"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
September 24, 2014
This week I am beginning a series of devotions (not sure how many weeks this will take), entitled, "And It Came To Pass." Don't worry, I'm not bypassing the fall season to jump to winter and Christmas!
The first line of Luke 2:1 is a very familiar scripture: "And it came to pass." It is how the "Christmas story" or the birth of Christ begins. But we can apply these same words to our lives today, for they mean that the promise of God has been fulfilled. Let's look at some examples in the Bible where God brought to pass His promise.
In Genesis chapter twelve, we read where God told Abraham to leave his homeland and go to Canaan. So Abraham and his wife, Sarah, took all their cattle and servants and left to go to an unknown land. Sometime after his arrival in Canaan, God spoke to Abraham (Genesis 15:1-6) in a vision and told him that he would protect him and his reward would be great. Abraham asked what good all God's blessings would do him, for he didn't have an heir, so everything he had would be inherited by his servant. But God told him that his servant would not be his heir, for he would have a son of his own.
God then took Abraham outside and told him to look up into the sky and count the stars; which of course, was impossible. "That's how many descendents you will have!" Abraham believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith.
Think of this: Abraham was 75 years old when he left Haran to journey to Canaan, and he received his promise of a son after his arrival there. Apparently, Abraham didn't think he was too old to have a son at that time.
But then years passed and Sarah, who was barren, didn't become pregnant. So she decided that perhaps they needed to help God out. So she gave Abraham her servant, Hagar, to Abraham as another wife. Hagar conceived and she and Abraham had a son and named him Ishmael. Abraham was 86 at the time of Ishmael's birth. But this was not the son that God had intended to be Abraham's heir. God's promise was for Abraham and Sarah.
The Lord appeared again to Abraham thirteen years after Ishmael's birth (Genesis 18). Sarah was inside the tent and could hear the conversation. The Lord promised, "I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son." Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, "After I am worn out and my lord (Abraham) is old, will I now have this pleasure."
The Lord asked why Sarah had laughed to herself and asked, "Is anything too hard for the Lord?"
Genesis 21:1 says, "Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what He had promised."
Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was 90 when they received their promised son. They had waited approximately 25 years from the time God originally promised Abraham a son to be his heir and the time he received his promise. But it came to pass!
What God promised, He did. As God had spoken to Sarah, this was not too hard and He was able to perform what He said He would do.
Romans 4:20-21 is speaking of Abraham when it says, "He did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God has power to do what He had promised."
In Genesis 13:14-15, the Lord said to Abram (Abraham) after Lot had parted from him, "Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever."
Now we fast forward many years later to the life and times of Joseph. Joseph and his family were descendents of Abraham and lived in Canaan. But one day, Joseph's brothers became jealous of him and sold him into slavery to Egyptians.
Years went by, Joseph excelled and ended up as governor in the land of Egypt. God blessed him with much wisdom and Pharaoh depended upon Joseph. It happened that a severe famine took place in all the surrounding countries, and only Egypt had food to spare, thanks to Joseph having stored food for this time, per God's instructions.
Joseph's brothers ended up coming to Egypt to try and buy food. Through a series of events, Joseph revealed his identity to them, they were reconciled, and Joseph asked them to go get his father and their families and move to Egypt so that they could be cared for throughout this time of famine. They all ended up staying in Egypt and God blessed them with many children and with stock and wealth.
Four Hundred and thirty years have passed since the time the Israelites came to live in Egypt (Exodus 12:40-41), and the Pharaoh who was now ruling Egypt had no knowledge of who Joseph was, so had no ties or feeling of loyalty to the Israelites who had made Egypt their home. In fact, the Israelite people were so numerous, that the new Pharaoh felt threatened and was worried that they would try and overthrow the Egyptian government and try to rule the land themselves. So he chose to make the Israelite people slaves.
God sent Moses to deliver the Israelites from the bondage of Egyptian slavery and to lead them back to Canaan, which He had promised Abraham would belong to his offspring forever.
Because of the children of Israels disobedience and grumbling and fear, the journey to Canaan took them forty years to complete. Finally, they entered the land that had been promised to them, as Abraham's descendents.
Joshua 21:45 says, "Not one of all the Lord's good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled."
In 1 Kings chapter eight, King Solomon is dedicating the newly built temple and has just prayed a prayer of dedication. He then says, "Praise be to the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel just as He promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises He gave through His servant Moses."
God kept His promises. Even though the Israelites had left the land that God had promised Abraham many, many years ago and had made Egypt their home for numerous years, the time came when God brought them back to that land where He intended them to live. It didn't matter that over 400 years had passed since the time they had left until the time that they returned, God did not forget His word. God did not forget the Israelites. But the time came when God brought them back to Canaan, and all of the Lord's good promises to Israel were fulfilled. It came to pass!
When God speaks, we can be assured that He will fulfill it. When He says He will do something, He will bring it to pass. God is still the same God that Abraham, Joseph, Moses, and the Israelites worshipped. Just as Solomon spoke regarding God's promises, we too can know that not one word of all the good promises He gives to us will fail.
Regardless of how many years pass between the promise and the fulfillment, we can be assured that God's word will never fail. Like Paul wrote in Romans 4:21 regarding Abraham, we too can be fully persuaded that God has power to do what He has promised!
I wonder about the Israelites between the time of Joseph and Moses every time I read Genesis. God had promised them the land Jacob (Israel), his father Isaac, and his father Abram (Abraham) had settled. They had worked the land, dug wells, and built cities there. But even after the famine was over, they didn't go back home.
Maybe they were just too complacent. Maybe they had children that they didn't want to take on a long trip. Maybe they discovered that Egypt wasn't much worse than their old home (especially after Joseph got them one of the best areas). After one generation, their old home probably just seemed like some tale that was exaggerated by old people. And after several generations, it probably seemed like some fairy tale.
There isn't much said about that time. But I wonder about it. Did God tell any prophets to take His people back to the land He had promised them? Did they ignore it? All they needed to do was take a journey to get back to their beautiful homeland, but they didn't. And they ended up as slaves to Egypt.
But aren't we similar? So many people know there is a promise of Heaven, and an eternal life walking with Jesus, and our Heavenly Father. Many times, we refer to that as a journey. But it's much simpler than that. All we need is to accept Jesus as the One who died to pay for all our sins, and turn away from those sins. And yet most people don't. Maybe they have people in their lives who would give them a hard time about it. Maybe it feels like too far to go. Maybe they don't realize how much better this life is with Jesus than without. Just like we can look back, and wonder why the Israelites didn't just go home before Egypt took them into slavery, many people will one day look back and wonder why they didn't just admit Jesus is the Son of God.
1 can crescent rolls
1-2 Tbsp. milk
1 lb. sausage -- cooked
Brown sausage; drain. Pat down crescent rolls in bottom of 9x13 pan for crust. Layer with hashbrowns, sausage, mushrooms, and nay other toppings you may desire. Whip up eggs with milk and pour over top. Salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle cheese over top. Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes.
There is an old song entitled "Old Camp-meeting Days" and the first line is: "Long ago when but a boy in old camp-meeting times....." When my sister was a little girl, she thought they were singing, "Long ago when butter-boy...."
The first line of the song "One Day At a Time" is: "I'm only human; I'm just a woman....." I've heard men sing the song and they change the word woman to man. One time I was at a church singing and an old gentleman got up to sing. I don't know if someone had written the words of the song down or if he'd found them in a songbook, but he sang them as they were written..... "I'm only human; I'm just a woman." Bad thing was, it was quiet as a church mouse at that time.... he was serious.... no one in the church acted as if they even thought anything about him singing, "I'm just a woman" - except for me, my sister and brother-in-law. Thankfully, we were sitting in the back of the church! It struck us all as being really funny and the harder we tried not to laugh, the funnier it became!! My brother-in-law put his elbows on his knees and opened his Bible to try and distract himself; my sister started digging through her purse; and I finally had to get up and go to the bathroom because I was afraid holding the laughter in was going to end up in me snorting out loud!
The will of God will never lead you, where the grace of God cannot keep you. - unknown
We love you!
Loretta & Jon