The Invisible Kingdom

“Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and Thy domination endureth throughout all generations.” Psalm 145:13

Dear Ones:

Jesus told us to, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.”  What does He mean by this?  First of all, let us address the meaning of the kingdom.  With regard to its nature, origin, and content, we come face to face with Christ’s words in declaring, “My kingdom is NOT of this world.”  In other words, though we might have some ideas of what the kingdom of God is, and how it functions, we always are at fault because we take our “knowledge” from that which we see  in this world, primarily the result of the ideas and works of sinful man…whose leaning is always away from God.  So, where do we begin?  We begin with the King Himself…Christ.

We know that one day Christ will return to this earth as “the Lord of lords, and the King of kings.”  The primary characteristic of the King is His authority.  In the case of the Lord Jesus, our consideration must go much further, for in that matter of authority there is revealed the power to BE the great and wonderful God that He is.  He reigns in order to give life and blessing.  He is not an evil despot, whose intent is to inflict harm and suffering on his subjects.  On the contrary, He has come to give Life, and this by the Spirit in abundance.  The whole of the Person of Christ is GOOD…there is nothing less than goodness in Him.  It is where His kingdom IS, where He reigns, that the blessings of His Life and salvation, are felt and known most powerfully.

Do we SEE the kingdom of God?  In Jesus’ day on this earth,  He made clear that the kingdom of God was a matter of the heart.  It was to be WITHIN, not just present in its influence around us.  It must be understood that this kingdom is like the wind, invisible.  Yet, where it is believed in, and submitted to, there is the powerful effect of its working…just like the blowing of the wind.  We might go so far as to say that where His kingdom IS, there is the increasing manifestation of His indestructible Life.  As His kingdom endureth forever, so does His indestructible Life.  This is Life Eternal, to KNOW this Life of Christ.  And we do so in an ever-increasing manner as we “…seek first His kingdom,” His reign…and all associated with that Life.  We in Christ (in that kingdom) and Christ in us as King and Lord..by the Spirit.

Dear Father, this day, though we do not SEE the kingdom, we see Thee…by faith.  Strengthen our hearts to submit fully to Your authority, and that of Thy Son to whom we belong.  Enable us to embrace all that is in Christ, in His kingdom, so that the effects will be known “on this earth, as it is in heaven,” and this for Your glory.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, Dad

The Warfare

“To every thing there is a season…a time of war, and a time of peace.” Ecclesiastes 3:1,8

Dear Ones:

There is a great hymn, written by Reginald Heber, which begins:  “The Son of God goes forth to war, a kingly crown to gain; His blood-red banner streams afar; Who follows in His train?”  Of what does He speak?  The day that the Lord Jesus was baptized, He, in a manner of speaking, reached down and picked up His sword.  What was that sword?  According to the Apostle Paul, it was the “sword of the Spirit, (which) IS the word of God.” (Eph. 6:17)  In Hebrews 4:12, we discover certain qualities of this “word of God.”  It IS living, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword.”   From the inception of the Lord Jesus’ ministry, He used this sword, cutting through the lies and deceit of the enemy.  He used that sword, “…mighty through God, to the pulling down of strong holds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God,  bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:4-5)  What does this mean?  It means that Christ went forth, armed with the truth of the word of God, in the power of the Spirit, to reach the minds and hearts of those to whom He ministered.  He knew that if the kingdom of God was to come into the hearts and minds of men, the truth of God would of necessity need to be proclaimed, and then received, in the power of the Spirit.

There are times in the Christian life where the Great Shepherd of our souls, leads us by quiet waters, in green pastures.  We know the peace of God in a most wonderful manner.  But in this life of following Christ, the Christian is also brought face to face with that which is NOT of God, and this in the form of lies and the deception of our enemy, with one purpose, to dishonor God, and destroy men.  Though the God of Peace is able to keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus in difficult circumstances, there is nonetheless the fact that we are in a struggle, a fight, a warfare to know, keep, and use well, the truth.  It is in that difficult time that the sword of the Spirit must be grasped, and used well and effectively, to overcome the opposition to the truth.  The quiet, penetrating work of the Spirit, by the word of God, must be believed in, and lived by.  To neglect taking up the sword, by NOT learning the truth and living by it, is to deny the “way” of God, by which His power is revealed, and His purposes achieved.

Dear Father, with the Lord Jesus as our example, and His resources made ours by faith in Thee, give us to grasp well this sword of the Spirit, Your word.  Strengthen our hearts to not only live by its truth, but to overcome by the Spirit, all that is in opposition to it.  Enable us to live in the blessed peace which You give us, but also, to grip tightly the sword of the Spirit, in order to stand, withstand, and overcome all opposition for Your glory.   In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, Dad

The Nearness Of God

“…Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8

Dear Ones:

What does it mean to draw near to God?  How do we draw near to God when He is omniscient, in every place?  One of the great values of the Old Testament is that it is filled with pictures.  On one occasion, after the Tabernacle in the wilderness had been placed outside of the camp of Israel, we see Moses going into it to meet with God.  Scripture tells us that “…the Lord talked with Moses…face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.” (Exodus 33:11)  Something else happened when Moses went into the Tabernacle. “…As Moses entered into the Tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the Tabernacle.” (v.9)  We see that this meeting with God was characterized by a simple, and yet, profound communion with God.  God speaks to Moses and Moses speaks to God…Moses being very aware of the proximity, and presence of God.  The second thing we note is that God reveals Himself in a very demonstrative, particular way.  The point is that He does so in a very recognizable way, that there is the certainty that He is there, hence the cloudy pillar at the entrance of the Tabernacle.  But, you might say, “I am not Moses, and there is no Tabernacle today, a “place of meeting” with God.  I believe that Scripture makes clear that the believer’s privilege, and responsibility, in approaching God, and meeting with Him, being met BY Him, is far more than the privilege of Moses.  Why, and on what basis, can we assert this?  Simply stated, since the work of Christ on the Cross was accomplished, the promises that have been realized “IN HEAVEN,” pertaining to the believer on earth, are greater, more extraordinary, and far reaching.

In Hebrews 4:16, we read:  “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of Grace…”  In Hebrews 10:19, 22, the author writes:  “Having therefore brethren, boldness to ENTER into the holiest by the blood of Jesus…let us DRAW NEAR with a true heart in full assurance of faith.”  We see here that our Tabernacle is the very throne room of heaven, where Christ IS, and where our audience with God exceeds that of what was known in the earthly Tabernacle, specifically in the Holy of Holies.  The call of God is for us to DRAW NEAR…to God and to His throne, with FULL assurance of faith.  Why, and how can this be?  It is because of one reason alone…Christ, His work and His intercession.  The believer is called upon to believe this, to act upon it, and to live in the light of it.  As in worship, the more we learn the truth of what our relationship is with God, His provision, and the blessings associated with Christ’s work, the more we will use His means of approaching Him, drawing near to Him.

Dear Father, Thou hast perfectly provided in Thy Son a way into Thy presence, in a very tangible and effective manner.  It is a way where Thy peace is known, and the consciousness and conviction of the heart is that we know that we an have audience with Thee.  Open our eyes by Thy Spirit to see and to grasp this eternally, established way into Thy presence.  And give us grace to come to Thee in “full assurance of faith,” living in the light and expectancy of fellowship with Thee.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, Dad

The Corresponding Vision

“…And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead.  And He laid his right hand upon me…” Revelation 1:17

Dear Ones:

We need to ask the question:  “Why does God throughout Scripture reveal Himself in different ways to different individuals?”  For example, to Moses He revealed Himself in a burning bush.  To Joshua He will revealed Himself as the “Man with the drawn sword.”  To John the Apostle, He reveals Himself as the glorified Christ, whose “head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire…out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and His countenance was like the sun shines in his strength.” (Rev. 1:15-16)  In every one of these examples it is evident that He reveals Himself, first of all, to seize the attention of the beholder.  But there is another very important reason.  He does so in order to evoke faith from the heart of the believer, who finds himself, or herself, in a specific context with a specific purpose.  The Lord’s objective is always the same, to see the believer “OVERCOME” all that would hinder him from doing the will of God, and glorifying God, and this, by the faith that He gives in response to the vision.

In the Swiss Alps there is a summit called “The Schilthorn.” As one makes his way to the top of this summit, primarily by cable car, one arrives at a look-out vantage point that is quite extraordinary.  As one looks over the crests of the summits of many of the alps,  snow covered, their majestic and magnificent beauty, are overwhelming to behold.  In one of the retaining walls at the summit, there has been embedded a plaque.  You look down at the plaque, and then look up and over the four or five foot high wall.  The plaque reads:  “Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgement is come; and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” (Rev. 14:7)  The vision of the Alps is overwhelmingly powerful and beautiful,  and when one reads what is written on this plaque, the real significance of the majestic sight is truly revealed.  We look upon that which we see with our naked eye…and are moved with amazement.  What about the silent presence of the One who made heaven, earth, the sea, and the fountains of waters?  The call of God, corresponding to the vision, is:  “Fear God, and give glory to Him: for the hour of His judgement is come; and worship Him…”  The vision is given to bring us to faith, that by our worship of our Maker and Redeemer, we can overcome in this life, reign in this life, to stand before Him one day clothed in His righteousness, His beauty, His completeness and holiness, for His glory.

Dear Father, open our eyes to see Thee according to that which is essential to our faith, that believing, and obeying, we too will overcome every obstacle to see, “….Thy name hallowed, Thy kingdom come, and Thy will done.”  Overwhelm us with the sight of Thee, so that everything else will take its proper place, and we shall truly honor and glorify Thee by believing Thee for the full outworking of Thy purposes in and through us, and others.  In Jesus’ name,  Amen.

Love, Dad

The Witness

“…Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people…” Isaiah 55:4

Dear Ones:

When the Spirit of God was poured out at Pentecost, in particular upon the disciples in the upper room, we find that “they were ALL filled with the Holy Spirit,” (Acts 2:4) and that, by the Spirit, were proclaiming “…the wonderful works of God.” (v.11)  In the Apostle John’s first epistle, he writes:  “…That which was from the beginning, which we have HEARD, which we have SEEN with our eyes, which we have LOOKED UPON, and our hands have HANDLED, of the Word of Life; for the Life was manifested and we have SEEN it, AND BEAR WITNESS…we declare unto you.” (1 John 1:1-3)  What is it to BE a witness, to bear witness?  It is to declare and proclaim Christ, and His work(s).  The Apostle Paul, in writing to the Corinthians, would declare that his preaching would consist of “the preaching of the cross,” and the preaching of “Christ crucified.” (1 Cor. 1:16,23)  What does he mean?  He is, in essence, doing exactly what the disciples did on the day of Pentecost, for they were declaring the “wonderful works of God,” by virtue of Christ’s redeeming work on the Cross.  But they were declaring Christ, not only crucified but living.  “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” (Acts 2:36)  This is a witness, declaring what one has seen and heard of Christ, proclaiming the testimony BY the Spirit.

What are the credentials of a true witness of Christ?  One of the great qualifications to being an Apostle of Christ was that, one had actually seen Him.  The true witness is one that has “seen” the Lord with the “eyes of your understanding, ” or rather perceive His glory (the reality, truth of His nature) by the Spirit.  How can this be, or be realized in our lives?  The Psalmist in Psalm 77:13 declares this:  “Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?”  In Psalm 63, we read:  “…my soul thirsts for thee…in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is, TO SEE Thy power and Thy glory, so as I have SEEN THEE in the sanctuary.”  What is the Holy Spirit seeking to communicate to us here?  It is that worship is the first thing…always!  The personal worship of God, by the Spirit and according to the truth of the word of God, is essential to being the witnesses that we are to be.  Why?  Because it is “in the sanctuary,” in worship, that we SEE God, we perceive and become convinced of His Person, attributes, the greatness and beauty of His Person.  It is there also that the wonder of Christ, and His work of redemption, will grip us.  When He is a reality to us, as He was to the disciples of old, we too will be the witnesses we should be, by the Spirit, declaring His wonderful works, and preaching the Person of Christ.

Dear Father, give us to see the necessity of putting worship first, so that our perception of Thee will be correct, and true.  Strengthen our hearts to lay hold of what You unveil to us of the greatness and wonder of Christ, anointing us by the Spirit, so that we shall have a word in season and out of season, for the needy heart.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, Dad

Hanameel’s Mission

“…So Hanameel mine uncle’s son came to me in the court of the prison, according to the word of the Lord.” Jeremiah 32:8

Dear Ones:

Most of us have not heard much about Hanameel in the Bible, and yet, there he is, mentioned in the book of Jeremiah.  He is mentioned at a very crucial time in the history of Judah, and specifically, Jerusalem.  Jeremiah is imprisoned in the King’s prison.  Judgement had been declared by the prophets of God, in response to Israel’s blatant and determined rejection of the rule of God.  Hanameel came on the scene in conformity to “the word of the Lord” given to Jeremiah.  Why?  Why would the visit of Hanameel to Jeremiah in prison be so significant?

If we were to take a “book” as an illustration, and begin by reading the introduction, we might say that Hanameel was that introduction.  What was he the introduction of?  In a word, it was HOPE.  It was not that Hanameel was the hope of Israel, but that he was an instrument, proved and confirmed to the heart of Jeremiah, that God was, even in the midst of judgement, proclaiming hope.  How?  Hanameel came to Jeremiah to ask him to buy a parcel of land in Anathoth, that belonged to his father.  Jeremiah was next in line to buy the piece of land, but why would someone want to buy a piece of land at a time such as this, when the city was being besieged by the Babylonians?  Jeremiah would purchase the land because, “…I knew that this was the word of the Lord.” (v.8)  The purchase of the land, the taking of the deed and preserving it in a jar, was a picture…of hope, that one day, according to the Lord, “…Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed AGAIN in this land.” (v.15)  So, by the hand of Hanameel, God is declaring that even in the midst of extremely adverse circumstances, where there seems to be NO hope, and NO future, there would come a day when sin would be completely forgiven, and the people would return to the land.  The blessing of God would AGAIN be seen in the land…because God, for whom nothing is too hard, promised it, and would accomplish it.

Dear Father, God of Israel, Jeremiah, and Hanameel…give us grace to see through the raging storm, the overcast sky, the apparently hopeless circumstance, that Thou art good, and art the God of new beginnings.  Give us to see something of Thy heart of mercy and grace, and what Thou dost desire to do for those who will truly trust in Thee.  Indeed, “…let none that trust in Him be desolate, or ashamed…” (Ps. 25:3, 34:22)  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, Dad

The Essence Of The Kingdom

“…For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.” 1 Corinthians 4:20

Dear Ones:

The Lord Jesus instructs us to “Seek FIRST the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)  Why?  Because the will of God is that His will be done on earth AS IT IS IN HEAVEN, and the consequent glory of God be revealed.  What does the phrase, “…the kingdom of God,” mean?  There are two defining points which give us understanding.  The first is the word “king,” found in the larger word kingdom.  Immediately we are confronted with authority, rule, a reigning monarch.  There is no one higher than the king, nor greater.  He has the first and final word in all things, because he possesses the greatest power and authority, knowledge and wisdom.  The second word of significance is “God.”  As soon as we say the word, our thoughts of the King and His reign are elevated.  Not only are we dealing with the elements of power and authority,  but that which is of heaven, of the Creator and Redeemer Himself.  The whole concept of the “kingdom of God” lifts us up into the eternal, the sovereign glory, power, and will of God.  What then are the characteristics of this kingdom?

We discover that the Apostle Paul makes it very clear that, foundational to every manifestation of the kingdom is the power of God, His authority.  It is that revelation of Christ’s everlasting strength, and consequent quickening of His children, that brings us to have faith, “…not… in the wisdom of men, but IN the power of God.” (1 Cor. 2:5)  Jesus would tell His disciples before He was taken into heaven, “All power (authority) is given unto Me in heaven and in earth…” (Matt. 28:18)  On the day of Pentecost, when the Spirit was poured out upon all flesh, specifically upon the disciples, the POWER of God was revealed.  The Lord had said unto the disciples, “…But you shall receive POWER, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you.” (Acts 1:8)  So then, we see that,  as His kingdom comes, there is the manifestation of His power.

There are other characteristics of this kingdom.  To the Romans, the Apostle Paul would write:  “…For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Rom. 14:17)  It is a normal, and certain result of Christ’s reign in the heart, that His righteousness, peace, and joy, should be increasingly revealed in the life of the believer.  Isaiah would write:  “…Of the INCREASE of His government (reign) and peace there shall be no end.” (Is. 9:7)  There is an old hymn which declares:  “…and as Thy kingdom doth increase, so shall Thine ever-deepening peace.”  Christ’s reign, His kingdom, and his power, righteousness, peace and joy, go hand in hand.

Dear Father, reign in our hearts today.  Lord Jesus, BE our great King, Sovereign Lord this day, so that Thy power, righteousness, joy and peace will be revealed in and through us on this earth.  Fill us with Thy Life Divine, that the world may know something of Thy great goodness, and the love of Thy saving heart.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, Dad

 

Christ’s Saving Life

“…we shall be saved by HIS life.” Romans 5:10

Dear Ones:

When the Lord Jesus spoke of denying self, it was in order to pave the way for understanding and embracing His saving ways.  Christ uses nothing of “self” to save us.  So then, where do we begin in our understanding so that we might KNOW His saving Life?

The Beginning is always the Person of Christ, and according to Isaiah (55), that means beginning with “His thoughts” and the knowledge of “His ways.”  Paul writes in his epistle to the Romans, that we are “…justified by faith.” (Romans 5:1)  God’s way has always been that of faith.  This is so because faith must come from outside of us to be acceptable to God.  It is thus, the “gift of God.”  It is a wonderful day when we realize that we are nothing and can do nothing, and that God is waiting to give us all in Christ.  But that “all” can only be received by faith.  So, we begin by faith…IN the Son of God, and BY the Son of God.

The next “way” of God is that of understanding that God will have nothing of the “flesh,” nothing of the sinful “self” dwelling in us.  Sinful self is worthy of only one thing, along with all of the manifestations of it, and that is, crucifixion, death, burial.  (Romans 6:6)  This brings us to the pitfall of thinking that, though we are justified by faith, we can live by trusting in something, or someone else, (usually ourselves), other than Christ for His victory.  We have only to read the sad commentary of Paul in Romans 7:24 to learn where this brings us:  “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”  This is certainly not the victorious life.

Lastly, and wonderfully, we come to the testimony of Paul who declares that he has understood GOD’s ways:  “I AM crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh (in this physical body), I live BY THE FAITH OF THE SON OF GOD, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20)  Paul embraces God’s ways by embracing the work of Christ on Calvary.  It is an act, followed by an attitude, of faith.  That great and wonderful work brings us now face to face with Christ as our LIFE.  “CHRIST lives in me.”  What wonderful words, declaring that the cross has delivered me from all that I would trust in, in order to embrace Christ, and Him alone as my Life.  HIS victorious Life then becomes my own…by faith.  This is how we shall live and KNOW the power of His resurrection in all places, at all times.

Dear Father, grant us grace to see clearly the simplicity and yet, profoundness of Thy Son’s work on Calvary.  Enable us by faith to enter into the reality that we have died with Christ, in order to live BY His life, and thus, for Him.  Strengthen us in the inner man, that He may DWELL in our hearts by faith today, and this, in an ever-increasing manner.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, Dad

 

Let My Hands Perform His Bidding

“…Shall the clay say to Him that fashioneth it, ‘What makest Thou?'” (Is. 45:9)

Dear Ones:

We have a grave tendency to be wrongly audacious.  This audaciousness is founded in the “thought” that God has NOT made us, and that His purposes cannot, and will not be realized in and through us.  Therefore, we, as the “clay,” lean to our own understanding, and “our own way,” setting our own goals.  We fail to grasp that, as the Psalmist declared:  “…I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are Thy works.” (Ps. 139:14)  In Psalm 100, we read:  “Know ye that the Lord He is God: it is He that hath made us, and NOT we ourselves.”  There comes with this knowledge the accompanying fact and certainty that His WILL not only pertains to us in creation, but in the realization of His purposes in and through us for His glory.

Before the Persian King Cyrus was born, Isaiah prophesied that the Lord would raise him up, declaring that:  “….He is my shepherd, and shall perform all My pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, ‘Thou shalt be built;’ and to the temple, ‘Thy foundation shall be laid.'” (Is. 44:28)  Here is a perfect example of “creation” in the mind and heart of God, of His purposes associated with that creation.  The point is that what He has created, He has ordained for a purpose.  The question then becomes, “How is the ‘clay’ to KNOW His purposes, and be brought into conformity with those purposes?

As in the case of Cyrus, we begin with the revealed will of God concerning WHO Cyrus IS, and what he will become.  “He IS My shepherd.”  We belong to Christ, having been purchased by His precious blood.  We then look at His promises…as there are some that are the same as those given to Cyrus:  “I have raised him up in righteousness…I will direct ALL His ways.” (v.13)  Not only are we called, and been given the promise of His guiding presence, but if we look in Psalm 46 and Psalm 121, we find that God is our very present help, the Help which made heaven and earth.  He is that One who is a living River, powerful and life-giving, our Keeper, the one who will guide our steps, and at the same time will, “….not suffer thy foot to be moved.” (Ps. 121:3)  In light of such revelation of our relationship to God, and His commitment to us, shall we not as the “clay,” respond by declaring:  “…Let my hands perform His bidding, let my feet run in His way?”

Dear Father, we are overwhelmed when we think of Thine eternity.  It is Thou who hast made us, and this, for Thy pleasure and purposes.  Bring us THIS day, in mind and heart, spirit, soul, and body, into conformity with Thy purposes.  Realize in us all Thy blessed will…giving us grace to run this race set before us, and this with Thy joy….for Thy glory.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, Dad

Three Imperatives

“…And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beer-sheba.” Genesis 21:14

Dear Ones:

It had to have been one of the most trying days in the life of Abraham.  Sarah, his wife, who had borne him no children, devised a plan by which her servant, Hagar, would be given to Abraham as a wife.  Hagar bore a son to Abraham whose name was Ishmael.  But there would come a day, after Ishmael was thirteen or fourteen years old, that Sarah would give birth to the promised seed, Isaac.  There had been a history of animosity between Hagar and Sarah.  When Ishmael was caught mocking Isaac, at a time of a great feast, marking the event of Isaac being weaned,  Sarah would declare to Abraham:  “Cast out this bond-woman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.” (21:10)  Scripture tells us that, “…the thing was VERY GRIEVOUS in Abraham’s sight because of his son..”  Abraham had become very attached to this son Ishmael, even though there existed the “rivalry” between Sarah and Hagar.  What was he to do?  And why did he choose to send Hagar and her son away, with apparently very little means of sustenance?  The answer is found in three imperatives.

The first imperative is:  The Lord told him to do it.  “…in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice.” (v.12)  Without a clear understanding of God’s word to his heart, how could Abraham ever send his son away like this?  The second imperative is:  Abraham is to take a stand of faith on the promise of God.  “And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed.” (v.13)  God does not tell Abraham how He is going to do this.  He calls upon Abraham to trust Him, and go forward.  Thus, he sends Hagar and Ishmael away…and in this case, into wilderness of Beer-sheba.  The third imperative has to do with Abraham’s own attitude of heart and mind:  Abraham is to take an eternal view of the situation, in order to be delivered from his own present, natural grief.  “And God said unto Abraham, ‘Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad…'” (v.12)  Why does God tell him this?  Because God is looking down the road to eternity, not only because of the seed of Abraham in Ishmael (…whom He will care for…), but also in Isaac.  It shall be in the lineage of Abraham, through Isaac,  that the Christ will be born, the Savior of the world.  All the nations of the world will be blessed in Abraham’s seed.   In the wisdom, goodness, and love of God, Abraham can rejoice…even out of the context of sorrow.   God WILL do that which is good, and not fail.

Dear Father, in the difficult moment, when our hearts may be torn by one circumstance or another, give us grace to hear Thy voice, and respond in faith.  Give us to take our stand upon Thy promises, and also, look down the road to eternity, believing that You only do the wonderful, good thing…indeed, that which is of highest good.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, Dad