Thought for the Week - 5th February

Pastor Gareth Watkins
Isaiah 58: 13-14

“Keep the Sabbath day holy.
Don’t pursue your own interests on that day,
but enjoy the Sabbath
and speak of it with delight as the Lord’s holy day.
Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day,
and don’t follow your own desires or talk idly.
Then the Lord will be your delight.
I will give you great honor
and satisfy you with the inheritance I promised to your ancestor Jacob.
I, the Lord, have spoken!”

God’s instruction to Isaiah was to keep the Sabbath day holy.  As Christians, we should keep our Sabbath holy, not pursue our own interests and desires, or talk idly.  If we follow these things, there are things that follow.  The Lord will be our delight and satisfy us with the inheritance that He promised Jacob.  The things that belonged to Jacob, can belong to us.

In 2100BC, God promised things to Jacob that would be available to us 4000 years later!  God’s promises exist whether we know them or not – they are there for us to receive into our lives.

We are a stubborn people, who can make a better job of our lives than God ? We think we can have more fun, more money and a better career without God!  We think we don’t have to fulfill the parts in Isaiah above.  We think we don’t need to go to church, can speak idly or pursue our own desires.  Our rebellious spirits think we don’t need to listen to God, and that we can do it better on our own.   If we do that, we don’t inherit the promises of Jacob.  If we do what God says, we will become a benefactor of Jacob.  These promises go back to Christ, back to Jacob and then back to Abraham.  If we follow our God, these are the promises that come to us.

So what was promised to Jacob that’s there for us in 2017?

Genesis 35: 11-12

Then God said, “I am El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty.’ Be fruitful and multiply.
You will become a great nation, even many nations.
Kings will be among your descendants!
And I will give you the land I once gave to Abraham and Isaac.
Yes, I will give it to you and your descendants after you.”

These things happened!  Kings came from him, Solomon – the richest man – came from him, and the nations were blessed because of him!  Jacob couldn’t do this in His own strength.

That promise that came to Jacob was from God Himself.  If Jacob did what God commanded Him to do, these promises would be fulfilled not just in Jacob’s life but in the lives that came thereafter.  There are promises that come to us from God because of this man Jacob.

Abraham came before Jacob and Jacob continued in what God had promised to Abraham. We read:

Genesis 2: 1-3

The Lord had said to Abram,
“Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family,
and go to the land that I will show you.
I will make you into a great nation.
I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others.
I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt.
All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”

We read that all the families on earth will be blessed through Abraham!  This man had to mentally, physically and spiritually choose to follow after God, after which God’s promises were fulfilled.  This man couldn’t do that in his own right. This man believed those promises were from God.  He believed he had to follow a certain lifestyle.  He believed that the promises would come to him and go onto his children and grandchildren.  He had to leave the rest to God.  He couldn’t work the future of that blessing on the families of the earth, but he could make the commitment to follow God.

From that family tree comes all the ancestors of Christ.  2000 years later Christ would come for all on earth.  And because Christ came, the promise was no longer for Abraham and Isaac and their descendants.  Now all the families of the earth can be partakers of the promises that were given to those men thousands and thousands of years ago.  That’s the magnitude that’s available to us today!  If we walk after Christ and do everything to honour Him, He will be our delight and satisfy us with the promises of our ancestor Jacob!

There are promises that go right back to the first people of God, through to the later people of God, through to us today.  These promises are available for us to walk into if we follow Him with our whole heart, our whole soul and will all our intent.  Through God, through Abraham and Jacob, comes Christ… and there’s blessings throughout the earth!  What a wonderful thing!

Most people who go to church don’t ever experience this.  They go to church and go back out the way they went in.  They don’t follow the principles, the promises and the denial of self that leads to this outworking of the relationship and the future of their family.

We need to follow the things of God with seriousness attached to it, because when we do it according to the verses above, then comes afterwards the promises that belonged to these great men.

Looking forward from Christ – who had a parentage back to Jacob – He too has promises for us.  We have promises because of Christ.  We know that Christ has promised never to leave us or forsake us!  In Matthew 11:28 we read: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  The world knows no rest.  Instead, they get driven.  But Christ promises us rest.  He promises us that He will make us more than conquerors!  He promises us that we will be saved if we confess with our mouths and believe in our hearts.

These promises are eternal and for ever Christian to find and walk on into.

Abraham and Jacob had far better lives with God in them.  They could have chosen to walk away, which would have affected not only their lives but the lives that followed.  Instead they followed God and had a far better lives than anything they could have dreamed or done in their own strength.  They knew God’s presence.  They knew God’s provision.  They knew God’s protection.  And even to this generation today, they know God’s inheritance.  All those centuries later, God is still bringing out His inheritance in those promises.  They could have never done that on their own.

God will be our delight.  He will give us honour.  He will satisfy us.  He give us an inheritance and promises.  And He will bless us.  We need the blessing of God. To have that, we need to keep the Sabbath every day, not purse our own interests, honour God and be obedient.  He will “cause you to ride on the high places of the earth”.  We will be over these things, we will be overcomers in Christ, not fleeing and downtrodden.

Will we do as He asks of us?  Will we seek those promises?  Will we seek to be obedient to what He asks us to do?


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