Blessed Obedience

Genesis 22:15-24

15 The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”

19 Then Abraham returned to his servants, and they set off together for Beersheba. And Abraham stayed in Beersheba.

20 Some time later Abraham was told, “Milkah is also a mother; she has borne sons to your brother Nahor: 21 Uz the firstborn, Buz his brother, Kemuel (the father of Aram), 22 Kesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph and Bethuel.” 23 Bethuel became the father of Rebekah. Milkah bore these eight sons to Abraham’s brother Nahor. 24 His concubine, whose name was Reumah, also had sons: Tebah, Gaham, Tahash and Maakah.

Introduction

Why did God design His commands as means to bless everyone who obey? It avoids discrimination. Young, old, rich, poor, single or married, the person who obeys His instruction will receive reward from the Lord.

It says in Ephesians 6:1-3, 1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—“so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”

The 1st command of God with a promise is obedience to parent, why? Obedience to parents, who are visible, practically proves that we can obey God, who is invisible. Obeying parents is obeying God’s command.

Some young people may argue, “What if my parents are not worthy to obey?” Then ask, “Did God give me parents to bless or destroy me?”

Paul wrote that obeying parents is not selective in Colossians 3:20, 20Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

God commands obedience to parents to practice obedience to Him. When Christ’s Spirit gives us joy to obey our parents, it helps us confirms our trust that His commands are designed for our betterment.

Abraham has proven that obeying God was the best decision he made. Before God changed his name Abram (exalted father) to Abraham (father of multitude), God understood his heart’s desire to have children.

It says in Genesis 15:1-6, 1The word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”

Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

Multiple times, God has assured Abraham that He will bless him with many descendants. When he passed the ultimate test of faith—the sacrifice of his son Isaac, the Lord swears with finality to bless him with numerous descendants, after that, he never heard similar promise from God again.

1. Descendants

15 The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”

The blessing of many descendants was God’s reward to his obedience. God’s promises will always come true in God’s right timing. For Abraham, children and descendants were most significant blessing he received.

The Lord made many promises to bless us also. But how can we know which promise is meant for us? How can we be sure that God fulfills them?

In 2 Corinthians 1:20-22, 20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

What’s one practical assurance that God fulfills His promises? He helps us stand firm and grow strong in our faith in Christ. To make sure that we grow spiritually strong and mature, He put His Spirit in our heart.

His Spirit will help us discern which promise is for us that He fulfills.

Moreover, the presence of Christ’s Spirit in our life makes us all the more certain that we’ve faith in Him. The fruit of the Spirit certifies in practical proofs that Christ dwells actively as Lord of our life.

God promised that He will give many descendants to Abraham. And, He actually told Abraham multiple times. God gave His final affirmation of His promise after Abraham passed the ultimate test of faith. Abraham was blessed with multitude of descendants eventually. It says in Psalm 127:3, Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.

By faith, we can agree that because Abraham obeyed, God fulfilled His promise to bless him with numerous descendants. Can we agree that faith is essential or necessary ingredient in the fulfillment of God’s promises?

Some people don’t think children are blessings. Others desire yet can’t have children. Descendants and dignity, these are blessing from the Lord.

2. Dignity

19 Then Abraham returned to his servants, and they set off together for Beersheba. And Abraham stayed in Beersheba.

Previously, Abraham instructed his servants to stay behind and wait for them some distance away from the region of Moriah where he sacrificed Isaac. His dignity before his servants was at stake. His servants trusted him to honor what he told them. They trusted that they will return.

Can you agree that it’s God who made it sure that Abraham honored his words before his servants? His prediction of returning to the place where his servants waited was happened just as he said. God said he’s a prophet.

In Deuteronomy 18:21-22, 21 You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord?” 22 If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarm.

In Jeremiah 28:9, 9The prophet who prophesies peace will be recognized as one truly sent by the Lord only if his prediction comes true.

Abraham’s prediction to return happened just as he said it.

Does it prove that Abraham was prophet? Did God put the idea to return in his mind? Nonetheless, God preserved Abraham’s dignity.

House and Car

Many people assume that expensive house and car would give them dignity. Do you agree that material abundance can make you dignified or earn respect of other people? Some believers have firmly believed to be blessed is to have much wealth. Because of it, prosperity gospel preachers take advantage of followers who are persuaded that wealth means blessing.

Truly, many servants of the Lord prospered materially but not all of them. Material wealth is no absolute proof that one is blessed.

Blessing means supreme happiness. Wealth can buy limited happiness but not joy, dignity or respect of others. People may envy the wealthy but not necessarily respect them. How can we earn respect of others?

Apostle Paul testified in Philippians 4: 11-13, 11 I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

If we can find contentment in Christ, we can be satisfied with the respect or dignity that God allows us to have. We can agree that wealth cannot buy respect or dignity. Dignity and honor are God’s blessings.

When Abraham obeyed, the Lord God blessed him with numerous descendants, desirable dignity and fortunate destiny.

3. Destiny

20 Some time later Abraham was told, “Milkah is also a mother; she has borne sons to your brother Nahor: 21 Uz the firstborn, Buz his brother, Kemuel (the father of Aram), 22 Kesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph and Bethuel.” 23 Bethuel became the father of Rebekah. Milkah bore these eight sons to Abraham’s brother Nahor. 24 His concubine, whose name was Reumah, also had sons: Tebah, Gaham, Tahash and Maakah.

One might have pondered, “Why was this information concerning the family of Abraham’s brother, inserted after Abraham passed the ultimate testing of his faith? Well, it’s not written if Abraham sent someone to gather information about his brother Nahor but it came to him. He was told of it.

It mentioned about about Nahor’s granddaughter Rebekah, who was destined to become the wife of Isaac. The information about the Abraham’s brother was a transition to prepare readers about Isaac’s life.  The destiny of Isaac was added practical blessing as reward to Abraham’s obedience.

When Abraham heard about the family of his brother Nahor, he may have been given an idea and planned for his son’s future wife. What lesson can we learn from Abraham about knowing the destiny of his son? Can you agree that destiny is blessing from the Lord as reward of obedience?

Durian

A missionary testified among seminary students that he served with his wife somewhere in Africa. For seven years of marriage and mission work, they did not have a child. Then, they responded to a call for them to serve as missionaries in Davao, Mindanao, Philippines.

Accordingly, after  three months in Davao, his wife got pregnant. He said that they ate a lot of Durian fruit. He is convinced that Durian fruit is a miracle fruit because his wife got pregnant. Durian fruit may have nutrients they needed physically to have children. When they obeyed God as missionaries in the Philippines, they were also blessed with children.

When God’s call us, He offers us opportunity to receive even practical blessings He has prepared for us. Our destiny depends upon our decision to obey or respond to God’s call. We may do things like others do but we can have unique and more desirable destiny if we listen and obey God’s call.

Our Lord Jesus teaches in Luke 11:28, 28“Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

Our Lord Jesus Christ did not only talk about blessed obedience but He practically exemplified obeying God the Father. He received the greatest proof that blessing and rewards await our obedience to God.

It says in Revelation 5:12, 12In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth, and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!

So, as we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, we remember the obedience of our Lord Jesus Christ even to His undeserved death on the cross.

And, God resurrected Him to receive the highest honor and glory because of He obeyed God the Father even to His death on the cross.

Let us then pray and ask God to fill and empower us with His Spirit for us to have joy and gladness to respond to His call without delay.

>:(((‘> ltsii/2018 <‘))):<

 

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