The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.

AUGUST  2004

                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.






A Matter Of Faith

God's ways are not our ways.

by Pastor Joel Lawler

God's ways are not our ways.  If you choose to trust God with your life and receive His gift of salvation, there are going to be times when obeying God will require sacrifice. God promises that if we trust Him and do not lean on our own understanding He will direct our lives.

In the story of Abram who became Abraham, God puts one of his followers to an extremely difficult test.

Abram was seventy-five when God told him to leave his country, family, and father's home for a land that God would show him. God promised to make his decedents a great nation. He was childless when God made this promise. 

Abram obeyed God. When he was ninety-nine years old, God changed his name from Abram, which means exalted father, to Abraham, which means father of many.  God did this because Abraham was to become a father of many nations.

God also said, "I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son."

Abraham and Sarah were already old and well advanced in years, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing.

Pastor Joel Lawler

God did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age just as God had promised him.  Abraham named his son Isaac.  He was a hundred years old when his son was born to him.

A few years later God spoke to Abraham and said "Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about."

I could not imagine how Abraham had to feel.  What was this message that he had received?  Could it really be from God?  He knew it was because of all the times God had spoken to him before.  As a parent, there could not be a more difficult test.

I imagine that this seemed so contradictory to him.  Isaac was to be the beginning of the fulfillment of God's promise.  Along with being Abraham's son, Isaac was his dream, his legacy and his life's purpose.
Abram obeyed God.

Early the next morning Abraham got up and traveled to the place where God had instructed him with his son Isaac.

Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, "Father?"
"Yes, my son?" Abraham replied.

"The fire and wood are here," Isaac said, "but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?"

Abraham answered, "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." And the two of them went on together.

Abraham's heart had to be breaking.

Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar.  Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. An angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, "Abraham! Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied.

"Do not lay a hand on the boy," he said. "Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son."

The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, "I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore..."

Abraham passed God's test.  At the risk of loosing that which was more precious to him than his very own life, he obeyed God.

God fulfilled his promise.  The Jews are the direct decedents of Abraham.

God calls us to abandon our own agendas and follow him passionately regardless of the cost. If we will obey, God will bless us beyond our imagination.