Trust the Tester when he Tests your Trust

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None of us like exams or tests, do we? I suppose some brilliant geniuses do, but for the rest of us exams and tests mean stress, fear, and sometimes exhaustion. Not a pleasant experience is it? But we can persuade ourselves to keep going if we remind ourselves of the aim or purpose of these exams and tests. We step back and re-frame the test to endure and succeed in the test.

We can experience the same unpleasant feelings when it comes to tests of faith, can’t we? Stress, fear, and even exhaustion. Let’s look at how God tested Abraham’s faith in Genesis 22:1-5 to help us endure and succeed in our own tests.

TESTS ARE DESIGNED BY GOD (1)

  • God chooses the student to be tested
  • God chooses the timing of the test
  • God chooses the subject of the test

Tests are providential not accidental.

How testing will these tests be?

TESTS GET TOUGHER (2)

  • Tests start easy
  • Tests more difficult
  • Tests have a final

Tough tests form firm faith 

What will I learn from these tests?

TESTS REVEAL WHO WE ARE (3-5)

  • No complaint from Abraham
  • Full compliance by Abraham

God will test our trust to see if we trust the tester.

LIVING THE BIBLE

When our faith is tested, let’s remember that the test is from God, the test is toughening our trust, and the test is exhibiting our trust.

Trust the tester when he tests your trust.


This episode of Living the Bible lines up with Expedition 5: Day 3 in  Exploring the Bible Together: A 52 Week Family Worship Plan and Exploring the Bible: A Bible Reading Plan for Kids. You can catch up with previous episodes of the Living the Bible podcast here or subscribe on iTunesSpotify, and Google Podcast.


God’s Shelter in the Gathering Storm

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The persecution of Christians is growing both around the world and in our own nation: verbal persecution, physical persecution, financial persecution, media persecution, political persecution, judicial persecution, academic persecution, online persecution, and corporate persecution. It’s why Al Mohler has called his most recent book, The Gathering Storm. Sometimes we can feel under siege and wonder if we will survive, or if our children will survive, or if the church will survive.

Genesis 21:8-14 has a sobering yet encouraging message for us. It reminds us of the inevitability of persecutors, but also of the invincibility of the persecuted.

CHILDREN OF THE PROMISE WILL BE PERSECUTED

  • Children of God’s promise rejoice in God (8): As we’ve seen in the past couple of podcasts, there’s been a ton of joy and laughter in this home recently. They celebrate the child of promise, the one chosen by God, through whom the world would be blessed.
  • Children of the human effort hate God (9): Ishmael abused Isaac verbally and physically, illustrating what all children of the promise can expect in their lives (Gal. 4:29).

When God’s children rejoice, God’s enemies rage. God’s blessing rejoices his children but enrages his enemies.

How will infant Isaac survive this Satanic onslaught?

CHILDREN OF THE PROMISE WILL BE PROTECTED 

  • Sarah protects the child of promise (10-11): Sarah saw the spiritual jeopardy, the spiritual danger. This was not just bullying; this was the seed of the serpent trying to extinguish the Seed of the woman (Gen. 3:15)
  • God protects the child of promise (12): Abraham was reluctant to go so far as to cast out Hagar and Ishmael, but God said, “Yes, this is necessary for the protection and salvation of the children of promise.” God promised to look after Ishmael (13), but he had to separate the child of promise from the child of human effort so that there would be more children of promise (Gal. 4:30).

The seed of the serpent launched an all-out assault on the seed of the woman, but God kept his promise to the children of the promise. Ishmael said to Isaac, “You will be extinguished,” but God said to Ishmael, “You will be exiled.”

When Satan bites and bruises your heel, remember you will crush and crunch his head (Rom. 16:20)

LIVING THE BIBLE

Make sure you’re a winner not a loser. Make sure you are on the winning side, not the losing one. There are only two teams: children of the flesh and children of the promise; those who are trying to be saved by human muscle and those who are being saved by God’s muscle. This passage warns us that if our hope of salvation is in God’s muscle, we will suffer at the hands of human muscles (and mouths). But it also encourages that God’s muscle and mouth are far greater than any amount of human muscles and mouths. Take shelter in God’s promise in the gathering storm.


This episode of Living the Bible lines up with Expedition 5: Day 2 in  Exploring the Bible Together: A 52 Week Family Worship Plan and Exploring the Bible: A Bible Reading Plan for Kids. You can catch up with previous episodes of the Living the Bible podcast here or subscribe on iTunesSpotify, and Google Podcast.


The Laugh-o-meter

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Have you ever heard of the “laugh-o-meter”? When I was young, there was a show on TV in which kids would try to make the audience laugh with jokes and funny stories. They then measured the number and volume of audience laughs with this “laugh-0-meter” and the one who had the most and loudest laughs won.

If we applied the “laugh-o-meter” to Genesis 21:1-7, it would go into the red zone. What caused so much laughter? It wasn’t jokes and funny stories, but rather the fulfillment of God’s promises.

RELY ON GOD’S PROMISES

  • The Lord visited as he had said (1a)
  • The Lord did as he had said (1b)
  • The Lord gave a child as he had spoken (2)

God’s promises are not for doubting but for depending. 

What’s the result of God’s promises? Laughter!

REJOICE IN GOD’S PROMISES

  • Sarah’s doubting laughter (Gen. 18:12-15)
  • Sarah’s believing laughter (Gen. 21:6-7)

The laugh-o-meter started rising in verse 3, when they named their son “Laughter.” It went into the orange zone in verse  six when Sarah exploded with joy as she looked at her baby boy. “God has made me laugh.” Or as the ESV puts it, “God has made laughter for me.” That’s not just her son, but her feelings. God manufactured laughter for Sarah and gave her it to enjoy. The laughter then goes into the red zone when Sarah anticipates everyone who hears this news will laugh with her.” God makes us and others laugh with joy when he keeps his promises.

Doubt manufactures depression, but faith manufactures delight.

LIVING THE BIBLE

Let’s rejoice in the fulfillment of God’s promises, especially the promise of his Son and our Savior (Luke 2:10–11). Thank God for the joy of salvation through the birth of Jesus Christ. Isaac made many laugh for a short time, but Christ makes multitudes laugh for all time. God makes laughter for his people by making promises to his people.


This episode of Living the Bible lines up with Expedition 5: Day 1 in  Exploring the Bible Together: A 52 Week Family Worship Plan and Exploring the Bible: A Bible Reading Plan for Kids. You can catch up with previous episodes of the Living the Bible podcast here or subscribe on iTunesSpotify, and Google Podcast.


Does God really desire me?

What’s the hardest thing for people to believe?

For those who have no consciousness of sin, it’s hard for them to believe that God could not love them. Such people need to be convicted of their sin to seek mercy.

However, for those of us who have some awareness of our sinfulness and folly, the hardest thing for us to believe is  that God could love us, want to be with us, and desires relationship with us.

Such doubting unbelief can severely hamper spiritual life and joy. Proverbs 8 reveals God’s love in an amazingly reassuring way, encouraging us to receive God’s love in enjoy assurance of it in Christ.

Read more in my sermon notes.


Provocative Parenting

Many Christians, and even secular analysts, have said that the biggest crisis our culture is facing is the failure of fatherhood. As Christians, we would say it is the failure of men to become what God has created them to be, that is, models of God’s father-hood to their children.

Blake Wilson calls this crisis, “Daddy Deprivation,” a crisis that Eric Mason says, “crosses cultural and socio-economic grounds; it’s a crisis prevalent in all areas of society, for the absence of a father leaves a lasting void in a man’s identity and development.”

Some of the stats that demonstrate this crisis are:

  • Tonight, about 40 percent of American children will go to sleep in homes in which their fathers do not live.
  • Before they reach the age of eighteen, more than half of our nation’s children are likely to spend at least a significant portion of their childhoods living apart from their fathers.

This is why Jordan Peterson is such a father figure with young men. He’s telling them things their fathers should have.

Read more in my sermon notes here.