By Faith, Jacob

‘Toy Story 3′ Shows the Power of Blessing Others’ Gifts

In the movie Toy Story 3, Andy, the owner of Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and other toys, is preparing to leave for college. At the end of the movie, he decides to give his toys to a young girl named Bonnie.

The scene starts with Andy entering the front gate of Bonnie’s home and showing her the box of toys. Andy tells her, “I’m Andy. Someone told me you’re really good with toys. These are mine, but I’m going away now, so I need someone really special to play with them.” Then as Andy proceeds to hand the toys to Bonnie, he introduces them by saying something special about each one.

He begins with his toy cowgirl Jessie: “This is Jessie—the roughest, toughest cowgirl in the whole West. She loves critters, but none more’n her best pal, Bullseye.”

Andy then hands Bonnie his toy Tyrannosaurus, Rex, “the meanest, most terrifying dinosaur who ever lived.”

For the Potato Heads, Andy says, “The Potato Heads—Mister and Missus. You gotta keep em together cause they’re madly in love.”

Slinky the Dog “is as loyal as any dog you could want.”

Andy blesses Hamm, the Pig, by saying, “He’ll keep your money safe, but he’s also one of the most dastardly villains of all time, Evil Dr. Pork Chop!”

Buzz Lightyear is “the coolest toy ever. Look, he can fly, and shoot lasers. He’s sworn to protect the galaxy from the evil Emperor Zurg!”

Finally, for his pal Woody, Andy says, “He’s been my pal as long as I can remember. He’s brave, like a cowboy should be. And kind, and smart. But the thing that makes Woody special? Is he’ll never give up on you—ever. He’ll be there for you, no matter what.”

Toy Story 3, Scene 33, “Goodbye Andy,” 1:28:55 to 1:32:05; Submitted by Derek Chin, Portland, Oregon

Today, we continue our walk through Hebrews 11 and we come to verse 20. For the next two weeks we will look at blessings. Today, we look at Isaac and his blessings of Jacob and Esau. This is an insightful passage and it is a passage that gave me more insights the longer I looked at it. I have read this passage again and again, but until now it never stood out to me how God’s sovereignty came through and how Isaac had faith.

As we look at these two passages we will see that

Isaac blessed his two sons in faith.

Isaac’s blessings are prophetic.

Application:

God is sovereign we can trust Him. This means that we can have faith in Him.

Read with me Heb. 11:20:

By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.

  1. Now, I must start by summarizing this event in the Old Testament.
    1. If you want to follow along, which I recommend you do, please turn to Genesis 27.
    2. It can be so very easy to get bogged down with the story line of how the blessing came about, but the reality is that in these blessings we see a great God. God was, and is over everything. God’s will came about. God had determined that the older will serve the younger (Gen. 25:23), and the blessings show that.
    3. We have four main characters in this narrative.
      1. We have Isaac and he is the dad. He is the son of Abraham and Sarah.
      2. We have Rebekah and she is the mother and Isaac’s wife.
  • We have the two sons and they are Esau, the oldest.
  1. And we have Jacob the youngest.
  1. We have some back story that you must be aware of:
    1. In Genesis 25:23 Rebekah is told that the older will serve the younger.
    2. In Genesis 25:25 we see the birth of the two
  • In Genesis 25:33-34 we see Esau very hungry so he sells his birthright to his brother. This meant that now his younger brother has the right to the first born blessing.
  1. In Genesis 25:28 we see that Esau was loved by Jacob because he had a taste for game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.
  2. In Genesis 26:34-35 we see that Esau took wives from foreign women and this made life bitter for Isaac and Rebekah.
  3. In Genesis 27 There is a major deceptive account of Jacob stealing the blessing from Esau. Now, Jacob has already paid for the blessing, but now he actually takes it. I guess Esau was not really going to give it to him. In reality, as I shared, Isaac should have known that the blessings of the firstborn belonged to Jacob, the younger God declared that, yet, Isaac was not obeying God. Do you see how God works? Do you see that God’s will comes about in the end?
  • Let me break down chapter 27:
    1. Verses 1-4: Isaac calls Esau and tells him to go hunt some game and they will eat and he will give him the blessing.
    2. Verses 5-17: Rebekah had overheard Isaac’s plan, but she loves Jacob more. So she has her own plan. Jacob is to take a few of the young goats and have them slaughtered and Rachel will prepare them. Jacob will go into his father, Isaac, and pretend to be Esau and steal the blessing. Isaac’s eyesight is failing so this should not be an issue. Jacob will wear Esau’s clothes and use goat skin to make him feel hairy like Esau.
    3. Verses 18-29: the plan works and Jacob is blessed.
    4. Verses 30-38: Esau returns and is upset that the blessing was stolen. Isaac and Esau are beyond upset. Esau gets the secondary blessing.
  • The blessings are prophetic:
  1. Verse 28: May God give you:
    1. Dew of Heaven
    2. Fatness of the earth
    3. Plenty of grain and wine

Verse 29:

  1. Let people’s serve you,
  2. And nations bow down to you
  3. Be Lord over your brother’s and may your mother’s sons bow down to
    1. à He should have never given this to Esau since he knew what God has said at the birth in Genesis 25:23
  4. Cursed be everyone who curses you and blessed be everyone who blesses you.
    1. This is from Genesis 12:3 given to Abraham.
  5. Esau:
    1. He will be away from the fatness of the earth and away from the dew.
      1. àThis is a contrast to Jacob.
    2. By your sword you shall live and you shall serve your brother.
      1. àIn contrast to Jacob.
    3. But when you grow restless you shall break his yoke from your neck.
  6. Everything in this chapter is a mess, but God’s will came through. His will was that Jacob was the chosen one.
  7. Some insight that Tim Keller gives:

Many years ago, when I first started reading the Book of Genesis, it was very upsetting to me. Here are all these spiritual heroes—Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph—and look at how they treat women. They engage in polygamy, and they buy and sell their wives. It was awful to read their stories at times. But then I read Robert Alter’s The Art of Biblical Narrative. Alter is a Jewish scholar at Berkeley whose expertise is ancient Jewish literature. In his book he says there are two institutions present in the Book of Genesis that were universal in ancient cultures: polygamy and primogeniture. Polygamy said a husband could have multiple wives, and primogeniture said the oldest son got everything—all the power, all the money. In other words, the oldest son basically ruled over everyone else in the family. Alter points out that when you read the Book of Genesis, you’ll see two things. First of all, in every generation polygamy wreaks havoc. Having multiple wives is an absolute disaster—socially, culturally, spiritually, emotionally, psychologically, and relationally. Second, when it comes to primogeniture, in every generation God favors the younger son over the older. He favors Abel, not Cain; Isaac, not Ishmael; Jacob, not Esau. Alter says that you begin to realize what the Book of Genesis is doing—it is subverting, not supporting, those ancient institutions at every turn.

When I read Alter’s book, I then reread the Book of Genesis and loved it. And then it hit me: What if when I was younger, I had abandoned my trust in the Bible because of these accounts in Genesis? What if I had drop-kicked the Bible and the Christian faith, missing out on a personal relationship with Christ—all because I couldn’t understand the behavior of the patriarchs? The lesson is simple: Be patient with the text. Consider the possibility that it might not be teaching what you think it’s teaching.

Tim Keller, in the sermon “Literalism” (available on PreachingToday.com on 5-17-10)

  1. Did you notice God’s sovereignty in these events?
    1. Some of you need to read this and be encouraged.
      1. Be encouraged that God’s will always comes about.
      2. Be encouraged that you are never too far gone for God to use you. God wants to use and will use you if you give Him the chance.
  • You may think I am afraid that I will mess up what God is doing, listen: NO YOU WON’T.
  1. Look God worked in all of this mess and He wants to work in your life.
  1. Some of you have been refusing to let God work in your life. You need to read this, repent and turn to God.
    1. I am not saying that you are or are not a Christian. I am saying that you are running from God.
    2. Listen, God’s will will come about We see this in this chapter. God works in messy situations. You will not thwart God’s plan. However, you ought to be a part of God’s plan.
  • Quit running from God. Quit telling God no. Let God, in His sovereign plan use you. Look, He will He absolutely will, use you anyways. So, are you going to go along willingly or begrudgingly.
  • Apply the faith of Isaac to your life.
    1. How was Isaac faithful? Let me get back to this. Isaac was faithful in that he trusted God to fulfill His promises.
    2. These promises come from the Abrahamic Covenant. The original promise of the Abrahamic Covenant began in Genesis 12:1-3 and then in Genesis 13:14-18 and then 15:18-21 and then 17:6. These promises had to do with blessing the descendants to be as numerous as the stars in the sky. Isaac trusted God in the blessing.
    3. Do we trust God’s promises?
    4. God’s promises are found in His Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17), do we trust them?
    5. Do we trust the promise of the Gospel: 2 Cor. 5:17 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ,the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
    6. 2 Cor. 5:21: 21 God made him who had no sinto be sin[b] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Close:

Trust God’s Word which contains His promises, Isaac did. In trusting we have faith.

Don’t run from God and don’t think you are too far Gone. God is working through you and wants to. You will not thwart God’s plan.

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray

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By Faith, Abraham

I heard a good illustration from Chuck Swindoll:

My older brother, Orville, was never a wealthy man, but he was wonderfully generous with what he had. He never held back from the Lord . . . and that is still true! It was this overabundance of faith that led him to be a missionary for more than thirty years in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Just before that, he had done some short-term mission work in Mexico and had come north to gather his wife, Erma Jean, and the kids for the long trip down into the far reaches of South America.

Before leaving, they stopped off for a quick visit with our parents in Houston. Now, you have to appreciate the kind of man my father was. Look up the word responsible in the dictionary, and his picture is there! To him, risks are for those who fail to plan. Responsible people leave nothing to chance. As far as he was concerned, faith is something you exercise when your three backup plans fall through and you have run out of all other options. My father was a believer, but he never understood the life of faith. Not really.

My brother, on the other hand, was stimulated by faith. He has lived his entire adult life on the raw edge of faith. To him, life doesn’t get exciting until God, and God alone, can get us through some specific challenge. That drove our dad nuts!

Orville pulled up to the house in an old Chevy sedan on four of the slickest tires I had ever seen. My father always inspected tires when we came to visit. I wondered how long it would take for him to say something. I’m sure Orville did too. Not very is the answer.

After a great supper of good ol’ collard greens and corn bread, onions and red beans, my mother and sister went into the kitchen, leaving my father at one end of the table, Orville at the other, and me sitting on one side. Then it started.

“Son, how much money do you have for your long trip?”

“Oh, Dad, don’t worry about it. We’re gonna be fine.”

Before he could change the subject, my father pressed the issue, “Answer me! How much money do you have in your wallet?”

Orville smiled and shrugged as he said, “I don’t have any in my wallet.”

I sat silent, watching this verbal tennis match.

“Nothing in your wallet? How much money do you have? You’re gettin’ ready to go down to South America! How much money you got?”

With that, my brother smiled, dug into his pocket, pulled out a quarter, set it on its edge on his end of the table, then gave it a careful thump. It slowly rolled past me all the way to my father’s end of the table and fell into his hand. Dad said, “A quarter? That is all you’ve got?”

Orville broke into an even bigger smile and said, “Yeah. Isn’t that exciting!”

That was not the word my father had in mind. After a heavy sigh and a very brief pause, Dad shook his head and said, “Orville, I just don’t understand you.”

My brother grew more serious. Looking Dad in the eyes, he answered without blinking, “No, Dad, you never have.”

I don’t know how he actually made the trip to their destination . . . or how he and Erma Jean took care of all their little kids, but they never went hungry. And they served in Buenos Aires and traveled to other parts of the world for more than three decades. My father was a man who emerged through the Great Depression, lived in fear of poverty his whole life, seldom took a risk, and never experienced the joy of trusting God that made my brother smile so big that day.

Taken from Charles R. Swindoll, “Ragged-Edge Faith and Reckless Generosity,” Insights (May 2007): 1-2. Copyright © 2007, Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide

That faith, that Swindoll’s brother, Orville, had, that is the faith that Abraham had. Abraham is for sure the father of our faith.

We are here because of Abraham. Our Christian heritage does go back to Abraham.

Abraham was blessed to be a blessing. He followed God in faith, not knowing where he was going but he was blessed and he blessed the world.

I want to turn to Hebrews 11:8-10 in order to talk about Abraham’s faith.

Today’s challenge:

Abraham had faith following God unknowing where God was leading him. So, let’s follow Abraham’s example, having faith in God with our future.

Remember that God is in control. Everyone say:

God is in control—repeat with me.

Ps 89:13

Your arm is endued with power;

your hand is strong, your right hand exalted.

(from New International Version)

Read with me Hebrews 11:8-10:

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.  By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

Now, let’s read Genesis 12:1-3:

 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

“I will make you into a great nation,
    and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
    and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
    and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
    will be blessed through you.”

 

  1. First, we see the pilgrimage of faith, this is separation from the world.
    1. This has to do with Abraham’s willingness to follow the Lord. He was willing to follow the Lord in uncharted territory.
    2. Let me set the context.
    3. In Genesis chapter 1-2 things are generated. Then there is the fall. So, we have chapter 3-11 and these chapters are about degeneration. Things are getting bad. The world is going to hell. God destroys the world with the flood. Now, beginning in chapter 12 we have the regeneration.
    4. God will begin to regenerate the world through the line of Abraham.
    5. Abraham lived in Ur.
    6. He then goes to Haran before getting to the area of the promised land.
    7. Of course if you read the rest of Genesis he travels around quite a bit.
    8. Interesting: there is a historian from time of Herod mentions a king of Damascus named Abrahames.
    9. Abrahames was an “immigrant who arrived with an army from the land above Babylon called the land of the Chaldeans. But after a short time he left this country also with his people and took up residence in the land which was called Canaan”
    10. Abram is connected to Damascus through his heir, Eliezer (Gen 15:2-3)
    11. By the way: “Ur is well known as an important center in the land of Sumer; it reached its zenith under the kings of the third dynasty of Ur, who around 2060- 1950 B.C. [Abram was born ca. 2166 B.C.] revived for the last time the ancient cultural traditions of the Sumerians. The names of several of Abram’s relatives are also the names of known cities: . . . Terah . . . Nahor . . . Serug . . . Haran . . . and Laban the Aramean, Jacob’s father-in-law, was from the city Haran in Paddan-aram. All these are places around the river Balih in northern Mesopotamia. Haran and Nahor are often mentioned in the Mari documents of the eighteenth century B.C., and cities named Tell-terah and Serug are known from later Assyrian sources.” “In the ruins of Ur at about this time [2070-2060 B.C.] there are some twenty houses per acre. Assuming six to ten persons per house, there were 120 to 200 people per acre, the average figure of 160 being exactly the same as the population density of modern Damascus [in 1959]. Ur covered 150 acres, and it may therefore be estimated that the population was approximately 24,000 inhabitants.” “If Abraham did come from Mesopotamia sometime in the early second millennium B.C., it is necessary to revise the picture sometimes painted of him as a primitive nomad accustomed only to open spaces of the desert, and to recognize that at least to some extent he must have been the heir of a complex and age-old civilization.” “The movement between Ur and Haran becomes easy to understand when we recall that Ur was the greatest commercial capital that the world had yet seen . . . .”
    12. By the way, we must understand that Abraham had comfortable living in Ur. It was a commercial center. It was advanced. I heard Billy Graham’s daughter say that there was ventilation.
    13. All this and Abraham trusted God.
    14. So, think about it: you are, let’s say, seventy-five years old and you hear from God. I don’t know how God spoke to Abraham but He did. Imagine that God speaks to you.
    15. God says, I want you to go to Malaysia to serve on the mission field. It may make no sense to you. You are comfortable here. God just tells you to go.
    16. Or, suppose that all of your family are close by. Your children live close your grandchildren live close, but God calls your son or daughter to Malaysia. This means that they are going overseas and so are your grandchildren. They are going to be missionaries.
    17. Suppose that God calls your family to Iran or Egypt, or Iraq as a missionary. You see, this is what is going on for Abraham.
    18. I bet there are many family and friends that he never, NEVER saw or talked to again.
    19. No letters, no email, no Skype, no phone.

The problems Abram’s faith encountered were these.

  1. Sarai was barren and incapable of producing an heir (11:30).
  2. Abram had to leave the Promised Land, which God had told him he would inherit (12:10).
  3. Abram’s life was in danger in Egypt (12:11-20).
  4. Abram’s nephew (heir?), Lot, strove with him over the land (ch. 13).
  5. Abram entered a war and could have died (14:1-16).
  6. Abram’s life was in danger from retaliation in the Promised Land (15:1).
  7. God ruled Eliezer out as Abram’s heir (15:2-3).
  8. Hagar, pregnant with Abram’s son (heir?), departed (16:6).
  9. Abimelech threatened Sarai’s reputation and child (heir?) in Gerar (ch. 20).
  10. Abram had two heirs (21:8-11).
  11. God commanded Abram to slay his heir (ch. 22).
  12. Abram could not find a proper wife for his heir (24:5).

Faith: yes, Abraham obeyed. Will you? Will I? I’ll come back to that.

Repeat after me: God is in control.

Ps 89:13

Your arm is endued with power;

your hand is strong, your right hand exalted.

(from New International Version)

  1. Then we see the patience of faith—the ability to wait and endure without ever entering into possession of the promised land.
    1. Abraham got to the promised land, but really never owned it. We do read in Genesis 25 that Abraham had bought some land. But he did not get to see Israel take possession of it
    2. Abraham did not get to see but two sons
    3. Abraham never saw the nation that his descendants would become.
    4. God’s promise to Abraham, which he waited on:
    5. There are seven elements in this promise—seven suggesting fullness and completeness (cf. 2:2-3). (1) God promised to create a great nation through Abram. (2) He promised to bless Abram. (3) Abram’s name would live on after his lifetime. (4) He was (commanded) to be a blessing to others. (5) God would bless those who blessed Abram. (6) And God would curse those who cursed Abram. (7) All the families of the earth would be blessed through Abram and his descendants.
  2. Perseverance of faith: the positivity of faith, the focus on heaven that causes us to have a certain indifference to things in this life because we’re looking to that glory to come
    1. Repeat after me. God is in control. God is in control.
    2. Consider that Abraham was looking towards a city that God would design.
    3. We are looking to the city of God.
    4. We are looking towards the New Jerusalem.
    5. We are looking towards a time when God makes all things new and right. (Rev. 21)
    6. Now, some two thousand years after Abraham: The Hebrews writer referred to “Abraham” 10 times in total; his example is especially helpful for those tempted to abandon faith in God. Only two other books mention him more: Luke (15 times) and John (11 times).
  1. How do we apply this?
    1. I must be willing to trust God to lead me to uncharted territory as Abraham was willing.
    2. I must be willing to sacrifice, income, time, talent, location to serve the Lord.
    3. I must be willing to move for the Lord.
    4. I must be willing to change occupations for the Lord.
    5. I must be willing to prayerfully consider mission trips, local or foreign. This may be uncharted territory.
    6. I must be willing to serve somewhere new in the community: hospice, nursing home ministry, Men’s Challenge.
    7. I must be willing to talk to someone about Jesus. This is uncharted territory in many ways.
    8. I must be willing to step out.
    9. I must be willing to trust God with my future. I must trust God with the unknown.

Close:

The Undiscovered Country clip (maybe)

The clip from them eating talking with the Klingons, or clip from where Kirk addresses the assemble stating that people are afraid of the future.

 

The future can be scary can’t it? I think the future can be very scary.

When I was in high school I had many friends who were called into the mission field. Several of them are serving overseas now. I did not want called to missions. I was trying to be sensitive to the Lord’s will but I was not interested. But now, I realize I am called to missions as well. In like manner, I must trust God as Abraham did. I like comfort zones, but I must trust God.

Repeat after me: God is in control, God is in control.

Ps 89:13

Your arm is endued with power;

your hand is strong, your right hand exalted.

(from New International Version)

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray

Today’s sermon: By Faith, Sarah

Introduction:

First let me wish every mother a happy Mother’s Day. We can never fully understand the impact of a mother. In actuality I read:

An article in Forbes asks, “Think you can put a price on motherhood?” A yearly survey by Salary.com called the annual Mom Salary Survey attempts to put a salary on the work of American mothers. First, they broke down motherly duties into the following ten categories: Day Care Center Teacher, CEO, Psychologist, Cook, Housekeeper, Laundry Machine Operator, Computer Operator, Facilities Manager, Janitor, and Van Driver. Then they studied how many hours moms work in those categories and what the family would have to pay for outsourcing that duty. According to the 2012 survey, they determined the following:

  • The average stay-at-home mom should make an annual salary of $112,962 (based on a 40-hour per week base pay plus 54.7 hours a week of overtime);
  • The average working mom should make an annual salary (just for her “mom” role) of $66,969 (based on 40-hours of mothering duties and 17.9 overtime hours per week).

The article concludes, “The breadth of Mom’s responsibilities is beyond what most workers could ever experience day-to-day. Imagine if you had to attract and retain a candidate to fill this role?”[1]

Of course, we really did not need an article to state that did we? We know that a mother’s work is never done. I remember thinking back to my mother and how she was always, always doing something. Then she also has such a caring heart. If I was sick or in need her heart would break for me. To this day, she calls up checking on the girls and she works at a childcare center. My grandmother stayed with us and my mother was eager to care for her.

My dad was abused as a child. His brothers and sisters ran away from home. My dad moved out at sixteen years of age. Years later, my dad was thirty-nine and his mother moved in with us when she had a hip replacement. His father had died when my dad was about thirty-one. My grandmother recovered from the hip replacement but during that time we had grown close with her. So, she would stay with us often. One time, my parents were out for an evening and during that time my younger brother did something to which he needed punishment. My dad came home and found out and gave my younger brother a spanking. I look out on the back porch and see my grandmother with tears in her eyes. Amazing! Mothers, grandmothers they care. God has given them this love.

I want to talk about Sarah today. Sarah was Abraham’s wife and the mother if Ishmael and Isaac. But later she became the mother of nations. She became the mother of Christianity. Hebrews 11:10-12 tells us that because of her great faith she became the mother of nations. She is listed in the hall of faith.

My emphasis today is:

The influence of a mother’s faith: Sarah bore a son through a barren womb and influenced a nation and all nations.

The application is trusting God with our children. God has great faithfulness.

A mother’s love is amazing.

Have faith in God to watch over you and your children as Sarah did.

You never know what God will do through your children and grandchildren.

Let’s read Hebrews 11:11-12:

11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

Now, let’s read Genesis 18:9-15:

“Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him.

“There, in the tent,” he said.

10 Then one of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.”

Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him.11 Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. 12 So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?”

13 Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ 14 Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”

15 Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.”

But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.”

  1. We all must trust God with our children and grandchildren as Sarah did.
    1. You and I may read this and it appears that Sarah did not trust God with her womb. Sarah had already been told that she will be a mother. In this passage there are two angels and God talking with Abraham. We find this out in verses 1-9. If you go back to Genesis 12 we read that Abraham was to be the father of nations. Sarah trusted God but did not know how this was to happen. It was in Genesis 17:17 that we find out this was to happen through her womb. Sarah, being 90 years old was to have a child.
    2. Reading this passage we see that Sarah laughed. Actually, Abraham laughed as well in Genesis 17:17. They laughed in doubt. It was not doubt that they would be the parents of nations, it was doubt that the child would come through her.
    3. But we can look ahead and see that Sarah’s child was born in Genesis 21:2 and he was named Isaac which means “Laughter.”
    4. This was somewhere around 2000 B.C., then when Hebrews was penned some 2000 years later, Sarah is remembered for her faith.
    5. She trusted God.
    6. I do not want to talk about trusting God that you are going to have a child at 90 years old. If any of you are close to that age and God has revealed that to you, by all means, trust Him. I’ll pray for you. I know what it is like to have a toddler in the house and the joys overcompensate the demands, but they will keep you young. I have heard that it is more fun to skip your own children and go straight to grandchildren. You can then have all the joys, yet send them home at the end of the day. My own Mercedes and Abigail love it when their grandparents come over. Yet, I must worry, for they are a handful. Turn your back on Abigail and she is gone. She is only 17 months. Mercedes, watch out she can scale the counters and get into anything. She can open her own vitamins. We have to watch everything lest the kids get into them. We were at a restaurant and Abigail was walking round and simply turned over a bucket of cleaning water. She turns over the dog water at home and must have thought it was the same thing. She is inquisitive and it is cute but it drives us crazy. You know how many cups of coffee have been split because of her inquisitiveness? Stop by, we would love to have you for dinner, but bring a change of clothes.
    7. I imagine Sarah at 90 years old and Abraham at 100 years old chasing a toddler around. Then, Abraham would have been 116 years old teaching him to drive a camel so that he could get his temporary driving permit. Sarah would have been staying up late at the age of 106 years old while Isaac is out with friends. I wonder if he had a curfew. Really, I look forward to the days when my children are out for a few hours without my supervision, but I do not look forward to the worrying. I worry with them at home.
    8. Of course, they say that your children grow up quick. I do see that happening. I heard of one mother who had 4 children. She was talking and said that people would say they grow up quick and she would think, “I smell like spit-up.” Then she said, “But when I saw my daughter walk out of her room at 17 years old with her keys…” She knew that to be true.
    9. I wonder if Sarah thought that way? He was 37 years old when she died. I wonder if she had days where she told him, “Just wait till your father gets home.” I heard of George H. W. Bush getting a phone call from Barbara when the kids were young. Barbara told him that one of the boys hit the baseball through a certain neighbor’s second story window. His reaction, “What a hit!” I wonder if Abraham had conversations like that from Sarah.
    10. Sarah had watched everyone else raise children and now it was her turn. The Bible says in verse 14: “Is anything too difficult for the Lord.”
    11. How are we doing with trusting the Lord? How are we doing with trusting the Lord with our children on day-to-day bases. How about even after they are grown.
    12. I was 19 years old and my parents were taking me to college. I was going some 8 hours away to Georgia. We were at a restaurant when my mother retreated to the restroom, I think to cry because for the first time she was dropping off her son hours away from home for a long time.
    13. I wonder if Sarah had moments like that. I wonder if she had moments in which she had to let go.
    14. You see, on a mother’s day I can talk about a mother’s love. I mention that with the example of my mother and grandmother. However, I think it is a mother’s love that compels them to care so well for their children.
    15. In that manner, we are best to remember that God’s faithfulness is unending and we must trust Him, who can do all things, with our children.
    16. Meagan and I tear up with the thought of walking my daughter down the aisle on a wedding day. But that is the common station in life which we will face.
    17. I honestly don’t know how parents deal with real struggles of sickness, hardship and even the loss of a child. The only thing that I can say is Sarah had great faith and so must we for God has great faithfulness.
      1. Some Scripture:
      2. Psalm 89:1-2 (and the rest of the Psalm) are about God’s faithfulness.
  • Psalm 91:1-4 compare God’s faithfulness to an eagle sheltering us under His Wings.
  1. Psalm 100:5 are about God’s faithfulness.
  2. Psalm 108:4: God’s faithfulness reaches to the skies.
  3. Psalm 143:1: O LORD, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief. (from New International Version)
  1. For those of you have been through those trials my prayers are with you and I know that I can be educated by you.
  2. The other thought about trusting God’s faithfulness with our children is that we never know what God is going to do. We don’t know who are children will end up to be, do you? We can try to rear them and pray for them and we must, but we do not know. But Sarah was told that she would be the mother of nations. We must trust God with our children’s future and our grandchildren’s future.
  1. How do we have faith? How do we trust God?
    1. Pray and talk to God.
    2. Go to the Bible and read the Scripture passages on faithfulness.
    3. Talk with a small group or prayer partner, or myself. Talk with a Christian counselor.
    4. Those of you that have been through tough circumstances with children, you can teach me and I would love to hear your testimony.
    5. Those going through tough times, I would welcome to listen and pray with you.
    6. I can recommend some books.

Close:

A mother’s love is amazing.

Have faith in God to watch over you and your children as Sarah did.

You never know what God will do through your children and grandchildren.

I talked about my grandmother, my father’s mother, with tears in her eyes when my brother was punished. A few years later she went into the hospital. She had a quadruple heart bypass. They said the risk of clot was high, especially early on. She made it through those days, but then they had to put in a pacemaker. Then, after about two weeks she was ready to come home. She was coming home to stay with us. It was a Friday night and we were getting her room ready. We were setting up the hospital bed, etc. We were looking forward to grandma staying with us. Then, my parents received a call from the hospital and they rushed to the hospital. My grandmother was walking with a nurse talking about how she was eager to see her cat again when she had a blood clot. It had been some two weeks, but it happened. The doctor’s worked on her for some time, but then she died.

The next day, my dad was driving me to work and he said, “I don’t know if you noticed but my mother’s death has been hard on me.” He continued, “My dad beat me as a child, but over the last few years with my mother living with us I can tell that she regretted that.” This was the only time I saw my dad choke up with tears in his eyes. The only time. The influence of a mother.

In Genesis 23:1 we read that Sarah died at the age of 127 years. I would imagine that Isaac and Ishmael both wept at the death of Sarah.

However, because of Sarah we have Hebrews 11:12:

And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

She became the mother of nations. She had faith that God would fulfill the promise and He did. She had faith in God’s promise and became the mother of Christianity as Jesus came through her descendants.

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray

[1] Sources: Jenna Goudreau, “Why Stay-At-Home Moms Should Earn a $115,000 Salary,” Forbes (5-2-11); Salary.com, “Salary.com’s 12th Annual Mom Salary Survey,” (last accessed on April 24, 2013)

By Faith Enoch

The story is told of a Sunday school teacher who wanted to explain to the 6-year-olds in his class what someone had to do in order to go to heaven. In an attempt to discover what kids already believed about the subject, he asked a few questions.

“If I sold my house and my car, had a big garage sale, and gave all my money to the church,” he asked, “would that get me to heaven?”

“No!” the children answered. The teacher was encouraged.

“If I cleaned the church every day, mowed the yard, and kept everything neat and tidy, would that get me to heaven?”

Again the answer was, “No!”

“Well then,” he said, “If I was kind to animals and gave candy to all the children and loved my wife, would that get me into heaven?”

Again they all shouted, “No!”

“Well then,” the teacher asked, looking out over his class, “how can I get to heaven?”

A boy in the back row stood up and shouted, “You gotta be dead!”[1]

That is what we usually believe isn’t it? We usually think we die and then we go to Heaven, except for Enoch (Genesis 5:22-24) and Elijah (2 Kings 2:1-12). These two men went straight to Heaven. This is quite fascinating. Let’s look into Enoch. Before we read the text let me give you the theme and application:

Theme:

Enoch walked with God.

Application:

Walk with God.

That is my simple challenge for the day. I challenge you to learn from Enoch and walk with God.

Let’s start by reading Hebrews 11:5-6:

By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.” For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

 

Now, let’s turn to Genesis 5:22-4:

After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23 Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years. 24 Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.

  1. First, let’s talk about who Enoch was? Or, I guess I could say “is” because he never really died.
    1. One Sunday School instructor was determined to repeat “And Enoch was not, for God took him” until even the dullest student would understand it. On a review Sunday he asked the class to state exactly what was said of Enoch. One answer came back, “Enoch was not what God took him for.” —Pastor’s Manual[2]
    2. This is an account that I could skip over too quickly and maybe you have as well. Think about it. God just took him! That is cool isn’t it? Don’t ever miss these amazing events in the Bible.
    3. Remember this is the fifth chapter of Genesis, we are really early on.
    4. Enoch was a descendant of the godly line of Seth.
    5. There was also an ungodly line of Cain.
    6. He was the seventh generation from Adam. (Jude 14 says)
    7. The 1 Chronicles 1 and Luke 3 have the same genealogy. This is important because as we compare when we see that they correspond it validates the Bible.
    8. By the way, these genealogies are important because they become the genealogy of Christ Jesus.
    9. This was also a time when the people were living really long. By the way, (Other ancient Near Eastern texts attribute even longer lives to earlier generations; e.g., the Sumerian King List mentions kings who reign—interestingly, before a flood—for periods of 28,800, 36,000, and 43,200 years.)
    10. I want to say that I think the other dates are inflated in order to make the kings seems greater. I do believe the Biblical number are accurate. I don’t think they dated differently or not by that much. I think the world was different before the flood.
    11. We also learn from this genealogy that people lived to be nearly a thousand years old. And so there wasn’t a lot of death, which meant that the population increased at an amazingly rapid rate. This genealogy is also here, not only to show us the time involved – to show us the expansion of population – but it is here to show us the reign of death. Eight times in this chapter you will read, “and he died; and he died; and he died.” This is the reign of death. This is the judgment of sin.
    12. Enoch’s son Methuselah was the oldest man who ever lived.
    13. Jude 14 lists Enoch as one who prophesied. This comes from an apocryphal book which says that he called out wickedness. He said, “The Lord is coming and He’s coming with many thousands of His holy ones and He’s going to execute judgment and it’s going to fall on all the ungodly with all their ungodly deeds done in an ungodly way and all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” He was a judgment preacher.
  1. Second, let’s talk about “walking” with God.
    1. To walk with God meant to have a relationship with God. This meant fellowship and communion which led to Divine Favor.
    2. It did not mean that he never sinned but that the pattern of his life was in relationship with God.
    3. In a sermon on “Enoch walked with God,” Dr. Campbell Morgan gave the following illustration: A little child gave a most exquisite explanation of walking with God. She went home from Sunday School, and the mother said, “Tell me what you learned at school.” And she said: “Don’t you know, Mother, one day they went for an extra long walk, and they walked on and on, until God said to Enoch, “You are a long way from home; you had better just come in and stay.” And he went.” —Current Anecdotes[3]
    4. We can walk with God today because of Jesus.
    5. Turn to 2 Cor. 5:17 and 21:
    6. Verse 17: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
    7. Verse 21: God made him who had no sinto be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
  • Let’s apply this. I made these personal to me. You may have other applications.
    1. The Bible often describes the Christian life as a walking. Walking is natural.
    2. What will it take for me to walk, or continue walking, with God?
  • Enoch walked with God. I will try my best to walk with God.
  1. It seems that walk means a relationship with God or pleasing God. I must aim to please God. I must aim to be in communion with God.
    1. The Bible knowledge Commentary calls walk the Biblical expression for fellowship and obedience that results in Divine Favor. I have fellowship with God because of the Holy Spirit. I will praise Him for that sweet fellowship.
    2. I have reconciliation with God because of the cross. I will walk with Him.
    3. The response is Romans 12:1-2
    4. Enoch did not have to run with God. The life he lived is considered a walk. This is natural. This is not something out of the ordinary. I will understand that the Christian life is walking with God as God created me to walk He created me to walk with Him.
  2. Enoch walked with God for 365 years as the Scriptures say, he stuck with it. I will live my life walking with God, all my life. I will finish strong.
    1. There are no excuses in my latter years for weakening my faith, lusting after younger women, giving up on God, etc. I must finish with God.
    2. I hear of older men getting into pornography now, I will fight the battle of lust all my life.
  3. Enoch prophesied according to Jude 14: he called out the Truth. I will also speak the Truth.
  • Hebrews 11:6: we cannot please God without faith. I will have faith as Enoch had faith.
    1. I will hold true to the promises in the Bible.
    2. I will hold the Bible in reverence.
    3. I will trust the Gospel.
    4. I will seek God’s conviction and follow Him.

Close:

So, Enoch walked with God and God honored that and took him, where are you at in your Christian journey?

Micah 6:8:

He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray

[1] Andy Stanley, How Good Is Good Enough? (Multnomah, 2003), p. 8; submitted by Gino Grunberg, Gig Harbor, Washington

[2] Paul Lee Tan, Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times (Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc., 1996), 523.

[3] Paul Lee Tan, Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times (Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc., 1996), 1570.