Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Friday, 23 January 2022:
Genesis 21:1 — “The Lord did to Sarah as he had promised.”
The Lord always keeps His promises. As His ambassadors on earth, we must model His character by always keeping our promises.
“Ever since God promised the woman’s seed would crush the serpent in Genesis 3:15, we have been sitting on the edge of our seats waiting for this child to appear. At first we suspect that Cain is this offspring, but his murder of Abel makes it clear he is not the one (4:1–16). Next we hope blameless Noah will vanquish Satan (6:9). Although he is important in the Lord’s plan of redemption, Noah is soon disqualified as the promised son (9:21). When the narrative shifts focus to Abraham, we expect the Lord to keep His word. But the suspense only intensifies. The patriarch jeopardizes his family (12:10–20), fathers a son who will not be his heir (chap. 16), and then finally risks having Sarah mothering a son with a man other than himself (chap. 20). It is as if Moses wants us to join Abraham and ask: “Lord, are you ever going to keep your promise?”
Genesis is not only artfully crafted literature, it also reports actual history and confirms the faithfulness of the God of creation. In today’s passage there is finally a break in the tension when we read that the Lord, after years and years of waiting, “visited” Sarah and did as promised (21:1). To make sure we do not miss the point of this sentence, Moses tells us Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in their old age (v. 2). The Almighty has done the impossible; the elderly patriarch and his barren wife, who in themselves had no hope of having a son of their own, birth the one who will inherit the promise and pass it on to Abraham’s greatest Son (Matt. 1:1–17). This momentous event proves, as John Calvin says, that God “never feeds men with empty promises, nor is he less true in granting what he has promised, than he is liberal, and willing, in making the promise.”
Though it has been many years since the patriarch first met Yahweh, the Lord’s salvation now begins to bear real and everlasting fruit in Abraham’s life. As we wait on God to complete His good work in us today (Phil. 1:6), we too may have to endure what may seem like an eternity before He acts. But as Matthew Henry comments, “though [the Lord’s] promised mercies come not at the time we set, they will certainly come at the time he sets, and that is the best time.”
Our God is trustworthy, and He will surely fulfill all of His promises even if we may have to wait for the resurrection to see His kingdom in all its fullness. Our Father is faithful today to work in you and cleanse you of sin and to supply you with everything you need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). Know that like He did with Abraham and Sarah, God will come through for you and will complete the good work He has begun in you (Phil. 1:6). (Ligonier Ministries Devotionals)
Genesis 21:12-13 – God also has plans for people you may dislike. Jesus commands us to love our enemies, and this means we must hope for the very best for them and pray that God would bless them as abundantly as He has blessed us, with the greatest blessing being Himself.
Genesis 21:23 — “Now therefore swear to me here by God that you will not deal falsely with me or with my descendants or with my posterity.”
Abraham’s trustworthiness came from his relationship with God. Abimelech called upon Abraham’s faith in God as the foundation of their relationship of trust. If someone doesn’t ground their integrity on fidelity to God, their integrity will always be in doubt because soon or later, self-interest will take priority over self-sacrifice. Ultimately, the unbeliever makes themselves ‘god’ at some point.
Check out this video commentary on Psalm 8 — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_-xvaK4wIw
Listen to what Dr. Vernon McGee said about Psalm 8 and the requirement to have the faith of a little child — https://www.blueletterbible.org/audio_video/popPlayer.cfm?id=5464&rel=mcgee_j_vernon/Psa
Psalm 8:1 — Psalm 8 starts like the Lord’s Prayer, acknowledging the Majesty of God. Without the right perspective of God, even our prayers are misguided. All sin starts with seeing God wrongly. All wisdom starts with seeing God rightly.
Psalm 8:4 — “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?”
After seeing God correctly, the second key to life is having the right perspective of ourselves in relationship to Him, totally undeserving of His mercy and grace, but loved by Him unconditionally, so much what while we were still sinners, He gave us His Son to die on a cross and pay for our sins that we would have eternal life in Him. Are you Amazed by Grace?
Again, here are some words from Dr. J. Vernon McGee — https://www.blueletterbible.org/audio_video/popPlayer.cfm?id=5465&rel=mcgee_j_vernon/Psa
Psalm 8:9 — “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”
Never cease to praise the Lord! How great is His Name!
Proverbs 23:4 – “Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist.”
Do not place your hope and trust in wealth and so neglect your relationship with God. If you cannot find time to study the Bible, pray, fellowship with your church, raise your family as disciples, minister to the needs of others, etc, because you are working so hard, you are doing something wrong.
In response to a person’s complaint about not having enough time in the day to do all that needed to be done, the old pastor responded, “You have just enough time in the day to peaceably do exactly what God wants you to do.” We wear ourselves out chasing so many things that God never intended for us, all in pursuit of building our own little kingdoms rather than seeking the Kingdom of God. We make our lives so complicated and stressful. It is so easy to get caught up in the “worries of the world.” Pray for discernment to know what not to do. Pray for the faith to be still and wait on the Lord. Fight the temptation to become harried in pursuit of self-interest.
There is such a thing as too much. Wealth building can be a substitute for faith, not trusting God to provide for your future. Also we have likely all heard the adage, “Possessions possess you.” Jesus walked with virtually nothing and told us to pray “Give us this day our daily bread.” It is not sinful to maintain provisions for the future, in fact, it is Biblical; however, trying to build your own kingdom on earth and your own security can be idolatry and can destroy you. Use your resources for Kingdom work, advancing the Gospel and resourcing acts of love. Acquiring excessive wealth may be evidence that a person has failed to meet God’s commandments of love and has failed to understand their God-given mission in life:
- Luke 12:13:21 — And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) — 23 Jan 22: Today, trust in the Lord’s promises with the faith of a little child, and give and forgive freely, trusting in God’s provision for you, resting in His love. Don’t add needless burdens and sorrows to the blessings God has given you:
- Matthew 11:28-30 — Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
- Proverbs 10:22 — The blessing of the LORD makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.