By the way, if you missed the any of the previous posts they can be found at: Time Out! Get Still, Get Quiet...Listen.
LESSON 6: Whatever You Desire the Most is Likely What God is Going to Ask You To Trust Him With the Most.
Genesis 15 begins:
After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.” Then the word of the Lord came to him:“This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness. He also said to him, “I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.” But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, how can I know that I will gain possession of it? So the Lord said to him, “Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.””
God then makes a promise to Abram (later renamed Abraham) and even goes so far as to go through the covenant ceremony with him. Now there is a ton in this chapter that we can learn from, but I am going to let you read the rest of it on your own if you want to dive in further. I will, however, explain the basics of the covenant ceremony. When two people would make a covenant or a business agreement, they would take animals, cut them in half (unless they were too small as was the case with the birds) and arrange the halves opposite one another to create a gruesome aisle. The two parties would walk down this path between the animal pieces as a way of saying "If I don't hold up my end of the promise, may what happened to these animals happen to me". It's kind of a big deal when something like this happened and God just entered into a covenant with Abram. Now when I went and read closely, I noticed for the first time just what God was entering a covenant about.
Abram and his wife were quite wealthy, were quite well known, and highly respected even among the kings of the region and even though they were sorta nomads, they had everything they needed for a good life in the wilderness. What they didn't have, however, was an heir; they didn't have a son. After reading Abram's whole story, considering where he was in life, what he had, what he valued, I would go ahead and speculate that what Abram and his wife wanted more than anything else was a son. They wanted a child more than anything else and I believe that Abram would have traded most anything they had for one. Have you ever been to that point? Have you ever gotten to the point where you prayed: "God, I would trade almost all these blessings you have given me for this one thing". I think Abram wanted a son THAT badly. But if you look closely, it says that when God told Abram that he would have a son "Abram believed The Lord and it was credited to him as righteousness" It wasn't the child that Abram asked God to confirm, it was the promise of the land that Abram asked God to confirm. The land mattered to Abram, sure, but probably not nearly as much as the child.
I am going to start speculating here, so take what I am about to say with a grain of salt. I think God loved the fact that Abram trusted Him with the thing that mattered most to him. Abram didn't ask God to prove to him that He would give him a son, He took God at His word. What if God offered the covenant ceremony to Abram because Abram trusted God with what mattered most to him. What if God gave Abram exactly what he asked for, what he wanted most, because Abram had faith that God would come through for him for his greatest desire.
More speculation here: God wants us to trust Him with what we want most because it'll be just that much harder to make an idol out of something that we are having to completely trust God for.
Next speculation: Why God was so willing to answer Abram's prayers:
"Abram believed the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness." Genesis 15:6
- "The Lord is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous." Proverbs 15:29
- "The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." James 5:16b
I'm just going to leave that one with just the verses and let you figure it out. As I've said before... you're smart so I'm sure you'll be able to pick up on it.
Okay, so do you still have that thing in your mind from earlier? That's okay, take a second to get it back. Think of that thing that you want more than anything else in the world, that thing that would be the biggest answer to prayer ever. Got it back? Good. Now, give it to God. Tell Him that you are trusting Him with it. Tell God that if it's going to happen it's because HE is going to make it happen. Now, let go. Let go and let God work on it. He'll give you exactly what He knows you need and when you trust Him, when you have faith. How can we know that God will hear your prayer? Remember the verses from just a minute ago? Add this one to the mix:
"This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe." Romans 3:22
We have been made righteous because Jesus made us righteous. Trust in Him for your eternity, but trust in Him for other things too. God wants you to trust Him. God wants to bless you, but He wants you to trust Him for those blessings. Go ahead and give it a shot but remember that God knows what's best, and He loves you very much.
-The Sailing Preacher