Jesus' Footprints

Posts Tagged ‘Jacob

Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away – 1 Corinthians 13:8

god_is_with_you__by_1illustratinglady-d4wedzmGod’s love never fails.  You can always count on it to see you through any trials or tribulations.  When Joseph was falsely accused of attempted rape and thrown into jail. God was with him.  He granted Joseph favor with the chief jailer.  Not long after Joseph was put in charge of all the other prisoners and everything that concerned the prison.  The Lord was with him, making everything run smoothly and successfully.

Leah was married to Jacob but he loved her younger sister, Rachel and because Leah was unloved, God allowed her to have children while Rachel was barren.  Leah named her firstborn son, Reuben because “The Lord has surely looked on my affliction. Now therefore, my husband will love me” (Genesis 29:31, 32).

God’s love is unfailing .  It is what sustains us when we are hurting, wronged or disappointed.  It is what brings us hope in the midst of despair and joy during sad times.  We will always have God’s love.  It is everlasting.

 

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“Trust in God at all times, my people” – Psalm 62:8

Several people in the Bible faced obstacles—seemingly impossible situations and we see that nothing or no obstacle is impossible or too great for God to handle. David faced Goliath with only a slingshot and did the impossible because he had faith and trust in God. “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” (1 Samuel 17:37). He believed that God would protect him, give him victory. Jesus was able to feed 5000 people, heal the sick and preach the gospel despite the plots to kill Him and the daily persecution he faced.

The parting of the Red Sea to escape the Egyptian army, manna from Heaven, water from the rock in the desert, Gideon’s army of 300 men against an impossibly large Midianite army, Joseph who was left to die in the pit, Daniel in the lion’s den (Daniel 6:21), Peter in prison (Acts 12:11), Paul who was arrested, beaten, faced trials but continued to spread the gospel without hindrance (Acts 28:30). All these people trusted in God and they did things that brought glory to God.

When David faced Goliath, he acknowledged that it was God’s battle that he was there in God’s name. The whole world would know that he was there in God’s name. The whole world would know that there was a God in Israel through that victory over Goliath. David was giving God the credit for what the outcome would be (1 Samuel 17:45-47). Jesus gave thanks before he distributed the bread and fish to the 5000 people. God hardened Pharaoh’s heart so that he and his army would pursue the Israelites. God told Moses what to do and why. (Exodus 14:15-18) Moses trusted God and he urged the others to do the same. He realised that God would not bring them that far just to have them killed or recaptured. God wanted both the Israelites and the Egyptians to see His power. He wanted to gain His glory through this amazing act (The parting of the Red Sea).

When the people saw the great power of the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, they feared the Lord and put their trust in him and Moses His servant. (Exodus 14:31) God was with Joseph and he prospered in Egypt. Joseph’s story is a perfect example of “all things work together for good to those who love God”. (Romans 8:28) His brothers meant him harm out of jealousy but God had a plan for him, which ultimately led Jacob to go to Egypt where He made him a great nation. It was time for Jacob and his descendants to leave Canaan and go to a new land.

Daniel trusted in God and believed that no harm would come to him when he was in the lion’s den. When he was lifted out, no wound was found on him. He testified to God’s glory and as a result the king wrote a decree that everyone in his kingdom must fear and revere God. (Daniel 6:25-27) Paul realised that in spite of all the obstacles all the hardships, pain, suffering, and persecution he had to endure that, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13). He trusted God and glorified him by continuing to teach the gospel despite these adversities.

I once got an e-mail with a sentence that will encourage anyone facing adversity. It simply says, “If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.”

“For he remembered his holy promise, [and] Abraham his servant” – Psalm 105:42

God had promised Abraham that he would have a son and the numbers of stars would be how large his generation would be. Abraham could claim this promise. This promise of a son met Abraham’s need. He would have an heir. It was in submission to God’s will that he had a son from whom God’s people would be created. It would honour God because from Abraham would come the generation that Jesus would be born of. Jesus is a descendant of David who was a descendant of Abraham’s. (Matthew 1:17)

This promise did not contradict God’s word. He promised Abraham that He would make him a great nation and that He would bless him and make his name great. Abraham’s spiritual growth as well as Sarah’s increased as a result of God keeping His promise. God’s blessing here was intentional. He wanted to create a nation that He would establish a covenant with and be their God. From this nation will come kings like David, Israel’s greatest king. God promised that members of David’s family would rule a kingdom that lasts forever. (2 Samuel 7:1-16, Psalm 132:11-12) Jesus was born from the family of David. He is the “Son of David” who will rule God’s kingdom forever. (Luke 1:31-33, Acts 2:22-36 and Romans 1:1-4)

We are all descendants of Abraham who believe in Jesus (Galatians 3:29). God fulfilled His promise to Abraham. Through Moses, He brought the Israelites out of Egypt and to the land, which He swore to give to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as their heritage. He remembered His covenant with the three patriarchs. (Exodus 6:8). As Solomon pointed out, God kept all His promises. He never went back on His word or failed to fulfil any of them. (1 Kings 8:56)

When God makes a promise, it is our responsibility to trust that He will fulfil it when the timing is right. We have to have faith in His ability to fulfil His promises and keep our focus on Him. We should never turn away from Him because we are tired of waiting for Him to bless us. Abraham and Sarah were well advanced in age when they had Isaac. David’s faith in God never wavered—not even when he was suffering or when he lost his sons. God promised him that he would give him an offspring who would build a temple for Him and whose throne would be established forever. Shortly after their son died, Bathsheba gave birth to Solomon whom God loved. (2 Samuel 12:24)

The Bible gives us a definition of what faith is. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). This describes the kind of faith the centurion had.

Jesus was in Capernaum when news of His presence there reached a centurion whose beloved servant was sick to the point of dying. At first the centurion sent elders of the Jews to Jesus, pleading with Him to come and heal his servant. The centurion was well liked and respected among the Jewish community because he for he loved their nation and built a synagogue for them. He was deserving of this favor.

Jesus went with them but He was not far from the house when the centurion sent his friends to Jesus with this message: “Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof. Therefore I did not even think myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.

His faith was such that he hoped that Jesus would heal his servant so he sent word to Him but then he believed that Jesus did not have to be physically there to heal. All He had to do was say the word and the servant was healed. His faith was so strong that Jesus Himself was impressed. In fact He marveled at the man’s faith and He turned to the crowd and said to them, “I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!”

Those who were sent to speak to Jesus returned to the house and found the sick servant well. Perhaps they believed in Jesus from that moment.

Not only was the centurion’s faith remarkable but he was a model in humility. He said “Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof. Therefore I did not even think myself worthy to come to You.”He did not think he was good enough to go in person to see Jesus or have Jesus come to him. He is like John the Baptist who did not feel that he was worthy to even loose the straps on Jesus’ sandals. He is like the tax collector who could not lift his head as he prayed to God because he did not feel worthy.

What is remarkable about this story is that the centurion who was a part of the group who oppressed the Jewish people sparking their hatred. The centurion was a Gentile whom the Jews considered to be unclean yet he displayed the kind of faith that they should have had in the One who came as “a light to [bring] revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel” (Luke 2:32).

The centurion’s genuine faith put the religious leaders to shame. Their faith was dead because it was stagnant–dead, did not prove itself by works, did produce humility and dependence on God. They were proud, self-righteous, unbelieving and rigorous in their observance of the law yet they failed to see God’s acts of mercy in the miraculous healings of His Son. The centurion heard about Jesus and believed whereas the religious leaders saw the blind healed, the lame walk and the mute speak and other signs yet they did not believe.

In Matthew’s account, Jesus said to the crowd, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 8:10-12). The Jews felt that their heritage guaranteed them entry into heaven but Jesus said that they are the ones who will be thrown out into the dark.

We must not make the same mistake as the Jews and assume that because we are Christians we are saved. When someone asked Jesus, “Lord, are there few who are saved?” And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’ then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’ But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’ There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out. They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God” (Luke 13:23-29).

Like the centurion we must “seek the LORD while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near” (Isaiah 55:6). And our faith should be such that we trust in the word of Jesus which has the power to heal and change lives.



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