Sunday, June 19, 2005

Look to Abraham: Is 51:1-3

" 'Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness, who seek the LORD: look to the rock from which you were hewn and to the quarry from which you were dug. Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who gave birth to you in pain; when he was but one I called him, then I blessed him and multiplied him.' Indeed, the LORD will comfort Zion; He will comfort all her waste places. And her wilderness He will make like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and sound of a melody." (Isaiah 51:1-3)
This scripture was spoken to the literal and physical Israel, however this scripture also applies to all of us who believe. Paul wrote, "Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham." (Galatians 3:7) And, regarding the promises God made to Abraham, Paul teaches us, "For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all." (Romans 4:16) So what can we learn by looking to Abraham? What does it mean that we were hewn from the quarry that was Abraham?
  1. We share Abraham's character and nature. Abraham was a man of faith and we share the same life of faith that our father Abraham had. Abraham is the father of all who believes, "and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, so that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be credited to them, and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised." (Romans 4:11-12) Our father was a man of faith and we are also called to be men and women of faith. Abraham lived by faith and so should we. This is not to say that Abraham was always perfect in his faith, but by faith he grew in his walk and fellowship with God. His walk of faith was always growing. "For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, 'BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.' " (Romans 1:17) We should strive to have the faith of Abraham, to believe God and to take Him at His word. Abraham did this and God counted it to him as righteousness.
  2. We share in the blessings and promises of Abraham. "For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith." (Romans 4:13) God made certain promises to Abraham and, as his descendents, we are heirs of those promises. Why? Not because we deserve them, not because we worked for them, but because we have the faith of our father Abraham. What were these promises and blessings? "Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, 'ALL THE NATIONS WILL BE BLESSED IN YOU.' So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer." (Galatians 3:7-9) The promise to Abraham was that he would become the father of a nation that would have a righteousness that was not derived from the law but rather a righteousness that came by faith. We are the living fulfillment of this promise. This promise of forgiveness and righteousness by faith is ours. We inherited it not by law and not be being a physical descendent, but we inherited it by faith.
  3. We share Abraham's destiny. "All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them." (Hebrews 11:13-14,16) To Abraham's natural descendants God gave them a physical land, the land of Canaan, but for us, He has reserved something even greater, a heavenly country. God is preparing a place for us with Him. A place where we may always be with Him, in His presence. "In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also." (John 14:2-3) Our home is not on this earth. We have an inheritance that is not of this creation. We are merely sojourners and strangers, like our father Abraham. Someday, Jesus will return to take us home with Him. In that moment, we will be changed, and we will enter into glory with the rest of the saints, with all those who were of faith, even Abraham.
David Robison

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