Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hello, Leviticus!

Reading through the chronological Bible has been interesting, informative, convicting and inspiring. Genesis and Exodus are loaded with great stories with masterful plots and tense drama. They move along quickly and I can imagine myself in a different time and place. They are what epic movies, with eloquent movie stars, are able to capture on the silver screen. Genesis has universal appeal. It's about the human race and the universe, so it interests us. In Exodus, although it zooms down on one nation, Israel, we can easily observe the relevance, as God rescues His people from savage oppression. Leviticus, however, the view gets narrower, as the focus is on one tribe out of the entire nation. This view is why so many get stuck while reading the book of Leviticus. Not to mention, all that bloody charred meat.

A few years back, I gave a 30 minute lecture on the first seventeen chapters of Leviticus. It nearly did me in.  Reading through the text again, it is good for me to remember something the apostle Paul wrote, in his second message to Timothy. "But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work." At the time Paul wrote this, there was no New Testament, only the Old, so we know this is what he is referring to. There are two key things we can learn from the Old Testament. They are salvation and righteousness. And we can glean these from Leviticus as well.

Building from the book of Exodus, which focused on God's approach to man, and His grace in setting them free, Leviticus deals with mans approach to God. It begins with thank offerings, and it explains how by obedience, God's people can show their gratitude to God for all He has done for them. God saved His people to serve Him. Dividing the book into two parts, the first half, chapters 1-15, describe the way of salvation, or justification. The second half, 17-27, covers one's walk with God, or sanctification. Sandwiched in between, is the pivotal chapter 16, the Day of Atonement. This was Israel's most solemn holy day, exclusively concerned with atoning for the sins of the people.

Diving in, as Christians, you might begin to wonder which of the 613 laws are relevant for us today. After all, Jesus said, "I have not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it." It is obvious that some have been fulfilled in Christ. Otherwise, for the necessary sacrifices, my backyard would be inhabited by more than my current three chickens, and my Sabbath would be only one day set apart, rather than every day of the week, where we have the freedom in Christ, to enter into God's rest and work. Others, are very practical laws, which are meant for safety and protection of the race in a very different time and culture. Many times, God didn't give reasons for His laws, He just asked for trust and obedience.

While deciphering the text, and so as not to get mired down in "rules", there are a few things we are wise to focus on that are unchanging. God is holy. His ways are not our ways, and God's love is a holy love. From Leviticus, it is clear that God hates evil. The sinfulness of man pollutes and profanes the holy. In reading about sacrificial slaughter upon slaughter, tempting me to skip over huge chunks of Scripture, one can't help but comprehend, that sin is "bloody" serious. And now it gets personal. As the head of each family lay his hand on the head of the animal he brought for sacrifice, he comprehended in living technicolor, what he and his family deserved...death. What they received in its place, were grace and mercy. The life is in the blood and God provided a substitute of the innocent for the guilty. Ultimately, Leviticus speaks of Jesus, and the once for all, final sacrifice, made on our behalf at Calvary. The innocent for the guilty.

"Be Holy, for I am holy," is a recurring theme. It tells us to be holy in every part of our lives. Under the New Covenant of Grace, Jesus said that it is not what goes into our mouths that makes us unclean, but what comes out of our mouths. It is no longer a matter of clothing and food, but of morality and the heart. Not a morality that judges others, for what we perhaps perceive as a lack of morals, but a morality that loves people as God loves us, and as stated in both the Old and the New Testaments, "love your neighbor as yourself." 

Leviticus is a rich book, of which ninety percent are God's direct speech--"The Lord said to Moses." One can more fully understand the New Testament book of Hebrews after having read Leviticus. According to the chronological timeline, I'll be there in mid December. I hope I can remember what I am reading now. ;) As I read this book, my prayer is that I will hear God speaking to me, that I will grow deeper in reverend awe of His holiness, and that my heart will respond more quickly in gratitude for all He has done for me. I hope the same for you.

Be Blessed!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Smart Phone Confessional Booth

I grew up in the Catholic Church. One of the most frustrating regimes for me personally, was the time spent in the confessional booth. In order to receive Holy Communion on Sunday, you had to have spent time kneeling before the man behind the curtain. No one wanted to be caught dead staying in their seat, while the rest of the congregation went forward for the host, so on Friday afternoon, you waited on a long line, under the watchful eyes of the nuns, searching your conscience. It went something like this. "Bless me father, for I have sinned. It has been one week since my last confession. I told two lies and I disobeyed my parents." I would then receive my penance, in the form of a set number of rote prayers to recite quietly with my rosary beads. Week after week, it was the same routine.

If only I had a smart phone.
Confession App

All joking aside, confession IS good for the soul. As stated in I John, "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." God is a gracious loving Father who spared nothing in order to redeem us. Jesus' death on the cross, opened the door for us to be forgiven, and to enter into a relationship with him. "If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts."

Now, I am not against new technology that might make our lives easier. Can the Confession App help? Perhaps. But ultimately, we need each other. As followers of Christ, we should have someone we can be accountable to, such as a trusted friend or a spouse. It should be someone who is willing to encourage us to surrender to God any area of our lives that we struggle with. We were created for intimacy with God, and community with one another. So I question technology that might become a deterrent.

The app claims to "completely erase all your sins." Ha! I have been around computers enough to know that data is never fully irretrievable. However, we can depend on God's word. "For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us." Psalm 103:11-12. When Jesus took our sins upon himself at Calvary, all of our past, present and future sins were completely obliterated. Unfortunately, the consequences of our actions are not always removed, and their is often a relational price to pay. Confession, (admitting to God what he already knows) keeps our relationship with God, and others, on an intimate level...a level he longs for with each one of his children.

Be Blessed.

Monday, January 10, 2011

January 8 - Abraham's Death, His Descendants, Isaac's Twins

 Jan. 8 - Genesis 25:1-4, I Chron 1:32-33, Genesis 25:5-6, 12-18, I Chron 1:28-31, 34, Genesis 25:19-26, 7-11  

 I have discovered in my research, that there are differing points of view among Christians regarding the practice of polygamy and concubines in the Bible. Since it has already come up in the text a couple of times, and will  continue to surface, I felt I personally needed to take some time to revisit the references and history before moving on. 

Some believe that God allowed men to have concubines and/or more than one wife, because there is no evidence of a single reproach of the practice in the Bible. David is given as an example, as he is only punished after committing adultery with Bathsheba, another man's wife, but never for having concubines. Solomon had 300 concubines and 700 wives and was considered the "wisest man that ever lived". They argue that just as incest was allowed in the beginning in order to populate the earth, concubines and multiple wives fall into this category. Although incest is later banned, Deuteronomy 21:15-17 is used to defend their position regarding multiple wives and concubines, stating that the Old Covenant made provision for it, and that we shouldn't question God's decisions or choices.

In regard to the Christian approach, they go on to state that plural wives/and or mistresses, is not appropriate behavior for a Christ follower, as the New Testament speaks of, and warns against, all kinds of sexual immorality.  And that in Matthew 19:5,  even Jesus makes a plea for monogamy.  At least on these, I can agree.

I believe that when God created, He only created one man and one woman who would be in charge of "multiplying." To believe anything other than God must have allowed incest for a time, and then banned it, would be inconsistent with that viewpoint. So I am okay with that. When we read a narrative, one has to remember that it is not intended to teach a lesson on morality, or tell us what to do, or not to do. It is the telling of a story of what God did in history. The story doesn't necessarily directly teach, as much as it illustrates what is taught elsewhere in Scripture. The fact that multiple wives were accepted in the culture of the time, I don't believe means that God sanctioned it, just because the text doesn't say, "and such and such is wrong." 

 As stated in Fausset's Bible Dictionary, I understand that the insatiable desire for offspring was somewhat associated with the hope of the promised Messiah. And yes, concubinage was a natural part of a polygamous social system. But in the end, Solomon's lust destroyed him, David had multiple family problems and Abraham's relationship with Hagar set off a chain of effects that would trouble him for years. I haven't found one incident in the Bible that turned out well for the participants of these practices. Any provision made in the law, I think were meant as a "witness, against the hardness of man's heart," not the approval of God.  On the flip side, Abraham's son, Isaac, and his wife Rebekah are in the same predicament as Abraham and Sarah were, except their response, is not to use a concubine. Barren for 20 years, they don't take matters into their own hands, rather, Isaac pleads with the Lord on his wife's behalf, and Rebekah became pregnant with twins, Jacob and Esau, (more about them tomorrow.)

Today's reading includes a list of Abraham's, Ishmael's and  Isaac's descendants, and ends with the death of Abraham, at the ripe old age of 175, "having lived a long and satisfying life." He is buried with his wife, Sarah, on the only piece of property he owned. He bequeathed all the land to Isaac, the son of promise, even though he didn't possess any of it at the time of his death. Abraham's faith had some considerable bumps along the way, but it was especially evident when he packed up everything he owned, and left Ur of the Chaldees, (in modern day Iraq), one of the most advanced, impressive, sophisticated places of his time. He was obedient to leave a place he would never see again, to live in a place he had never seen at all. And then, once again, when he was willing to sacrifice Isaac, what he treasured most, in obedience to God, who he trusted would provide. 

"Abraham believed the Lord, and the Lord declared him righteous because of his faith." Genesis 15:6 Taking God at His Word, he believed in God's covenant promise in Genesis 12:1-3. A covenant promise is not like a modern day contract between two people. God's covenant is eternal and cannot be broken. It was not dependent on Abraham doing all the right things. It was dependent upon the unchanging character of God, and is at the very heart of the Bible. The phrase, "I will be their God, and they will be my people" is a theme that goes all through Scripture right through to Revelation.  It tells us that God wants to stick with us. He longs for a relationship, and He proved it by sacrificing His only Son, Jesus. Not a religion of "do this and don't do that," but an honest relationship of father and child. In spite of our failures and weaknesses, He is a forgiving, merciful Sovereign, Who is good all the time, and is persistently wooing us to draw near to Him...which is the only safe place to be.

Be Blessed...And Stay Tuned!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Snow Day

It's Sunday, and I am taking a break from blogging about The Bible today. We had an enchanting snow storm on Friday which distracted me from the rhythm of writing. In other words, I could use the break. The snow, however, has not stopped me from digging into the Word, keeping on track with the daily reading, thinking about its content and praying about its meaning for my life. That is why we read the Bible anyway, isn't it?

The time away from my desk has given me the opportunity to get outside and try to capture some of God's beauty through the lens of my camera.  

I hope you get to enjoy a snow day in the near future. They are a great way to quiet ones heart and mind, even if it means spending the time with a shovel. I hope to get back on track tomorrow. 
Be Blessed...and Stay Tuned!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

January 7 - Abraham Tested, Sarah Dies, Isaac Marries Rebekah

January 7  Genesis 21:8-34 - 23:1-20, Genesis 11:32, Genesis 24:1-67

Yesterday, we read one of the ugliest chapters in the Bible. Today, this narrative has to be one of the most heart-wrenching. Abraham is tested by God in an unfathomable way, and his beloved wife Sarah dies.

Isaac, is now weaned. This would put him somewhere between 2 and 3 yrs old, and Ishmael in his late teens. Sarah, fed up and threatened by Ishmael's mocking of her "son of promise", insists that Abraham expel him and Hagar, his mother. Very distressed at the thought of them wandering in the wilderness, God confirms that Abraham should listen to Sarah. Isaac's inheritance must be protected, and any threat had to be avoided. God also comforts Abraham with the promise that his son Ishmael, will also be father to a nation of descendants. True to His promise, near their hour of death in the desert, God provides water for Hagar to save her and her son, and Ishmael goes on to become a man of distinction, eventually marrying an Egyptian woman.

Paul, in Galatians 4:21-31, explains that the events that took place with Isaac and Ishmael, are an allegory symbolizing God's Old Covenant of law with Israel, and His New Covenant of grace with His church. This fits into Paul's argument in Galatians 3-4, that when Christ, the seed came, the old, was done away.

Abraham, living in foreign Philistine country, is considered a resident alien. He believes God's promise, that this land will belong to his descendants, so he proceeds to make a treaty with Abimelech, the residing king. He gives Abimelech some sheep, goats and cattle, along with seven female lambs.

This treaty secured Abraham's legal right to live peacefully in the land. The completion of different phases of God's promise are slowly taking place. God is blessing the patriarch, and some pagans in the land take notice. He is now provided with a constant supply of well water, enabling Abraham to stay and thrive in the land. He then plants a tree in Beersheba, "the well of the oath."  To sit under one's tree was a sign of peace and security. Zechariah 3:10.

The Scripture says, "Some time later, God tested Abraham's faith." The test was very real. After the long awaited fulfillment of God's promise, after raising their precious baby boy to be the young man that he has become, after the love, and the laughter and the joy of having this incredible gift in their lives, God asks Abraham to give him back. Isaac is to become a burnt offering to the Lord. The world, the flesh and the devil can tempt us in order to bring out the worst in us. Only God can test us to prove our faith, and the Bible carefully distinguishes between the two. To be a genuine test, it must defy logic and be something that Abraham would naturally want to resist. But resist, he did not. Abraham had matured both in age and in his trust in God. He obeyed immediately, and set out by placing the wood for the sacrifice on his young son's shoulders to carry on the 50 mile, three day journey to Mount Moriah. (Jewish tradition places the mount in Jerusalem, although the exact location is not known.) 

This unreasonable, illogical, horrific request did not deter Abraham. Seeing the place in the distance, he leaves the two servants behind, assuring them that they will "worship there, and then we will come right back."Answering Isaac's curious question about "where is the sheep for the offering?" Abraham answered, "God will provide..." 

All Abraham knew was that God had planned a future around Isaac. Although, he could not reconcile the request with the promise, he would nevertheless obey. So dramatic was God's intervention, (as Abraham took the knife to slay his beloved son), the Lord showed that He never intended for Abraham to go through with it. Child sacrifice was performed by some of the pagan nations to appease their gods, but Israel was not to practice it. God now knew that Abraham would hold nothing back, he would sacrifice anything, even his son. 

One can't help but consider this passage on two levels. The first, a father who dearly loves his son, being asked to sacrifice him in obedience to God. The second, is a graphic picture of our heavenly Father's sacrifice of His only Son who died on the cross in our place, so we can experience forgiveness of our sins. For divine justice to be satisfied, an animal sacrifice would not suffice. Humanity sinned, the price or wage of that sin is death, and the God-Man must pay it. Romans 6:23. As Isaac willingly carried the wood on his shoulders, Jesus carried His cross. After the three day journey, like the three days in the ground, Isaac's life was resurrected, as was Jesus'. In recognizing the intense pain and heartbreak of Abraham, God betrays His own heartache over sacrificing His own Son. Our only response must be one of complete surrender and gratitude.

Approximately 25 years after this crisis of faith, Sarah dies. In the role call of the heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11, Sarah is only one of two women who are immortalized. Abraham, in a difficult negotiation with a Hittite inhabitant of Canaan, purchases his first piece of property in the Promised Land...a burial place. As a testimony to future generations, it was important for Sarah to be buried there. 

As Abraham deeply grieves over the loss of his wife, he turns his attention to finding a wife for Isaac. He is very old, and concerned that his son might marry a Canaanite woman. He sends his oldest servant, Eliazer, to bring back a wife from his homeland, trusting that God is still providentially planning for the promise of land and descendants. Obediently, the servant travels to Abraham's homeland, and humbly prays to God. "This is my request. I will ask one of them, "Please give me a drink from your jug.' If she says, "Yes, have a drink, and I will water your camel, too!' ---let her be the one you have selected as Isaac's wife."

There is great success! Rebekah comes out and gives him water, and offers to tend to the camels as well. She then  confirms that she is the daughter of Bethual (Abraham's nephew). First and foremost, Eliazer gives praise and worship to the Lord! "The Lord has shown unfailing love and faithfulness to my master, for He has led me straight to my master's relatives." After gift giving, discussion and a brief hesitation by the family, Rebekah, willingly, is brought home to Isaac. "Isaac brought Rebekah into his mother's tent, and she became his wife." 

God sovereignly worked through all the circumstances to secure His plan to bless mankind. Yet, although we marvel at God's providence, the human responsibility was quite evident. The servant was faithful, loyal, trusted God implicitly, prayerful, and finally, he was expedient in worship, even before the assignment was a done deal.

There is no greater call than to love the Lord with "all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." This supreme demand supersedes loyalty to anyone or anything else. Abraham proved his loyalty on Mount Moriah by his willingness to give to God that which was most precious to Him. When God called Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, his response was Hineni (hee nay nee). It is the same word Moses used when God spoke to him from the burning bush, and Isaiah used it when called to be a prophet. Translated, "Here I am" or "I am ready", barely touch on the depth of the intentioned Hebrew word. It carries with it a sense of being attentive and fully present, with no distractions to interfere with following the command. God doesn't test us with the purpose of making us fail, rather for the purpose of seeing us succeed. When we begin to understand this, and trust that whatever He calls us to, is meant to bring Him glory and us spiritual satisfaction, than responding with "Hineni" will roll off the tongue more effortlessly. It wasn't Isaac's life that God wanted, he wanted Abraham's heart, and he wants...and deserves, our hearts as well.

Be Blessed...and Stay Tuned!

Friday, January 7, 2011

January 6 - Sodom and Gomorrah is Destroyed, Isaac is Born

Jan. 6 - Genesis 18:1-21:7

Todays reading begins with a seemingly impossible promise and ends with a fantastic fulfillment. Sandwiched in between, is one of the ugliest chapters in the Bible.

God, on an exceptional occasion, appears to Abraham who has been chosen as a channel of blessing. He is called to be a vehicle, where Israel and all the nations that God loves, will be directed to walk in the way of Yahweh. God informs him that in twelve months he and his wife Sarah will have a son. I can hardly blame post menopausal Sarah for laughing to herself, after overhearing the promise. Then the Lord says to Abraham, "...Is anything too hard for the Lord?" God then proceeds to let him in on His plan to check out first hand the many complaints about the grievous sins (unnamed) from Sodom and Gomorrah, where his nephew Lot lives with his family.
(Here is another picture of Israel in the Dead Sea vicinity from my trip)

Grieved at the prospect of destruction, Abraham begins to intercede in prayer for the welfare of others. He suggests to God that there would perhaps be at least 50 righteous people, in which case God would not destroy the good with the wicked. In Abraham's mind, knowing God as he did, for God to do anything but be the Just Judge of all the earth would be inconsistent with His character. God does not act capriciously. In going down to see for Himself, He proves to Abraham that He is not only loving, but He is also just. In this first instance of intercessory prayer, I think Abraham's humility and courageousness is something to take note of. From 50 to 45 to 40 to 30 to 20 to 10, Abraham remained resolved in his understanding of God's justice.

Later that evening, while Lot (a leader in the community) was sitting at the city gate, two angels came to him. To his credit, Lot offers them hospitality in his home, and knowing how unsafe it can be, he insists that they spend the night with him. Then the city, that Abraham had hoped had other righteous people, reveals its true character. All  the males of Sodom surrounded Lot's house. Their intention for homosexual rape is clear. And to his discredit, Lot proposes a heinous solution to a wicked problem. He offers his two virgin daughters to the lust depraved crowd.

Lot and his family are rescued before the city is destroyed, but Lot's wife was turned into a pillar of salt for looking back after being instructed not to. God could have changed her instantly, or she could have lingered too long, as the ash and falling sulfur engulfed the area. Visiting the Dead Sea region, one can easily imagine being encapsulated in salt. (This is not one of my pictures)

The apostle Peter wrote in 2 Peter 2:7-8 that Lot was a righteous man. Whatever his failings were, he was a true worshipper of Yahweh. Perhaps, not because of him, but in spite of him, God answered Abraham's prayer for justice. Lot was distressed by the ungodliness that surrounded him, but sadly, his witness and example did nothing to influence those in his community. God could not find 10 righteous people. The culture at the time was such, that to not have any heirs meant scorn and disgrace, and the environment Lot's family resided in was saturated with all kinds of wickedness and sexual immorality. No doubt, some of the undesirable characteristics of the culture rubbed off on them. This led his daughters to do the unthinkable. They got their father drunk to have sex with him, in hopes of conceiving and preserving the family line. From the descendants of Lot's two daughters came the Moabites and the Ammonites, who prove to be troublesome to the Israelites for generations to come.

In another embarrassing episode, where an old fear momentarily squelches his faith, Abraham lies about Sarah being his wife. The wonderful message, is that God remained faithful to him! He preserved the sanctity of his marriage and Isaac was born. "The Lord kept His word and did for Sarah exactly as he has promised." Abraham is 100 years old.

Faith, in the Bible, is not described as believing in something that is impossible, just because it is too difficult to imagine. Faith is believing in what God has said, and sometimes what He says seems impossible. Taking God at His Word can often times be a difficult process for some. We live in an imperfect, flawed world, but God promises to be with us in the good times and in the tears. And it is often in the tears and in the fears, that He surprises us, as Sarah was, with joy!

Be Blessed...and Stay Tuned!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

January 5 - God's Covenant with Abraham

Jan. 5  Genesis 15:1-17:27
Before I get into the text, I have to get this song out of my head. I taught it in Sunday School, and my girls performed it many times growing up. I thought the desert motif went well with our Biblical study. It gave me a good chuckle. It's also a good reminder to pray for peace in the Middle East. The song goes, "Father Abraham had many sons, many sons had Father Abraham. I am one one of them and so are you, so lets all praise the Lord."

One of the things I love most about the Bible is that it's real. The authors, inspired by the Holy Spirit, don't gloss over the shortcomings of the individuals they write about. They are exposed for who they are...

Here is a re-cap...
Abram obeyed God and departed to Canaan with Sarai and Lot. A famine forces them to go to Egypt, where he and Sarai deceive Pharoah into thinking she was Abram's sister instead of his wife. (Sarai is actually Abraham's half sister.) Back north to the Promised Land, Abram generously gives Lot first pick of the land. Lot chooses the fertile plains of the Jordan Valley with the best water supply, near a place called Sodom, where the "people of this area where extremely wicked and constantly sinned against the Lord." War breaks out in the valley of the Dead Sea, Lot is captured, Abraham strategically rescues him, gives one tenth of all the goods recovered to Melchizadek, a priest of God Most High, and wisely refuses the King of Sodom's offer to take it all. Here is a picture of the Dead Sea area from my trip to Israel.

Questioning and impatient with how God will fulfill His promise, Sarai gives her maid, Hagar to Abram to be a surrogate mother, (a common practice in the ancient Near East.) Hagar, when pregnant, flaunts it. Sarai treats her poorly enough where she runs away. Ishmael is born, and the Scripture says, "he will live in open hostility against all his relatives." The consequences of this bad decision are still being felt today by the hostility of the descendants of Ishmael, the Arabs and those of Isaac, the Jews. 

There you have it. The good, the bad and the ugly of humanity. Obedience, wisdom and faithfulness are contrasted with fear, greed, convenience and selfishness. It's all in there. And we are all capable. Yet, in the midst of it all is a Covenant Making God, with a plan to bless all of mankind through one man, Abraham. At ninety nine years old, The Lord appears to him and says, "I am El-Shaddai-God Almighty...and I will make you the father of many nations." 

God promises the couple a son of their own, which they are to name Isaac. Through Isaac would come the Messiah.  "From the very beginning, God had in view that Jesus Christ would be the descendant of Abraham and that everyone who trusts in Christ would become an heir of Abraham's promise. So it says in Galations 3:29,"If you are Christ's then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to the promise." Or as Romans 4:16-17 says, "The promise is according to grace in order to be guaranteed to all Abraham's descendants, not only to [the Jews] but also to [Gentiles] who share the faith of Abraham, who is father of us all, as it is written, 'I have made you the father of many nations.'" Read or listen to more of God's Covenant with Abraham by John Piper.

In light of these promises, Abram, now named Abraham, is to live a life of obedience and faith, along with the sign of circumcision as proof of his keeping the covenant. He wastes no time, but immediately (the best time to obey) gets the job done. First on himself, then all the male members of his household.

Think about God's love and care for Sarai and Hagar. She was far from perfect, yet God protected her in Egypt, and never gave up on her when she was at her worst. He had a higher calling for her life, that of "mother of nations." He also heard Hagar cry out in the wilderness. "The Angel of the Lord" appeared to her, who scholars regard as an early appearance of Jesus Christ. Uttered in misery, He reminds her that He has heard her cry. She, too, will be the mother of large numbers of offspring. Then there is Abraham, who after a time of "laughing" at the prospect of he and Sarah having their own child, believes God. 

No one likes waiting. We live in a restless, materialistic society that thrives on instant gratification. As I type this, my computer slowed down, and I became momentarily frustrated. But God's timing is always perfect, and His promises are always kept. He is always faithful, even when we fail Him. No amount of worry or fretting will change His Sovereign timetable. What ever it is that you are waiting on, God asks that we believe and trust Him, No Matter What!

Be Blessed...and stay tuned!