The Promised Land
As Christians, we all know too well that God can call us out of our comfort zones and into challenging circumstances. As Pastor Steven explained to us on Sunday, God called Abraham out of his homeland in Ur and promised to give him and his descendants their own land. Before receiving this calling from God, we can imagine Abraham living a prosperous life in the land of Ur. After all, Ur was an incredible intellectual city and a center for commerce and religion. Why would Abraham leave this city to go out into the middle of nowhere, as God commanded Him to do? Would you be willing to abandon something you cherish if God called you to do so?
The reason why Abraham left the city of Ur and followed God’s calling was because God made a promise to him and he believed God would keep his promise. In other words, Abraham left Ur because he had faith that led to obedience. As Hebrews 11:8 puts it, “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.” Because God had made a promise to him, Abraham was willing to leave everything behind and enter into a season of waiting for God’s promises to be fulfilled. Have you ever had to trust in and wait on God? What was that experience like?
As we continue onward in this Advent season, we are reminded that God’s people in the Old Testament lived in a season of waiting. They waited for the promises of God to be fulfilled and for the Messiah to come. Praise be to God, the Messiah, Jesus Christ, did come just as God promised. And now, as Christians living after Christ’s first coming, we live by faith knowing that Christ will come again as He promised us (John 14:2-3). As Christians, we believe in a God who has fulfilled his promises and continues to fulfill His promises. Like Abraham, we now longingly and expectantly wait for the promises of God to be fulfilled, knowing that they will be fulfilled because God is completely trustworthy. Are you living by faith as Abraham did, trusting that God will fulfill His promises to us?
Father, we do not deserve the blessings and promises that You’ve provided for us.
Due to our sinfulness, we deserve judgment and punishment. So we praise You for being merciful and gracious toward us. Thank you for sending Your promised messiah, Jesus Christ, to save and redeem us. And thank you, Christ, for promising to come again to make all things new. As we wait for Your promises to us to be fulfilled, just as Abraham also waited, we ask that You will help us to trust in You and to live by a faith that leads to obedience. Lord, be with us during this Advent season and remind us of the peace and hope that is found in You and Your promises.
"Come Thou Long Expected Jesus"
Red Mountain Music
The Promised Son
In Genesis 12-17 we find the story of God’s covenant with Abraham, the promise that of a son. God promised Abraham that from him, God would make a great nation by which all the people of the earth would be blessed. The problem was that Abraham was very old and his wife was barren. Abraham became impatient and discouraged and unbelief made his way into his heart. He asked God, “What will you give me, for if I continue childless… a member of my household will be my heir.” Much like Abraham, we find ourselves at times impatient and tired. Finances are becoming to difficult to manage, sickness abounds more than wellness and many more worldly sufferings that we so desperately want to be rid of. Do you find your self struggling with unbelief as Abraham did in Genesis 12? Listen to the words of our Lord, “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be great."
Eventually Abraham was given a son and named him Issac. Finally the long awaited son had arrived! However, In Genesis 22 the story takes an interesting turn when God instructs Abraham to carry his son up a mountain and sacrifice him. As they are walking up the mountain, Issac notices they have everything they need except a actual sacrifice. Here we see the faith of Abraham when he says, “God will provide for himself the lamb.” Just as Abraham is about to sacrifice his son, a voice from heaven sounds, “Stop!” and Abraham looked and saw a ram caught in the thicket. God provided a substitute because he would not go back on his promise to Abraham. While Issac was the son given to Abraham there was another son coming to die on the alter as the Lamb provided by God. What is God asking you to do that seems impossible? Do you believe he will be faithful to his promise?
During Advent we look forward to the reward promised to us by God. As Abraham awaited a son we await the return of the Son. Advent is a time to remember that Christ is coming back and our time of suffering is coming to a close. Much like Abraham waiting for the birth of his son Issac, it often seems like this glorious day will never arrive. Hear the words of Acts 1:11, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into Heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into Heaven, will come in the same way you saw him go…” Jesus is coming back as the promised Son of God. Will you hope in his return this advent season? Abraham trusted God for what he did not yet have and what he could not yet see. At this moment you see the sufferings of life. Find hope is in what you cannot yet see. Find hope in the coming of the Son and of the King!
Father we confess our unbelief. Sometimes we struggle to trust your faithfulness. We ask that you grant us strength to be patient and wait on you and in our weakness, give us strength to trust you. We thank you for giving us your son Jesus as a substitute for us. In our suffering we ask that you remind us that Jesus is coming back for us and will one day wipe every tear from our eyes. May we find hope is him.
"Sovereign Over Us"
The Promised Blessing
Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-12
Today simply focus on the two questions that Pastor Steven closed his sermon with. Really use these as an opportunity to examine your heart. Ask for the Spirit to convict you of sin, where you fall short, to encourage you in the hope of Christ. Discuss these questions as a family. If you're a single person, discuss these questions with your DNA group this week.
1) Am I living by faith in light of the hope I have in Christ?
2) Am I enjoying the hope of God as if I already possess all things in Christ now by faith?
Father we praise you for your goodness and your faithfulness to your promises. As we think about the promises you made to Abraham, we are so thankful that Christ, we are a part of the family that you promised to Abraham. We, who were once far away from you have been brought close. As we continue to celebrate Advent, we ask that you would help us to live out of the hope we have in Jesus.
"A Son Of God"
Redeemer Presbyterian Worship