Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Friend of God (Part 2)

The Sacrifice of Isaac, by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, 1726-29

Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him,Abraham!And he said,Here I am.And He said,Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah; and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.'”1

The Hebrew name Moriah, is only mentioned twice in scripture2, it is a hill in Palestine which the Jews believe is the site upon which Solomon built the temple and the altar of burnt offerings3. The word Moriah means, to be seen of Jah, the Lord, most vehement. Moriah is the place to be seen by the God of deeply felt and intense expressions; the God who is worshipped here.

In this exchange between God and Abraham, I observe that:
  1. God decides to test Abraham
  2. The test is a test of love, loyalty and devotion
  3. The test is for Abraham’s benefit
In testing Abraham, God has determined that the relationship has reached a level in which it now requires higher elevation. This test from God is in essence Him saying, Come up here. This is what John wrote in Revelation:

After these things I looked and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said,Come up here…'”4

I believe that as I grow in my relationship with God through faith, I need to elevate my relationship because it has reached a plateau; this is what I believe the writers of Genesis and Revelation speak of as,After these things”. These things are those learning experiences that build upon one another. The test wasn’t for God’s benefit; He already knew Abraham would obey the test.

Why then test Abraham?

So that Abraham would realize that his deeply felt and intense expressions for his only son Isaac, those unspoken thoughts of love and gratitude to God were already known by Jah. I also believe God wanted Abraham to see and worship Him with a new perspective.

Moriah is the place to be seen by Jah but Moriah is only representative of the spiritual place where one is seen by Jah. God wants Abraham to move from the natural into the spiritual realm of their relationship.

Why was it a test of love, loyalty and devotion?

At the instruction of God, Abram left family, home, security, friends, established relationships to go where God told him to go. This was the beginning of his walk of obedience.

True obedience will only express itself through love, loyalty and devotion.

Some are taught obedience through fear and intimidation but when the opportunity presents itself, they will flee to escape obedience that is based on tyranny. Some learn obedience through a code of ethics, principles, moral or societal guidelines and laws but when there is a loophole that offers a tangible benefit, obedience becomes devalued. I cannot maintain a relationship with God based on fear. I cannot maintain a relationship with God by trying to follow codes and guidelines.

I can only maintain a relationship with God by my desire to worship Him.

It is through worship (or devotion) that I gain an awareness of a desire for love and loyalty. I realize that God is faithful, so too must I become faithful. I realize that God is love, so too must I become loving. I realize that God is loyal, so too must I become loyal. I realize that God is holy, so I too must become holy. In order to get Abraham to this spiritual position in his life, God had to get him above ground level that he might bear witness to who God really is in his life. On Moriah, Abraham bore witness to Jehovah Jireh; The Lord Will Provide.

I believe that whenever God causes growth in the relationship with a believer, He takes them above ground to a higher elevation. We find this happens to Moses in the mountain with the burning bush. Paul speaks of a man caught up to the third heaven. I believe God wants me to see what I can never see from ground level (in the natural). He wants me to see Him with a new perspective; that I would enter into a much deeper relationship with Him through my worship. This is what Abraham bore witness to; he saw Jehovah Jireh.

From this point on, the relationship between God and Abraham changes because of what Abraham witnessed with his own eyes. He would no longer see God as the God of promises; He was now The Lord Will Provide.

A provision and a promise are fundamentally different. A promise is a pledge of something to be done in the future or a pledge to maintain something previously established. A provision is something given in sufficient quantity to sustain me. A promise can be invalidated or ended. A provision is never exhausted.

Abraham already knew of the promises of God, now he walked in the provision of God. On Moriah the bible reveals that:

And Abraham called the name of that place The Lord Will Provide, as it is said to this day,In the mount of the Lord it will be provided.’”5

Abraham thus entered into the spiritual realm of friendship with God.

He now understood the Lord provides for me in every area of my life; The Lord Will Provide.

Whatever I need, God knows I trust Him as The Lord Will Provide. It is there for me, but I must elevate my spirit, soul and body that I may come to know Him as The Lord Will Provide.

So in answering the question, Does God trust me? I must understand that this question is not an issue for God as it is for me; God does not grapple with that issue as I do, He already knows the answer. I am the one who needs to go to that spiritual place called Moriah; the place where my spirit longs to worship Jah. As I ascend up to Moriah and reach the place that God is calling me to come to, I find provision allocated to me in a way that dissolves my fears, concerns, worries, doubts and cares.

I am discovering a new aspect of my relationship with God, He wants to call me friend.

He isn’t satisfied with me seeing Him only as the God of promises.

He wants me to recognize Him as Jehovah Jireh, The Lord Will Provide.

I am now ascending my very own Moriah and I fully expect to find The Lord Will Provide when I arrive. The test is for my benefit. The sacrifice I offer will be that which I treasure, that which I value most. It will be the offering of my worship to God. I am excited about this sacrifice of worship because I want this friendship.

I’m doing this because I want to be called the friend of God. Yes, and although I say He is, The Lord Will Provide, I’m not seeking provision; I’m seeking Him.

Father God,

You are calling me to Moriah, the place where I come to worship You. The place of my spiritual sacrifice. The place where I see you as The LORD Will Provide. I'm not seeking provision, I seek friendship with You. I want to ascend to Moriah to sacrifice my doubts, my fears, my worries, my cares, all of them I offer up to You Lord. I'm excited about our friendship and the opportunities you provide for me as Your friend. You are my Jehovah Jireh. Amen.


Footnotes:
  1. Genesis 22:1-2, NASB
  2. Genesis 22:2; 2 Chronicles 3:1
  3. Unger’s Bible Dictionary, page 758
  4. Revelation 4:1, NASB
  5. Genesis 22:14, NASB
References:
  1. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, By James B. Strong, S.T.D, LL.D., Riverside Book and Bible House, Iowa Falls, Iowa 50126
  2. Unger's Bible Dictionary, By Merrill F. Unger, Moody Press, Chicago
  3. The Ryrie Study Bible (New American Standard Version), Edited by Charles C. Ryrie, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, ISBN 0-8024-8920-6
  4. Matthew Henry's Commentary, McDonald Publishing Company, McLean, Virginia 22101, ISBN 0-917006-21-6

13 comments:

Hold my hand: a social worker's blog said...

What an insightful post. I have always opted to look at God as a "Loving God", not the terrifying God that some church congregations try to portrait. I love the elegant writing style of your posts. Thanks for the reflection.

Doris

P.S. Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you taking the time to read and commenting on my story.

Peggy said...

Blessings MTJ...another insightful series and I need to go back and start at the beginning but I'm making my Sweet P's round. I hope I remember to come back & read "A friend of God"

You are a friend of God and He is your friend! isn't that an awesome privilege!

This will go wonderfully with my Sunday post in the Garden on Worship! That is why this struck me the most:
"I can only maintain a relationship with God by my desire to worship Him.

It is through worship (or devotion) that I gain an awareness of a desire for love and loyalty."


You missed my posts on Jesus(friend) & the Holy Spirit though! Today's the Word!

So thankful He is Jehovah Jireh - Our Provider!

So much great info here substantiated and truth from His Word!

May Father God meet you as you lay down doubts, fears, worries, cares
as an offering to Him! May you sense His friendship more! I am use to seeing Jesus as our friend and Our Father as the One to show respect & be disciplined but they are 3 in 1! Need to grow in our complete intimacy of the 3 in 1!

Thank you for your openness in sharing this and your visit(s)!
Peace in Christ,
Peggy

Sharon Kirby said...

MTJ -

More layers to contemplate on the subject of being a friend of God.

There are many things I could comment on - I know I'm going to have to read this a few times to really let all the "meat" sink in.

I think what I want to say most is in response to your idea of sacrifice. I never really thought about laying down my doubts, fears, worries, and cares as a sacrifice to God. Have I somehow given those things a "place of worship" so to speak, because of the time I spend thinking on them?

I know that I need to offer up the things and people I LOVE - but what about my worries and cares ABOUT those things?? Do I keep claiming ownership over THOSE thoughts and feelings?! Very profound - very thought-provoking...

Yes, Lord - I want to give you ALL things...the things I cherish, AND the things that occupy my mind unnecessarily.

HE WILL PROVIDE...God bless, my friend. Thank you for this message today.

sarah said...

He really does make the difference. I am just so grateful for Him in my life....and I too want to be called His friend. Have a great Sonday. You always inspire me. ☺

THE OLD GEEZER said...

I once had a pastor who often said no one can truly be used by God until he/she is tested and suffers. Only a person who goes through the "tests" of life can truly relate to others who are going through the same type of trials. Then, when we tell them how God brought us through the trial, they listen.

~Ron

MTJ said...

Doris: God truly is a loving God. Bless you.

Peggy: It is an awesome privilege my sister, and it gives me great joy. I really enjoy the worship songs you offer to the community. Each one seems so appropriate at that moment.

Sharon: Those are all introspective questions which I pray that the Holy Spirit guide you in the way of the answers. For me personally, I believe that the altar is the place of submission to God; so whatever there is in my life which prevents me from growing further in grace, I want to yield to God.

Sarah: Like you, I'm grateful for Christ in my life. I seek that friendship with God more than anything I've ever sought in my life; He has given me a hunger which I hope to never satisfy.

Ron: That sounds like wise advice my brother. It definitely answers the question, "How were you able to make it through that?"

Stuff could always be worse said...

Yes Abraham is a great person to see obedience with!
kim

Lloyd said...

MTJ, what a great message on Abraham. I just love this story of the strong love and faith that Abraham had for God.

Your prayer touched my heart and soul as I prayed it with you. God bless you brother. Lloyd

MTJ said...

Kim: He is a marvelous example for all who in faith follow Christ.

Lloyd: I do appreciate you praying with me my brother. Thank you.

Faith Imagined said...

I was just mediating on this subject today. God is always pushing us into a deeper relationship with him. It is an ongoing process that won't end until we see Him face to face.

This line was absolutely beautiful, "I can only maintain a relationship with God by my desire to worship Him." Amen!!!!

MTJ said...

Alisa: That's a good point about God pushing us into a deeper relationship with Him...until we see Him face to face. Thanks for sharing that thought.

Dean Spencer said...

MTJ -

Worship is the key element in our relationship with God. I believe you have hit the nail on the head, that worship brings you to a place where you desire love, loyalty, and devotion as you've said.

I particularly found it insightful that as "God is faithful, so too must I become faithful. I realize that God is love, so too must I become loving. I realize that God is loyal, so too must I become loyal. I realize that God is holy, so I too must become holy."

Scripture shows us that the Holy Spirit is at work in us conforming us to His Son Jesus. To think that as God does His work in us, He brings about the qualities in us that helps us to delve into a deeper level of worship. And that is one of the reasons we exist, we were made to worship our Creator!

Great insights MTJ! Love your heart in drawing near to our Savior. It motivates me to do the same. God bless!

MTJ said...

Dean: I just need to thank you brother for the encouraging words you shared with me about marriage. I have found friendship through you and I pray that I can be your friend. So often when I needed and exhortation, I'd see you discussing the book of Romans; I never tire of Romans. Thank you brother and bless you and your family.