Good News…Bad News

Genesis 18

Good news or bad news…which do you prefer to hear first? This episode in the life of Abraham highlights two essential aspects to God’s character represented by the two pronouncements…a message of hope and life to Abraham and Sarah and of judgment and death to the people of Sodom and Gomorrah.

In the first scene, Abraham dwelling in Mamre, the place of worship. The LORD announces a miraculous birth, is the Giver of life, shows grace to the chosen couple, is faithful to His promises…Seed of the woman, Genesis 3:15, He’s the Doer of the impossible. Immanent. Mercy.

In the second scene, Sodom is described as exceedingly wicked. The LORD pronounces  judgment, is the Taker of life, judges the seriousness of sin… seed of the serpent, Abraham is faithful to intercede for, the LORD’s the Just Judge. Transcendent. Justice.

God is both merciful and just. Merciful to those who cry out to Him. A Just Judge to those who reject Him. But notice even in His judgment the mercy He extends toward the wicked for the sake of the righteous. His desire is not to destroy, but that all will come to know Him. And to that end, Abraham intercedes for Sodom. Praying for the good of the city because of the potential impact that the righteous can and should have.

We have a similar opportunity to intercede…to pray for those who are far from God. To stand in the gap for our 8-15. Like Abraham, we too, are called to be a source of blessing to the families of the earth, all of us who have believed are a part of the people of God who are to faithfully bear His image to the rest of His creation. So if you are a believer, pray…pray for your 8-15. Pray for the city.

If you have not yet come to the place in your spiritual journey where you would say that you have a relationship with God…you can have that today. It’s as easy as believing that Jesus came and lived the life you were supposed to live, died the death you were supposed to die and was raised again so that just as He conquered sin and death, you too might conquer sin and death and experience life…life today in His kingdom.

And if you’re like Sarah, maybe you’ve crossed the line from death to life but are still struggling with trusting God in the day to day. Maybe you are worn out with waiting for God to “show up” in your situation. Maybe you’re not sure that He is able to help. Or maybe He can, but will He (or why would He?)? Remember the LORD showed up for Sarah…to strengthen and affirm her faith so that in Hebrews we’re told, “By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised.” The LORD wants us to trust Him in the day-to-day, and not just for a secured future.

My prayer for us this week is that we would be a praying people…interceding for those who don’t know our Rescuer. And for those of us who are Sarah’s, that He would show Himself real in our day-to-day.

Until next time…stay salty.

This post is based on our Genesis series. Listen online at:http://www.centralchristian.org, or follow us on twitter: @ccclancaster

Kicking Down the Door

Genesis 16

­­­Why is it so hard to wait? And why is it so easy to take matters into our own hands…to kick down the door?

Tens years and no sign of movement. The promise is confirmed to Abram, but what about Sarai? It’s easy to see how and why Sarai gets to the place where she feels like she needs to kick down the door, you know, help God out. Names are key. God sees, and He hears. It takes the faith experience of Hagar to remind the chosen couple of what they should have already known. And although they should have known better…so should we.

But how many times have we done the same thing. I shared the story of my work experience last week. My journey out to California has some of those same elements. I knew God had gifted me to teach. I had a desire to pastor a church. So I began to test a few doors. As time went on, I became more and more desperate and pushed harder. And each time I pushed, I became more frustrated and bitter. It wasn’t until I stopped pushing and went through the door He had opened that I found peace and eventually my way here doing what I love to do.

A good friend of mine asked a very perceptive question…how do I know when to wait and when to take action? In other words, when is waiting just laziness or taking action kicking down the door? If we are honest with ourselves, I think we know when we are taking matters into our hands, when we are rushing in. God sees and hears, but He also speaks…He guides. Unless He’s clearly directing, it’s best to wait. But when He’s clear, it’s time to move…to go.

Bottom line: when we kick the door down, when we try to help God out, we are in effect saying we know better than God. We are doing what’s right, the good, in our own eyes. And there are always ramifications. Anger. Frustration. Job loss. Broken relationships. Etc. Abram and Sarai’s decision has far reaching consequences…conflict in the Middle East, Muslim and Jew/Christian even today. And many times the negative effects are the result of the comparison game that inevitably gets played every time we do what’s right in our own eyes…I put myself in the place of God. Instead of trusting that God sees and hears, that He knows, I become the one who sees and hears others, judging and condemning them.

So, where do you see yourself in the story? Abram…failing to trust God and lead well. Sarai…failing to trust God and taking matters into your own hands, helping God out, kicking down the door. Or Hagar…realizing, maybe for the first time, that God does see and hear you, that He knows you and wants to rescue you. Whichever you are today, God sees and hears and knows and cares. If we have learned anything about Abram so far, we know that he will be building another altar shortly. The consequences remain, but restoration is available.

My prayer for us this week is that we realize God sees, hears, knows and cares about us, and may that give us the freedom to love others unashamedly and run after Him.

Until next time…stay salty.

This post is based on our Genesis series. Listen online at:http://www.centralchristian.org, or follow us on twitter: @ccclancaster