Monday, December 10, 2012

An Expected Light

An Expected Light
A Christmas Study, Part 3

December 10, 2012
Scripture Reading: Hebrews 11

Have you ever seen a child write a letter to Santa Claus? When my son was four, he was quite determined to do so. Having scarcely learned his letters, he sat hunched over a piece of red construction paper with a crayon clenched in his fist. He painstakingly formed the words that expressed his desires to Santa, and with all the faith a child could muster, he sealed the envelope and stood on his tiptoes to shove the envelope into our mailbox.
It never occurred to him to doubt that year—to ask exactly how the letter would get to the North Pole. He didn't ask for delivery confirmation or question Santa's ability to deliver. Oh, that we as God's children, could have faith like that today! We, who have received the fulfillment of heaven's greatest promise into our hearts, are frequently full of doubting. Why has God not answered my prayer quickly? Why do so many suffer? Why does no one seem to understand my struggle?
Hebrews 11:6 says, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” This chapter of Hebrews also includes the account of Abraham, who first received the promise of Christ's coming through his bloodline. Genesis 12:1-3 tells this story.
“The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth [Jews and Gentiles!] will be blessed through you.”
Can you imagine? This account happens more than 400 years after the flood, but before God appears as the “I am” to Israel, before the signs of Egypt, or the Red Sea crossing, or the Ten Commandments. Abraham is living with his family among the paganism of Ur, when he hears a voice telling him to leave it all, wander into the dessert, and sire a bloodline with his wife who is barren. If there was a Chaldean loony bin, it's a wonder Abram's family didn't try to put him in it.
But Abraham had faith and acted in obedience, even though he had to wait twenty years to receive the promised birth of Isaac. So, was Abraham exceptionally spiritual to have walked this road? Actually, he struggled along just like the rest of us. Abraham went down into Egypt because he feared hunger, lied about Sarai being his wife because he feared Pharaoh, and sired a child with Hagar because he thought God might need some help making the promise happen. God had to repeat and reinforce his promise to Abraham several times during the years of waiting.
God did not give up on Abraham. Why? Let's go back to Hebrews 11:6. “... he who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Faith is not a state of being, but rather an active belief that GOD IS, that he is GOOD, and that he is ABLE. This Christmas season, be recommitted in your faith—expect His light! Whatever is going on in your life, know that God is, that He is good, and that He is able

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