac this time next year. This is THE pathway God has chosen to reveal His glory through Abraham. Now, God tells Abraham to circumcise all males in his household. Everything thing that has the power to produce a pathway – a vision – a life must be focused and used for the vision of God – including Ishmael – it all must be focused on and used toward the glory of God! So, instead of sitting around and laughing off what God has said and giving in to hopelessness, Abram changes the name of His company from Exalted Father to Father of Many. He commands everyone who works for him – all resources in his household to be circumcised: He dedicates every resource toward the promise of God!! Have you dedicated every resource toward the promise of God?
Instead of going into unbelief and self-pity, Abraham “doubles down” on God’s word. He goes on the offensive against the enemy’s last minute plan to discourage him! Some of you need to dedicate everything to the promise of God! You need to decide that you are “all in!” If things in your life are defying God’s promise, circumcise them and dedicate them to God’s service! Can you imagine the reaction when Abram talked to the people in his house who had been hearing about this vision for 24 years? “From now on, you will call me, Abraham instead of Abram. And, each of you will be circumcised today. Everyone in my house will be all in on the covenant and promise of God or you will be all gone!”
GENESIS 17:1-11; 15-22
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