2/13/2023 0 Comments
God's Living Object Lesson
The next focal point mapped out in God’s playbook comes from an unlikely source: Ur of the Chaldeans. Think “New Babylon,” for it developed out of the ancient city of Babylon, the principle city of the Mesopotamian and Babylonian empires (now southern Iraq). The cosmopolitan metropolis thrived along the trade routes of ancient times. Its own temple tower (ziggurat) to the moon god was a popular destination since the people worshipped many gods (polytheism). Temple prostitution was a common religious rite.
In the midst of this pagan environment, God Almighty reveals Himself to Abram. It’s safe to assume that since Abram recognized the call, he had continued to follow God as one of Shem’s five sons. Interestingly, the number five in Scripture symbolizes grace.
The true and living God called Abram to pack up and go from his country, family, and father’s house to “a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen. 12:1-3).
With the advantage of hindsight and God’s Word, we know that Abram took the step of faith. “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Heb. 11:8-10).
Even though we’ve only been on this journey together for a short time, hopefully you recognize that this call is part of God’s redemptive plan. Abram left what the world considered a great city. In faith he saw a far better one, for the earthly Jerusalem that would be established through his godly line would be but a shadow of the heavenly Jerusalem that would descend at the appointed time and complete the plan at the end of the ages.
You might ask how God could give the place to Abram as his inheritance. The Promised Land at that point in time is known as Canaan, after Ham’s son. Like their counterparts in Ur, Ham’s ungodly line worshipped other gods, including Baal. Both Leviticus and Deuteronomy describe the immoral culture of the Canaanites. It included sexual promiscuity of all kinds and perverse rituals associated with fertility cults, including child sacrifice. Such evil must be judged.
That’s the practical reason. We also need to recognize that “the earth is the Lord’s and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein” (Psalm 24:1). God gives it to whomever He wills.
So Abram set out with his nephew, Lot, who had become part of his household when Lot’s father passed away. We’ll skip over all their travels and various settlements. But to give you an idea of the spiritual and cultural state of the land of Canaan, think about Lot’s wife turning to a pillar of salt when they escaped Sodom and Gomorrah. Not a pretty picture, to say the least.
Despite their nomadic lifestyle, Abram and Lot are very prosperous. Eventually they have to part ways because of competition for food and water for their herds. Not long after Abram settles into his chosen territory, God appears to him again to affirm His covenant promises. That covenant becomes the focal point for the rest of the Old Testament because it establishes a new people group—the Hebrews.
Over time, Abram would come to understand the nature of this call. In effect, the Hebrews were to be a living object lesson of what it means to be chosen by God and what it looks like to be His people. They would be a theocracy, with God as the supreme ruler over the people, through His earthly representative.
The root word for “Hebrew” means to cross over through a narrow opening. It foreshadows what Jesus would say later: “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matt. 7:13-14).
The Chronos Lesson: Faith is believing before we see. It is the “currency” of Heaven. That is why acting in faith pleases God. Few of us are called to set out to a foreign land to start a new work with God. We are, however, called to believe His plan.
We know that timing is everything. For several decades now, we’ve heard that Jesus is coming soon. But how soon is soon? Some have set dates, only to be proven wrong when He did not come. Those premature dates were based on man-made assumptions that ignored at least one of the two crucial elements of God’s agenda—the predetermined times (chronos) and the corresponding signs (kairos). Both are needed to have the complete picture.
Not understanding God’s chronos times and kairos signs is why Paul had to warn the Church of his time that they should not be moved by scoffers. The warning rings true for us as well. We have to trust God’s plan as recorded in His Word.
Hebrews 6:1-2 lists the elementary doctrines of our faith. They’re equivalent to the spiritual ABC’s. Over the history of the Church, these essential doctrines have been lost and then restored at the appointed time. The last elementary doctrine—resurrection and judgment—concerns the end-times. Sadly, because of the confusion in the Church over the various man-made end-time views, many church leaders avoid or even outright ignore teaching this elementary doctrine.
That should set off a warning signal in your spirit. What we’ve seen so far of the beginning of God’s timetable will come to a climatic end with resurrection and judgment. But few believers know how and when that happens. That is why the Spirit is bringing fresh revelation and opening our eyes to the scriptural truths.
Just as in Noah’s time, God has given us time-specific prophecies so that we can see the Day approaching when we are gathered together with Christ and seated in the heavenly places to execute the rest of the plan (Heb. 10:25).
Needless to say, we’re on the precipice of a new Day and age (the age to come). Don’t you think God wants to make sure we understand our part in the plan? That’s why He is bringing new, timely light to His Word. Will we heed His call to take a journey through His Word by faith?
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