Sep 22, '08 6:21 PM

Good Morning to all of you blessed people!  Brace Yourself!  This is gonna be an incredible day!  Ooooops...... Gotta re-phrase that.  Make that a "credible" day.  Wouldn't want you to think the events of this day weren't credible.

I was browsing through my Webster's Unabridged Dictionary the other day and found that the prefix "in-" generally means "not" or "lacking;" e.g., inability, inadequate, insincere, etc.  That said, shall we have a "credible" or perhaps "spectacular" day?  Yup.  We shall.

Both the French Press and Expresso machine are working today, and the aroma of both fill my office.  If you're out and about, stop by and join me in a cup of some good, really dark Columbian mixed with some organic beans from
IndonesiaGooooooooooooddddd Stuff!  Mmmmmmm.......

My intention (and we'll see how that goes!) is to finish up today with the events out of the life of Abraham that made him the identification mark of God's Blessing for His people.  That means we'll probably run quite a bit longer in today's Coffee Break than usual.  We'll take a break from this series on Kingdom Economics for a couple of weeks while I address some other things that have been heating on the back burner.  When we return to this series, we'll talk some about Seed Faith, and then we'll wrap up this series with four or five discussions on a practical opportunity for believers to deal with debt, canceling debt, and operating from a surplus.

FYI, we've been in the midst of the Days of Refreshing, (showing it on the big screen here at River Worship Center) which is a conference at Eagle Mountain International Church (EMIC) in Fort Worth, Texas.  That's why this post is running later than normal.  We've had one session with Kenneth Copeland, five with Keith Moore and five with Billye Brim -- three of which included music ministry by Phil Driscoll.  The moving of the Holy Spirit has been nothing less than revelatory!  To see people moving in spontaneous praise and worship in much the same way Della and I do is a blessing.

In K-E XXXIII we finished up talking about Abraham's screw-up when he took Sarah's servant Hagar to wife in order to have a son, and wound up with Ishmael.  That it was a bad blunder on Abraham's part became obvious, not only in Abraham's time and throughout history but in our present day as well, when we realize that a good part of Israel's problems today stem from its having to deal with the descendants of Ishmael.  It is a lesson none of us should ever forget!

You simply cannot help God accomplish His Word -- especially when you try to work things out by eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and using human logic.  It just doesn't work!  Proverbs 26:2 tells us, "As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come."  The corollary to that is that the curse caused comesIsrael has suffered throughout history from the curse of an Ishmael.

Trying to do things using human logic is nothing less than attempting to accomplish spiritual ends by fleshly or carnal means.  God's promises to Abraham weren't going to be accomplished with Abraham's help or trying to figure things out.  Those promises were going to take place through the activation of faith -- and faith is fundamental to seeing any manifestation of God's supernatural promises in the natural realm.

As we've already noted, the mercy of the Lord endures even in the midst of our screw-ups; and when faith is present God sees past the failings of our flesh and keeps His Word to us.

Thirteen years after Ishmael was born, the Lord God once again appears to Abraham in person and reveals Himself as El Shaddai (The Omnipotent, The All-Powerful) for the first time, "I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly."

Abraham's reaction was roughly the same as any of us would have if the Lord God appeared to us in person.  He fell flat on his face.

And the Lord continues, "As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations."

Now God is going to institute prophetic change in Abraham.  His name is officially going to change.  His character and personality and makeup are going to change.  From this moment forward, every time Abraham speaks his name and answers to "Abraham" instead of "Abram," he will be prophesying his own future and his future generations. Instead of being "exalted (or high) father," (this was more a title of honor and respect than the name of a progenitor) he will now be declaring himself to be, "father of a multitude" (or one who has generated and propagated a countless number of offspring).

"As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.  Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.  And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.

"And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.  And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.  And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.

"This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.  And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.  And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.  He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.  And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.

"And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be.  And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her."

The very thought of Sarah -- who is now 89 years of age -- is hilarious to Abraham, and he reacts with a belly laugh.  "Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?  And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!"

Now the Lord emphasizes the fact that this child -- born under supernatural circumstances -- is the promised seed of His covenant, and that while Ishmael will be blessed and produce kings and nations, he cannot (for obvious reasons) be the heir of this covenant of blessing God has made with Abraham, despite Abraham's great love for Ishmael..

"And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.  And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.  But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.  And he left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham."

I wish I had time in this Coffee Break to amplify this event further, but this would become a book were I to do so.  Let's quickly skim over a couple of events that follow and get to Abraham's real test of faith.

The Lord appears once again to Abraham a matter of perhaps three months later to emphasize the fact that Sarah is going to bear him a son, and that he is to call his name Isaac.  Further, He tells Abraham that Sarah's youth is going to be restored so that she can bear children.  Without getting into all the details, God tells Abraham that He is about to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities of the plain because of their extreme wickedness and sexual perversity.  Abraham, emboldened by his ongoing relationship with God, argues with Him and gets Him to agree that if there are no more than ten righteous dwelling in Sodom He will not destroy the city.

With Lot's removal from Sodom, God rains down fire and brimstone from Heaven and literally wipes out the cities just as He promised.  The smoke that fills the region from the burning cities is so great as to affect the country, so Abraham picks up his household and heads west toward Gerar, a Philistine city roughly ten miles from the coast of the Mediterranean.

Despite Sarah's pregnancy, the supernatural restoration of her youth brings back her stunning beauty.  Abraham falls back into the trap of his earlier years and tells people that Sarah is his sister.  Abimelech, the Philistine king, hears of Sarah's beauty (just as Pharaoh had some twenty-odd years earlier), sends for Sarah and takes her into his household with the intention of making her his wife!  And Sarah is nearly ninety years old!  That was never going to fly, and God warns Abimelech, "Hands off!"

I don't have time today to go into this, but when you consider that there were two attempts to take Sarah away from Abraham, it becomes very clear that Satan was making every effort to thwart God's plan for a chosen people in the earth.  Were he to have succeeded, it would also have interfered with God's plan for the coming of the Messiah, the Redeemer, to redeem the human race from the curse brought upon mankind by Adam's sin.

Just as God promises, Sarah bears Isaac.  The contention between Hagar and Sarah soon becomes so great that Abraham is forced to send Hagar and Ishmael away.

The years pass as Isaac grows into manhood.  The Jewish Historian, Josephus, (Antiquities of the Jews) suggests that Isaac was now 25 years of age.  The ancient book of Jasher states that he was 27 years of age, and other historians propose that Isaac was nearer 30.  Whatever his actual age, Isaac was approaching the traditional point in his life (middle-eastern tradition puts it at 30 years of age) when he would be regarded a man and given all the rights of "sonship" as a mature heir to his father's holdings.

(Note:  We see this picture of full "sonship" numerous times in Scripture: Joseph, age 30 when he becomes Prime Minister of Egypt; David, age 30 when he becomes King of Israel; and -- most notably -- Jesus, age 30 when He is baptized in the River Jordan and God the Father speaks from Heaven saying, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.")

(The Hollywood-ized movies which show Isaac as being anywhere from 8 to 13 years of age at the time of Abraham's test are pure fantasy.)

God now speaks to Abraham and puts His covenant with him on the line.  "And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt (the Hebrew word here is nasah, which means to prove -- in the sense of God's demonstrating the proof of what He had worked in Abraham's life and characterAbraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.  And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of."

Funny thing.  Why didn't God ask Abraham to do this years earlier?  Why did He wait until Isaac was nearing the point where he would be regarded as the full heir to all that Abraham had?  The answer should be obvious.  God withheld absolutely nothing from Abraham in blessing him.  In order for him to become the standard-bearer for the Blessing and a symbol of God's economy, he likewise had to be willing to withhold nothing from God.  Isaac -- at this point in Abraham's life -- represented the totality of Abraham's future, his seed, and all that God had promised him.

And we can see by Abraham's responses that his faith in God and his faith God's covenant with him was totally anchored and secure.

Genesis 22:5 tells us, "And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you."

Get it?  Abraham, by now, was so established in faith that there was no doubt God would raise Isaac from the dead if need be and re-create him from the ashes of the sacrifice in order to keep His covenant promises.  Sure enough, when Isaac was bound and laid on the altar, and Abraham stretched forth his hand with the knife in preparation to kill him, the angel of the Lord stops him.

"And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.  And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son."

Did his faith pay off?  Did it ever!  This would be the last time that Abraham would ever be put to the test.  The Blessing of Abraham was now etched in his character -- and in the character and makeup of Isaac as well.  (I've marveled at the obedience of Isaac in this event, and his willingness to be sacrificed.  That covenant had to be well-established in Isaac's makeup by this time.)

"And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice."

Has the Blessing of Abraham become established now in your understanding?  Now you understand why the apostle Paul wrote, "Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.  Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.  And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.  So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham." (Galatians 3:6-9)

Again Paul writes, "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith."  (Galatians 3:13-14)

There you are, folks!  The Blessing of Abraham is foundational to the economy of God's Kingdom.  It is foundational to our securing the blessing that makes us citizens of the Kingdom.  It is integral to all that we receive as citizens: salvation, healing, deliverance, prosperity, safety, wholeness in every area -- you name it!

And we will return to this topic again in a couple of weeks.  Next: Lakeland Revisited.

If you want to prosper in the physical, material world, you must first prosper in the spiritual world.

The Blessing of the Lord: it makes rich and He adds no painful toil and sorrow!  (Proverbs 10:22)  Be blessed! 







Regner A. Capener

Sunnyside, Washington 98944

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