October 15, 2009
Wow! Did we have a great time at bible study this week! My mom has been with us since the first of October so she got to sit in with us as a special treat to us. The Lord really opened his word to us beginning with Genesis 22. Here God was testing Abraham to see if he would be obedient even to the point of sacrificing his son. God wanted to know who was more important to Abraham, God or his favored, promised son. He wanted to see if Abraham feared him.
Abraham was obedient and faithful to his God and at the last minute God sent an angel to stop his hand as Abraham was going to follow through with the Lord’s instructions. Because of Abraham’s faithfulness in putting God in his rightful place, God pronounced promises and blessings to him and future generations. We discussed how Abraham knew God was testing him and that he most likely wouldn’t have to kill Isaac his son as verses 5 & 8 gave us clues to his thinking process but he was prepared to do so.
As we moved on to the next scripture, John 10, we could see how the Holy Spirit was progressing things. Jesus spoke of his sheep and they are those who know him and know his voice. We didn’t see any doubt in the word about that; if you are a sheep of the shepherd then you will know him and hear his voice and follow him and he will give you eternal life (verses 1-9 & 28). Abraham heard God and followed him.
Jesus continues in John 10:9-16 speaking to the people about the way into the sheep pen of safety, he is the “gate” and the only way. He lovingly reveals his heart to the people showing them who he is, “the Good Shepherd”. He is the only one who can be relied upon; people who have been “hired” will run when trouble presents itself but the Good Shepherd will always be there.
God doesn’t want us to rely on those in authority over us because people will always let us down when we put our faith and trust in them instead of Jesus. We should never elevate anyone; God won’t tolerate someone in his spot. He is a jealous God and when we put someone in his place such as a spouse, our president, our pastor, or even our own self it is idolatry. God will bring idols down and he will cause them to fail us as he reveals their hearts to us.
Jeremiah 17:5-10 beautifully illustrates these points as God says, “…Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord.” This scripture goes on to contrast what this person looks like compared to the one who puts their trust in the Lord in verses 6-8. When we focus on ourselves or others as our source of strength we lose sight of God and become dry and it was interesting to us that we also miss prosperity when it comes to us. But if we are focused on God and put our hope and trust in him we flourish and don’t have any worries in time of drought. This speaks of many different kinds of circumstances that will surround us.
God tells us in verses 9-10 that he knows our hearts and that they are filled with deceitfulness this is why must trust only in him. He must be in the place of our worship and focus. I was challenged to ask God who it was that was sitting on the throne of my heart. It must be Jesus because he will not accept any less.
I know this is long but stay with me because it is so important to survival of these last days that you hear what the Lord is saying next. Verses 11-18 of Jeremiah 17 are describing our times in which we live as Jeremiah is praying to God; he worships him and he knows where his strength, healing and salvation come from. Jeremiah also knows that it will take God to get him through what he sees coming to the people.
Now the scripture seems to turn in Jeremiah 17:19-27 and God speaks to Jeremiah about the Sabbath and keeping it holy. Why is this here? Keep your finger her and turn to Hebrews 4:1-11 and you will see that we are to enter into the Sabbath rest of God by believing and knowing that God has already finished his work from the creation of the world (vs.3)
(Read Numbers 13 & 14 to understand better why God says that they will “never enter rest” in verse 3. It was because they would not believe and in doing so where disobedient just as we are when we do not believe.)
Back to Hebrews 4 in verse 6 it states this “It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience”, in other words they didn’t receive the gospel by believing it and the writer of Hebrews calls that disobedience.
Unbelief is disobedience as well as worry and fear is disobedience. If we allow these things to rule in our hearts we are saying that God can’t handle things and that we need to take over for him. We will never enter into the Sabbath rest which is knowing that God is in control and that all things are already accomplished by God until we trust him fully.
Hebrews 4: 10-11 tell us that when we enter into the rest of God we also rest from our work as God did from his and that the only thing we need to expend effort to do is to enter into the rest of God!
Now, go back to Jeremiah 17:19-27 and notice how many times the Lord tells the people not to “carry the load”. What is he saying to us? Lay it down, enter into the Sabbath rest and then you will go through the “gate” (Jesus) and have peace no matter what is going on around you. Also notice what happens if we don’t obey the Sabbath in verse 27. YIKES that’s not what I want! I want to enter into the place of safety and fortress during trouble times.
How do we enter in and be obedient? Part of the answer is the control of our thoughts as Philippians 4 instructs us to do and the other part is to believe and receive what Christ died to give us.
By learning to be content in every circumstance we enter into the Sabbath rest by trusting that God will supply for our every need. We trust that God has completed the work in this earth and his people, his sheep, and we believe which resists unbelief, fear and worry (which is just a byproduct of fear). We take our thoughts and focus them on good things as Philippians 4:8-9 instruct us, which by the way are all descriptive words of Jesus! Check it out!
In conclusion, if we put our trust in man we are cursed but if we put our trust in God we are blessed. We know him and hear his voice and we follow him keeping our focus on him and as we do, we believe and enter into the Sabbath rest of trusting in him. As a result fear and all its cronies are driven far from us!
People this is the only way we will survive what is to come! Sabbath rest is key and without it we are cursed and in disobedience to God. Sabbath is not some rule or regulation that God has put on us to be mean; it is not that we cannot mow the grass on Sunday or whatever ridiculous rule that may be imposed upon us by religion; it is the way of escape when the enemy rears his ugly head in our direction through uncontrollable circumstance!
Sabbath rest is every second of every minute of every day and Jesus died so that we could have it but we must remember that our strength is through him (Philippians 4:13). Lay the load down through prayer and petition with thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6) and enter in to peace and rest (Philippians 4:7)that is a fortress like we have never known!
October 15, 2009