WHO ARE YOU, LORD? WHAT SHALL I DO, LORD?
BLESSED TO BE A BLESSING
"The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." (Gen. 12: 1-3) As we saw last month Scripture now moves from the major themes of creation, the Fall, God's judgments and the scattering of man across the earth to form many nations, to God calling out one man (Abraham) to form one nation (Israel) through which comes Jesus Christ the one and only Savior of the whole world.
Abraham is called the father of faith (see Rom. 4:11-18) and is an example of how to live by faith. "Remember your leaders (like Abraham) who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith." (Heb. 13:7) He lived in a pagan world that worshiped many gods (Josh. 24:14) and God spoke to him (12:1) and appeared to him (12:7) so Abraham could "know" Him (Who are you, Lord?) and told him what to do (What shall I do, Lord?) "The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran. 'Leave your country and your people,' God said, 'and go to the land I will show you." (Acts 7:2-3) "So Abram left, as the LORD had told him; There he built an altar to the LORD and called on (or proclaimed) the name of the LORD." (12: 4, 8) After God made Himself known to Abraham he proclaimed the one true God in the midst of a pagan world – both in Ur and then in Canaan. This is God's call on every believer's life – to know Him and to share how God has revealed Himself to us specifically (our personal testimony) and to share His Word – His Self-revelation with others. There are two callings from God to every one: 1) first a call to a relationship with Him (salvation and intimacy) and 2) a call to serve Him, i.e., our vocation ("vocare" – to call) through our work and to the sphere of relationships He gives us (family, neighbors, business associates, etc.) using the unique gifts and talents He has given us.
God said to Abraham: "I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." (12: 2-3) Like Abraham we are blessed (saved) to be a blessing (a witness of God to others). And as with Abraham, true faith in God leads to obedience to God. "Those who truly believe the Word of the Lord (who have faith) will forsake all else to become worshipers of the Lord and to serve His program to bring blessings to the world." (Allen P. Ross)
When Jesus (God the Son) appeared to Paul, he asked Jesus these two important questions, "Who are you, Lord? "What shall I do, Lord?" (Acts 22:8, 10) To the degree we truly know the Lord (Who are you, Lord?) we will rightly respond to Him (What shall I do, Lord?) Paul's great revelation of God as He truly is, led to his wholehearted love of God and service to God. We will spend the rest of our lives and eternity grasping the revelation of the Living God but God calls us to seek to know Him now and to respond passionately and obediently to Him – to the amazing and great I Am. As with Abraham, Paul and all believers, Jesus calls us to put Him first and love Him above all else and serve Him by making Him known to others: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." (Mark 12: 30-31) "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things (temporal needs) will be given to you as well."(Matt. 6:33) "In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:33)
So the first thing we "leave" is self, as seen in the life of Jesus as a Man, and become servants of God and others. "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant."(Phil. 2:3-7) And this is a daily "leaving" and a daily dying to self as Paul says, "I die daily" (i.e., die to self, 1 Cor. 15:31)
"And this is eternal life: [it means] to know (to perceive, recognize, become acquainted with, and understand) You, the only true and real God, and [likewise] to know Him, Jesus [as the] Christ (the Anointed One, the Messiah), Whom You have sent." (John 17:3 Amp.) As we grow in the true knowledge of the Lord we will more rightly respond to Him. Thus as you look at the pyramid of priorities, at the base of the pyramid is our life purpose statement. – in the box. This is what we are living for day in and day out. All of us have something in the box, even if it is an unconscious goal, and we are living to accomplish it. At the top of the pyramid are our daily actions that flow from our purpose in life. Godly purpose links the temporal (day to day actions) to the eternal (what truly matters from God's perspective) as we commit to God's ultimate and universal purposes in every role and arena of our lives. Intimacy with God leads to a vision from Him (our unique purpose) and on-going intimacy enables us and empowers us to carry out the vision.
"Is it possible for people to miss their lives (calling) in the same way one misses a plane?" (Walker Percy) So what's in your box? What are you truly living for? Do your day to day activities line up with your beliefs? Do your beliefs line up with God's calling from His Word?
Daily acts – 1 Cor. 10:31
Short-term goals – Psalm 1
Long – term goals – Phil. 3:7-14
My unique purpose – Eph. 2:10; 1 Peter 4:10
God's universal purposes – Matt. 22:37-39; 28:18-20
God's ultimate and eternal purposes – Rom.11:36
MY LIFE PURPOSE IS
LifeKeys by Kise, Hirsh and Stark is a great book for discovering God's call for your life.
Questions for reflection/application
God revealed Himself to Abraham and Abraham shared his revelation of God to others and ultimately to the world through his descendant the Lord Jesus Christ. How has the God of Abraham revealed Himself to you and how are you sharing your revelation of God to others?
How does God reveal Himself to others?
How well do you know God through His Self-revelation? What do you have to "leave" to know Him better?
Until He comes,
Len and Kristen