Sunday was Father’s Day and I’m reminded of dads in the Bible. Two in particular stand out because one troubles me and the other blesses me. One is the story of Eli, a priest and judge. The other is the father of the prodigal son.
Eli’s story begins with his discovery that his two sons, who were priests, were eating up the prime cuts of meat instead of using them for sacrifice. In addition, they were committing adultery with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting. While he did rebuke them for their behavior when he heard about it, there was no punitive action taken when they didn’t listen to him. Because Eli wasn’t stern with them the Lord was going to be stern with him!
“But they would not listen to the voice of their father, for it was the will of the Lord to put them to death. So God sent a prophet to tell Eli of His failure after first reminding him how God favored him to put him in this position.” – I Samuel 2:25
I mentioned that both of these bible dads affected me as I read them.
The next story is a familiar one, often called the story of the Prodigal son, but actually titled “the man with two sons”. It is found in Luke 15:11-32 and it is so encouraging. One of the things I love about this story is the consistent kindness of God exuding from the dad toward both his sons.
1) The Dad possibly contested the dividing of the inheritance, (we don’t know) but he went ahead and gave it to him and didn’t violate his younger son’s will. “And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood.” – Luke 15:12 God is like that with us. He will let us have what we think we want. (Rom 14:5) We need to pray He will protect us from our stupidity.
How does one know for certain what they are supposed to be doing? How can a Christian believer know with confidence that what they are doing for the Lord in their short stay on earth is fruitful and valid and will earn a “Well done, good and faithful servant” from the Lord? For the Christian who has had a legitimate salvation experience and feels assured of heaven, to know the specific area they are to labor in is of great importance. So how do we know what we should focus on and what to drop?
Up front we need to know that a Holy Spirit empowered ministry is far more effective than if we simply ask God to “bless what I am already doing”. With the Holy Spirit’s assistance, we know we are in God’s will because when we walk away from doing it afterward we think, “without God showing up that would not have happened.” These gifts usually come out of an innate God given ability that surfaces and shines as we do them for the first time. But other ones are harder to spot at first.
1) Delight – Psalms 37:4 says if we will delight in the LORD Himself, not in what we do for HIM or what we want Him to do for us, then we will be given desires that we feel are ours (they are), but they have been given to us from HIM. The first aspect of DELIGHTING ourselves in God for who HE is, not what he does or even what He wants done is absolutely essential. Intimacy with God is always first before laboring for God. The Hebrew day starts with a meal then rest. If we know Him, we will delight in obeying Him. This insures we are pursuing His desires for us not our desires (James 1:14) with His blessing.
2) Desire – What we desire to do for the Lord is a big deal and our motivations need to be regularly evaluated. Doing God’s will our way can cause some to end up departing from the Lord! (Matthew 7:21-23) And it is His will to be done, not ours. When we love and behold the Lord, we are transformed into HIS likeness. (2 Cor 3:18) He makes us to look and act like Him. Initially we might have the stirrings of a desire from the Lord to do a certain kind of ministry and until we are mature this can even look like what the bible calls selfish ambition. But our work must be purified and the Lord will even allow us to experience frustration and failure with attempts to do things to break our will. Philippians 2:3 actually says,”Do NOTHING out of selfish ambition”. James 3:14-16 strongly warns of the havoc and damage it causes to people, churches and homes. Our ambition should be from Him.
Three years ago we had Surprise Sithole, a prophetic apostle from South Africa with us for a long weekend. He is one of our friends and dear brothers in the Lord doing an amazing work with the Bakers in Africa. During one of the meetings as people were up near the front he turned to my 8 yr old (at the time) grandson Enoch and prophesied that he was “A Legacy Carrier”. I vividly remember this word because it had such amazing spiritual value.
I have transferred my legacy to my children and one of them is Ryan. Ryan is now passing his legacy of righteousness and devotion to Jesus to Enoch and this word says Enoch will also pass his legacy to his children and that way his children’s children.
What is a legacy? Webster’s defines it 2 ways:
Many times we wonder why things happen the way they do in our lives. We pray for someone to be healed and they don’t or there is a delay in getting a certain breakthrough. Yes, many good things are delayed or don’t happen because we are not doing the works of Jesus or because we aren’t accessing the things Jesus paid for on the cross and we are ignorant of them or blinded from seeing them. Because we humans are not machines, computers or a fine Swiss watch, we can be impulsive, unreliable and unpredictable. We also can be deceived.
We don’t necessarily do the same things every minute of every day and the Fall causes us to have our spiritual senses clouded unless we get help from God. We live in frail bodies of dust, the Psalmist says. But as we digest more and more of His Word and allow the Holy Spirit to change us, we can begin to see things less from our point of view and scratch the surface of seeing a bigger picture, realizing the awesome wisdom of God.
Pastor Marc Lawson
There are 168 hours in every week. The 166 Factor is the answer to the question: "Who are you the OTHER 166 hours a week when you are NOT in church?" Join the community here as we will be discussing this and other topics related to Reformation in the Church, The End of Church (As We Know It) & The 166 Lifestyle.