Let’s take it back to the Sunday School days….
Noah and The Ark – Genesis 6:1-9:17
God saw how great wickedness had become and decided to wipe mankind from the face of the earth. Because He can totally do that. BUT there was one righteous man among ALL the people, Noah. Noah found favor in God’s eyes. With very specific instructions, God told Noah to build an ark for him and his family in preparation for a flood that would destroy every living thing on earth. I can’t even imagine what Noah was thinking at this point. God also instructed Noah to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, both male and female. Noah obeyed everything God commanded him to do. I’m trying to put myself in Noah’s shoes. This would all just sound too crazy.
After they entered the ark, rain fell on the earth for forty days and nights. The waters flooded the earth and every living thing was wiped out. Obedience only leads to good – a joyful and peaceful heart. As the waters came down, the ark came to rest. Noah and his family continued to wait while the surface of the earth dried out. Finally, God invited Noah to come out of the ark. Immediately, he built an altar and worshiped the Lord. Noah’s faithfulness is impressive and admirable, to say the least. God was pleased and made a covenant with Noah. Yay for rainbows! His promises are real!
The Sacrifice of Isaac – Genesis 22:1-19
The sacrifice of Isaac put Abraham‘s faith to test; a trial which he passed completely because of his total faith in God. God told Abraham, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” (Genesis 22:2) Abraham obeyed and took Isaac on the long journey. When they arrived, Isaac asked his father where the lamb was for the sacrifice, and Abraham answered that the Lord would provide the lamb. Saddened and confused, Abraham bound Isaac with ropes and placed him on the stone altar. I do already know the ending of this story, but FOR REAL ABRAHAM?! There’s no way…
Just as Abraham raised the knife, the angel of the Lord called out to Abraham to stop. The angel said he knew that Abraham feared the Lord because of his obedience to give his son as a sacrifice. When Abraham looked up, he saw a ram caught in a thicket by its thorns. He sacrificed the animal, provided by God. The Lord will Provide – Jehovah Jireh. He always provides. Then the angel of Lord said, “By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son, blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” (Genesis 22:16-18) Father Abraham is a boss.
David and Goliath – 1 Samuel 17
It was the Philistines against the Israelites. A Philistine giant over nine feet tall scared all of the Israelites. For forty days he came out in full armor, challenging and mocking the Israelites. This dude was Goliath. “I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.” (1 Samuel 17:10) He was ready to take on an Israelite – anyone they wanted to choose.
One day, David, a young boy at the time, was sent to the battle lines by his father to bring back news of his brothers. While there, David heard Goliath shouting his daily defiance and he saw how fearful everyone was of this giant. David responded; “For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (1 Samuel 17:26) David went on with confidence and said to King Saul, “Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them…” (1 Samuel 17:36) I don’t know about y’all, but that made me LOL. David had no doubts; he knew what he could do. Finally, Saul agreed to let David fight against the giant. Dressed without any armor, carrying his staff, a slingshot and a pouch with five smooth stones, David approached Goliath. At this point, I would be crying… The giant cursed at him and threatened him. Of course, again with all confidence, David said to the giant, “This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you…Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands.” (1 Samuel 17:46-47) As Goliath moved in for the kill, David reached into his bag and slung one of his stones at Goliath’s head. The stone sank into the giant’s forehead and he fell face down on the ground. David won. It was the Lord’s battle, and the Lord led the Israelites to victory. I mean after Noah and Abraham, I’m really not surprised at all at how God worked everything out to bless His people.
If you’re still reading at this point, thank you! You are probably wondering why I took us back to the good ol’ Old Testament times. So I’ll get to the point. First of all, Noah, Abraham and David are remarkable. They had one thing in common – faith. It’s clear that they believed Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Secondly, they were all called to do very different things. They were all called to obey the Lord. Don’t think we are any different. We are all called to do very different things. We are all called to obey the Lord. If you haven’t realized this by now, their awe-some God is our same, awesome God. That may sound silly, and you may be thinking, “well, no duh.” But really, the way we live, we don’t really believe that. We don’t believe that our God is the God who makes the impossible, possible. We don’t believe that God would choose us to build an ark, or ask us to sacrifice our only child or even slay a giant.
How amazing is it to know that we can have a story like the stories in the Bible? Just wait, you’ll see. Follow Him; put down the pen, stop writing your own story. Jesus Christ has written your story. The first chapter started with Him dying on the cross for your sins. The second chapter went on by describing how you died to your old self and put on the “new man.” Then, the third chapter…I’m excited just thinking about it. You may not know what’s in this chapter. But be confident, like David. Know that with our God on our side and leading us, nothing can hold us back from fulfilling His calling for our life.
Let’s say your story hasn’t started yet. You know who Jesus Christ is and you know what He’s offered you, but you’re having a hard time accepting it. Right now, talk to Him. He’s listening. Seek Him; He will make Himself completely known to you. Jesus has offered salvation to you; you are the only one who can choose to accept it.
If you’ve gotten through the first chapter, but you’ve closed the book during the second chapter, I urge you to pick the book back up. This is God’s perfect story for you. Understand that it is necessary to let go of who you want to be. Let go of who the world is telling you to be. If you believe who Jesus Christ is and why He came, you can no longer live in sin. It’s not possible. So now, keep reading the second chapter. Watch Him completely transform your life. Take sin seriously. Yes, His grace abounds. But Jesus and sin don’t go together. And now that Jesus lives in you, sin does not. Live each day intentionally, making wise decisions, letting Him lead you. Be careful; if you’ve put on the new man, don’t start taking your sweater off because you’re getting hot. As soon as you let up a little, you’ve opened a doorway for sin to enter. Soon you’ll see that you’ll be in the third chapter. And once you’re in the third chapter you’re going to think, “Is this real life?!” If you want to laugh, please click here.
In the midst of your story, take a second to think about how real Christian life is. It’s not just a religion or a thing we do on Sunday’s. It’s life, the opposite of death. Knowing Christ is life. The same Spirit that dwelt in Noah, Abraham and David dwells in you and me too. Believe it.
Today I know that I am alive with Christ. He lives in me, and He’s already written my story. I’m in the process of reading it now, but I already know the ending. Just not everything in between. The ending is so sweet. It’s the perfect end to the greatest Love story. It’s going to be Jesus and me together. As each day goes by and the more I read, the more I get to know Him; so, looking forward to the last chapter brings me joy. I get to spend an eternity with my Savior, Father and Friend. As I continue to read, I see that my story is turning out to be comparable to a Bible story. No I haven’t killed a mean giant or hung out with animals in an ark, but YES, I am experiencing God’s power. YES, I am experiencing what obedience leads to. And YES, I am experiencing what it means to die to myself daily, wait on the Lord and hope for the best. I see that the Lord is expecting a lot from me; He’s expecting all of me. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Through it all, I praise His name! I praise Him for His Word. I praise Him for giving us understanding that the story He has written for us is the best story possible. It can’t even compare to anything I would ever write for myself. Look forward to the last chapter with me, y’all, and give Him all the glory!
“But I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more.”