7 March 2012
Theme: Connecting with God
Topic: The Divine invitation
Reading: Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said to him, ‘I am God Almighty;* walk before me, and be blameless.2And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will make you exceedingly numerous.’3Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him,4‘As for me, this is my covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations.5No longer shall your name be Abram,* but your name shall be Abraham;* for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations.6I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you.7I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring* after you. 15 God said to Abraham, ‘As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name.16I will bless her, and moreover I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall give rise to nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.’
Connecting with God in most occasions arise from answering an already made call from God. A call to be His, live for Him alone and a call to love Him and be loved by Him. It is very clear from the Scripture that God chooses His people. But then one may say that God is not fair; well all I know is that He is good and just and knows what is best for His creation. He knows us more than we know ourselves and has sent out His invitation to all mankind that all who answer the call will enter into fellowship with Him. The call to connect with God is backed with blessings too numerous to list here. He is a faithful God and is worthy of all our praise and worship. He called us before we came into existence and still calls us daily to walk with Him and be blessed.
1. Why did God call Abraham to walk with Him and what are the lessons for us today?
Genesis 12:1, 17:1
12:1 Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.
17:1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said to him, ‘I am God Almighty;* walk before me, and be blameless.
I do not call you servants* any longer, because the servant* does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.16You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name.
Ephesians 1:3-4, 11-14
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,4just as he chose us in Christ* before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love.11In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance,* having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will,12so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory.13In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit;14this* is the pledge of our inheritance towards redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory.
1 Peter 2:9-10
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people,* in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
2. God pledged to bless Abraham with numerous blessings; list as many as possible and relate them to God’s promise to us today.
Genesis 12:2-3, 17:2-7
I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.3I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’*2And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will make you exceedingly numerous.’3Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him,4‘As for me, this is my covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations.5No longer shall your name be Abram,* but your name shall be Abraham;* for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations.6I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you.7I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring* after you.
He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will,6to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace8that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight9he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ,10as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
3. What should be our response to the invitation to walk with God?
Genesis 12:4-5, 17:3-4
So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.5Abram took his wife Sarai and his brother’s son Lot, and all the possessions that they had gathered, and the persons whom they had acquired in Haran; and they set forth to go to the land of Canaan. When they had come to the land of Canaan,3Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him,4‘As for me, this is my covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations.
For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith.14If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void.
4. List some of the factors that hinder us from answering the divine invitation. How do we deal with them?
He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.35For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel,* will save it.36For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life?37Indeed, what can they give in return for their life?38Those who are ashamed of me and of my words* in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.’
As they were going along the road, someone said to him, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’58And Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.’59To another he said, ‘Follow me.’ But he said, ‘Lord, first let me go and bury my father.’60But Jesus* said to him, ‘Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.’61Another said, ‘I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.’62Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts a hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’
Romans 4:16, 18-25
For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us,18Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become ‘the father of many nations’, according to what was said, ‘So numerous shall your descendants be.’19He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already* as good as dead (for he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb.20No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God,21being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.22Therefore his faith* ‘was reckoned to him as righteousness.’23Now the words, ‘it was reckoned to him’, were written not for his sake alone,24but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead,25who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification.
The invitation God has made to all mankind to connect with Him is through Christ alone. Let us answer the call daily that His blessings will continually be upon us.
Lord give us your grace to pick up our cross and follow you everyday of our lives. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.