Saturday, October 18

Name Change In The 90's

A picture of a lady who is Sarah's age at Ishmael's birth
Genesis 17
“And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.” Genesis 17:1

At the conclusion of Chapter 16; Abram, being eighty-six years old, is now the proud father of a son, Ishmael. And now, after thirteen-years of suffering God’s grieved silence, He appears before Abram at the ripe old age of ninety-nine.

Abram, having insulted God in Chapter 16; taking fathering matters into his own hands, God now forgives him and restores him back into fellowship and gives him a name change. “Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.” Genesis 17:5

In Eastern countries, a change of name is an advertisement of some new circumstance in the history, rank, or religion of the individual who bears it. The change is made variously, by the old name being entirely dropped for the new, or by conjoining the new with the old; or sometimes only a few letters are inserted, so that the altered form may express the difference in the owner's state or prospects. It is surprising how soon a new name is known and its import spread through the country. In dealing with Abram and Sarai, God was pleased to adapt His procedure to the ideas and customs of the country and age. Instead of Abram, "a high father," he was to be called Abraham, "father of a multitude of nations." And for Sarai, she now becomes Sarah – “A Mother of Nations.”

When I read Chapter 17, from Verse 2-8, I circled all the “I will’s” that were spoken by God. It caused me to reflect on something I had learned a decade ago. When I owned my company in Austalia, quite often I would attend “Wealth Mastery” conferences. The “Wealth,” referred to growing in character and business acumen. Unfortunately, these were not Bible based conferences, in actual fact, they are offered as a means of focusing on self, rather than on God – who gives the increase. At the time, I had my back turned away from God and my hooks into the world. Praise God, that by His mercy, I have been pulled out of that self-indulgent cycle.

During this particular course, I was taught the “Power of Positive Thinking.” As I went through the steps of Wealth Mastery, we were asked to keep a journal; each time I thought of something I desired, I would affirm to myself and the universe, by writing it down in a certain format. An affirmation must have words like, “I will, I have, I am now, because I have…” For instance, “I am now in possession of my new car, or, I have everything before me, and now I will make the necessary steps to obtain my car.” Do you see the difference between the affirming words and a sentence that does not create confidence; “I can, or I would like to be in possession of my new car; I would like to take the necessary steps to obtain all that I desire?” Do you see the difference? I have not created confidence, I have given rise to doubt.

In the first instance, through my positive affirmation; the “I will’s” of my mind produce an assurance that the promise of a new car is a done-deal. In the second instance, through my doubtful affirmation; the “I would” of my mind produce doubt, and the promise of a new car is dependant on everything else outside my control.

The purpose of introducing you to this exercise is to open your eyes to God’s eternal affirmations, or promises; He never changes His mind, He never withdraws His promise, and throughout Verses 2-8, He affirms all that He promised to Abram, multiple times – it’s a done-deal!

God affirms His love to us all the way through Scripture, so why would we ever doubt that? It’s all about trust isn’t it, and accepting his words as our assurance?

1. And I will make my covenant – Vs.2a
2. And will multiply thee exceedingly – 2b
3. And thou shalt be a father of many nations – Vs.4
4. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful – Vs.6a
5. And I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee – Vs.6b
6. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee – Vs.7
7. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger – Vs.8a
8. And I will be their God – Vs.8b

Eight affirmations – “I will” is used 6-times. God is definite in His purpose, and never wavering in the delivery of all that He affirms to us through His word. We must never forget His promises, and every time we have doubt about anything in our lives, it would be advantageous to our growth in the Christian life, to keep a journal filled with God’s affirmations. We can call our Journal, “Covenant Cues.” Don’t take your cues from the world; be fortified through God’s words of great promises. Satan is the one that plants the seeds of doubt in our minds – it’s always a mind thing!

And now, after God affirms His love and mercy to Abraham, He seals His word with a covenant.
At ninety-nine years of age, Abraham is circumcised. Genesis is a book of firsts. In the previous Chapters, we learn of the “First Tithe,” and now we learn of the “First Circumcision” in History. It was designed to impress on the mind the necessity of obeying God, not just outwardly, but in the heart; of serving Him who is a Spirit - in spirit and in truth.

So significant was this dual circumcision, that God has it recorded in Scripture; “In the selfsame day was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his son.” Chapter 17:26

Personal Observation
Universal Obedience: Abraham did not circumcise his family and excuse himself, but set them an example; this is a good example to the head of any house; we and our family, must serve the Lord.
Sincere obedience is not dilatory (slack); “I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments” Psalm 119:60. While the command is sounding in our ears, and the sense of duty is fresh, it is good to apply ourselves to it immediately; otherwise, we deceive ourselves by putting it off to a more convenient time.
Immediate obedience is the only true obedience. If it’s not immediate, it’s not obedience! We teach this daily to our son Caleb.

“Obedience is the very next thing to show that you believe…” (Patch the Pirate)

True and active faith, not only trusts the promises of God, but yields prompt, implicit, and hearty obedience to God's commands. It consequently shows itself by words, and by works is faith made perfect. What does God require that we should be to him? The covenant is mutual: “Walk before me, and be thou perfect” - that is, upright and sincere; for herein the covenant of grace is well-ordered to facilitate sincerity as our Gospel perfection.
“Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?" James 2:22

Abraham’s faith was a working faith wasn’t it? The element of works is essential to make it complete. Circumcision was a complete outward demonstration that Abraham believed God.

What do I outwardly demonstrate; to show my family, my friends, and the world – that I not just believe in God, but that I trust Him? Do I trust His promises regardless of the complexity of my trials, circumstances, or the unexplainable areas in my life that bring to the table of contents - a doubting attitude at times?

We came to America almost 4 years ago; I had no idea where we would be living, how we would survive on nothing, or where we would end up. There were no promises from anyone; that we would be comfortable, fed, protected, and provided for. My husband took a huge leap of faith leaving everything that represented “sameness,” peeling all the props from our lives that gave us stability (car, house, money, possessions, family, friends, church, career, security), and moved us to nowheresville – with nothing but $200US and a wife that WAS high maintainence.
We jumped! With His outstretched arms, God led us and continues to lead us every step of the way. Has it been easy? Far from! Would we have moved across the Atlantic Ocean, knowing what we would face? No! But that’s the crown He gave us;
  • The crown of glory IS giving Him all the glory for providing all our needs and more – from nothing.
  • The crown of glory IS in acknowledging that we have survived and continue to thrive supernaturally.
  • The crown of glory IS in knowing that He has never left us nor forsaken us.
  • The crown of glory IS in how our faith has grown, and how we love and trust Him more.
  • The crown of glory IS in how He continues to bring us forth from the fiery trials we face.
  • The crown of glory IS in God taking ahold of this perculiar Australian lady, and transforming her into His image day by day.

God is so wise isn’t He? He knows what is best for us, just as He knows the bigger picture. It’s all about Him!

When it gets tough (and it will), I always ask God to teach me the lesson, to remove the filters from my weakened eyes, and to show me His comfort, and love through it all. Good and bad, it's all from the hand of God - EVERYTHING IS FATHER FILTERED!

A continual regard to God's all-sufficiency will have a great influence upon our upright walking with him. And, when you reach a place in your walk with God, where He is more your sufficiency than your own self-sufficiency---it truly is a work of grace!

I Love You

1 comment:

Nancy M. said...

I am so thankful for His grace and His working through us! Only He knows the paths we are to take each step of the way. Good words.thank you for sharing.-nancy