Thursday, January 14, 2021

January 14 - Genesis 12/Matthew 10

 Key verse: Genesis 12:2

Big idea: In the beginning, God chose to bless the world through Abram.

As we discussed yesterday, Genesis 12 marks a turning point in the Bible's storyline. God made an incredible promise to one man. Abram was called to leave his homeland, his family, and everything he had ever known to go to a land he had never seen. Although he had no children, God promised that he would be a great nation. He was unknown, but God guaranteed that those who blessed him would be blessed and those who cursed him would be cursed. God turns His attention to this one man and his family, but with a broader purpose: all nations on the earth would be blessed by the seed of Abram. 

Galatians 3:15-16 makes a simple analogy: no human contract can be changed after it is signed. It would be dishonest to make a promise and then add new restrictions later. If a human being would not do that, how could the holy God? So the promise that God made to Abram would never be restricted by later laws or restrictions. No matter what, God would bless the whole Earth through Abram and his seed. Galatians pushes the point further: seed is singular, not plural. The blessing of the whole world would eventually come through one very specific descendant. Abram (Abraham) would give birth to Isaac, Isaac to Jacob, Jacob to Judah, and down through the line to Jesus. In Jesus, all families of the Earth would be blessed.

Discussion idea: How do the blessings of being made a great nation, a great name, a land, and blessing the whole world connect with the effects of the Fall?
Prayer focus: Lord, help me to see that you use humble means to work great things, and that you are faithful to every promise. Help me to live in the confidence of that faithfulness. 

Key verse: Matthew 10:31

Big Idea: Jesus is all we need for the work of His Kingdom.  

Have you ever started to make a meal and realized midway through that you were missing a critical ingredient? The onions are sauteeing, the water is boiling, and the meat is…frozen.  There is a reason that a professional chef will set all of the needed supplies out before beginning! An experienced contractor will not begin a project and learn midway through that he does not have enough bricks. No military launches an invasion without determining the guns, tanks, and airplanes needed to win. It is foolish to begin without the tools to finish the job, and what is true of the physical world has a spiritual application as well. What do we need to carry out Christ’s work?

Jesus told His disciples not to worry about some of the things we might expect they would need. Money, clothing, and even extra shoes were unnecessary. The only thing they needed to carry was the message: The Kingdom of Heaven is near. God would provide for them as they went through strangers who would come to faith. There was no calling ahead to reserve a room at La Quinta. The only security they had was their faith. They did not need to worry, even though they would face betrayal, rejection, and apparent failure, like their Master Himself.  No matter what they faced, He was enough for them.

If my shoes wear out, my parents turn their backs on me, and I have nowhere to stay, Jesus is still enough. No stockpiles of supplies can replace the One who is active in caring for us, before whom not even a sparrow falls to the ground. There is no need to prepare elaborate speeches for if we stand trial because the Spirit of our Father will give us what to say at that moment.

When God gives us something, it is a blessing for which we should be grateful. I cannot imagine ministering through the coronavirus pandemic without the gifts of the Internet. I would not want to pastor here in the Houston metro without the blessing of air conditioning. But we should never mistake the gift for the Giver. Even when we think we have lost some essential tools or irreplaceable friends, we must realize that if we have Jesus, we have everything.

Discussion Idea: What resource are you tempted to trust instead of God? Money, facilities, people? How can you reshape your thinking to depend on Him entirely?

Prayer Focus: Ask God to help you recognize what He has already given you, and to remove any excuses that keep us from obedience. 

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