Lucky Abraham, Lucky You

It’s known as the Abrahamic Covenant. The promises of God found in Genesis 17. What a lucky guy huh!? Called by God in such a personal way. Protected by God (Gen. 12:3). Blessed by God (Gen. 12:2). Brought into a covenant relationship with God. When really he deserved none of it. It was all given to him! Every single bit – straight up handed to Abraham on a silver platter.

Devotional Scripture: Genesis 17:6-8; 15-21
Key Verse: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 1:3

He had it pretty good – that guy. Prior to this speech from God, Abraham had been promised his name would be made great. A nation would come from him. His descendants would one day possess the land of Canaan as their own. And a son would be born from him. (As far as he knew that son was Ishmael. Because as far as we know God had yet to speak on the matter.)

Until now. When Ishmael was thirteen. And Abraham was fast approaching triple digits. When Abraham didn’t see any other way. When Sarah had lost all hope. Her body as good as dead. God spoke on the matter.

He came down (see v. 22). Adding more to the covenant he had already established with Abraham. Blessing upon blessing. And Abraham’s response – perfectly appropriate. He fell flat on his face. And I assume stayed that way while he listened to the most incredible promises:

I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you (v. 6). “I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring…for an everlasting covenant” (v.7). “I will give to you and to your offspring…the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God” (v. 8). “As for Sarai your wife…Sarah [meaning princess] shall be her nameI will give you a son by her…she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her” (v. 15-16).

Woweeee! What a lucky guy! Can you imagine God appearing to you with such brilliant promises?! The God of the Universe; the Creator; the King of all Kings making a covenant with you?! And to your offspring! How absolutely spectacular! Oh to be Abraham or at least an offspring of Abraham! Shrouded in God’s protection and promises. Forever! No wonder he was a man of faith. Right?

Lucky guy indeed.

But here’s the thing. You ready? Abraham’s not the only “lucky” one. If you are in Christ – you are an offspring of Abraham! “For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise” (Gal. 3:26, 29).

Yes you! In Christ – an offspring of Abraham! Heir of the promise. Co-heirs with Christ! Adopted as a son or daughter of God.

And get this. You too have been called by God (John 6:44). I know you have a story. Every believer in Christ does. Of how God called you into a real and personal relationship with him. We don’t come on our own. But he didn’t call you to saving faith just to leave you high and dry. You too are safe in the hands of God (John 6:39). You too have been invited into a covenant relationship with him forever (1 Cor. 11:25). You too have been given incredible promises (2 Peter 1:4). You too are blessed by God (Eph. 1:3).

Abraham may have had the privilege of talking with Christ but we have the privilege of abiding in Christ! (John 15:5) Abraham may have had the privilege of seeing Christ but we have the privilege of having Christ with us always to the end of the age! (Matthew 28:20)

Need more?

We have the privilege of being the very temple of God (1 Cor. 3:16). The privilege of approaching the throne of God with confidence at any time with any concern (Heb. 4:16). The privilege of being part of a royal priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices to God through Christ (1 Peter 2:5). The privilege of having the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead dwell in us (Rom. 8:11). Sealing us for the day of redemption (Eph. 4:30). We have the privilege of an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading (1 Peter 1:4). The privilege of knowing, memorizing, absorbing an entire book filled with the very words of God (2 Timothy 3:16).

All this handed to us on a silver platter. Every single bit – straight up handed to us by grace through faith. Completely undeserved. Yet ours forever in Christ Jesus.

Sounds like we’re the “lucky” ones! (And by lucky I mean blessed, favored, fortunate – not something left to chance.)

So why so downcast o my soul? Why so sad? Lift up your eyes to Heaven and rejoice! The blessings we have in Christ are astounding! The guaranteed inheritance awaiting us is beyond all comparison (2 Corinthians 4:17). Ya some days are really hard. Some days are flat out exhausting. Some days I just want to go back to bed. Anyone with me? But really…really we’ve got it pretty good. No actually – in Christ we’ve got it really good.

Indeed I’d say Abraham isn’t the only lucky one. You are! Lift your head believer. Today may be hard. Tomorrow may be even harder but you are blessed. You are favored. You are fortunate. You are “lucky”.

Contemplate and Evaluate
Have you taken time to count your blessings recently? Praise God today for not only the tangible blessings but the spiritual ones as well.
How can focusing on the privileges we have in Christ give you encouragement for today?image

Sometimes We Need to Let Go

Devo Scripture: Genesis 13
Key Verse: “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked…but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.” Ps. 1:1-2

We cling to things…don’t we? Tight. Like that dream, that child, that house, that job, that plan, that money is the one thing that will make us happy. The one thing. So we pray. We take it to God and we beg him for it. Please LORD, please just this once answer my prayer the way I want you to. Or we fight for it. At the risk of losing everything…we fight. We let it consume us until every thought, every moment, every whisper is for it and it alone. Never mind our witness. Never mind our relationships. Never mind our God.

And it very well might rightfully be yours. You may have worked hard for it. It belongs to you. So no way should you have to let go of it. No way. It wouldn’t be fair. After all it’s yours. Don’t worry I feel the same way. It’s mine…my reputation, my security, my comfort, my desire, my life, my idea, my hope, my shame, my pride, my sin.

So we cling. Harder. Because “blessed is he who gets what he wants.” Is that it? Is that what Scripture says? No, it’s not. But we act like it is. Atleast I do…when I pray unceasingly for what I want. What I think I need to make me happy. To keep me happy.

But what if we let go? It’s scary, I know. But what if we let go of that which we cling most tightly to. That which we grasp at with such sincere audacity; which we think will make us most happy. What if we actually let go? For starters, maybe we wouldn’t be so worn out. (All that clinging and grasping is exhausting!) Maybe we’d actually “let go and let God” as we allude to. Maybe we’d realize life in HIS hands isn’t so bad after all. Maybe we’d still be ok. And maybe….just maybe we’d learn to trust Jesus who cares for us as we will never fully comprehend.

We might even find blessing. Abram did. When he – for the sake of his witness; for the sake of his relationship with his nephew; for the sake of his relationship with God – let go. They had a problem, he and Lot. They had too many riches! Together they overpowered the available pasture lands and wells. Their herdsmen quarreled. But instead of fighting back. Instead of getting really upset and demanding Lot respect his authority. Instead of pouting, complaining, feeling sorry for himself and stuffing his face with chocolate; instead of gossiping – he went to Lot. And he let go. “Let there be no strife between you and me…Is not the whole land before you?…If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right, or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left” (Gen. 13:8-9).

So Lot took a good look around (likely they were on elevated ground). “And saw that the Jordan Valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt” (Gen. 13:10). It looked good! After the famine; after seeing Egypt; it looked really good. So he took it. All of it! (Blessed is he who gets what he wants. Right??) Problem was the land included Sodom. And the men of Sodom “were wicked, great sinners against the LORD” (Gen. 13:13). And because of his choice to dwell in wickedness Lot would lose much, including his wife. He would live daily with a tormented soul (2 Peter 2:8). No, he wasn’t blessed. But Abram was.

Abram, who let go. Abram, who worshiped God upon his return from Egypt. Abram, who learned to trust, with a ruthless trust, the Almighty God. He was greatly blessed. For God appeared to him and said look around. All the land you see I give to you and your descendants. Forever! Go and walk through it! So I imagine Abram did. I imagine he took a nice long walk. But then settled “by the oaks of Mamre, which are at Hebron” (Gen. 13:18). He settled in rich communion with God; for Mamre can mean “richness” and Hebron means “communion.” What an incredible place to be…settled in rich communion with God. Truly Abram was blessed. For all communion with God is a blessing.

And we want blessing. Don’t we? Because it make us happy. And truly happiness is what we seek! It’s why we cling. It’s why we grasp. Because we want to be happy. And we think we know just what will make us happy. But do we? Do we really know? God’s made it clear. And it’s not always getting what we want. It’s doing what HE wants. That’s what will make us happy.

It’s not a coincidence the Hebrew and Greek words for blessed can be translated “happy”. It’s by design. God’s perfect design. Because happiness cannot be found in a dream, a hope, a wish, a goal. It’s found in Him…

Blessed [happy] is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked…but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.” Ps. 1:1-2

Blessed [happy] is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commandments!” Ps. 112:1

Behold, blessed [happy] is the one whom God reproves; therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty.” Job 5:17

Blessed [happy] is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding.” Prov. 3:13

Blessed [happy] is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” Ro. 4:8

Blessed [happy] are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Matt. 5:8

Blessed [happy] are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matt. 5:10

Seek after Jesus my friend. Seek him with all your heart. Live always for him. Even if it means…you have to let go. For the sake of your relationships; for the sake of your witness; for the sake of His glory -sometimes we have to let go. But I have no doubt if it’s for his glory you’ll find yourself blessed. You’ll find yourself…happy.

Contemplate and Evaluate:
What are you clinging to; what are you grasping for; that you need to let go of today?
What have you sought after for happiness? (A better body; love; wealth; position; honor) What does Scripture say will make you happy?