Our fifth point is, know the possessor of heaven and earth.
One of the things we see clearly about Abraham is that as he walked with God, God blessed him with livestock, silver and gold.
Genesis 13.2 says, “Abraham was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold.” Note that at this point in time there were no Old Testament laws and no spiritual requirements established by God, but the Bible shows that Abraham was still a giver.
At one point in his life, after winning a battle, Genesis14.20 says, “And he (Abram) gave him a tithe of all.”
Without a sermon on giving, and without outward provocation, Abraham gave to a guy by the name of Melchizedek who was a High Priest of God. A tenth was a significant amount in a wealthy man like Abraham, but he gave freely.
The Bible tells us how and why Abraham gave as he did. Abraham had a relationship with God based on a covenant that he would not dishonour or break.
He said, “I have raised my hand to the Lord, God Most High…”
God was the top priority in Abraham’s life. He did not put God down the list somewhere between the house, the job, the business, and the car. He served God as the ‘Most High’; there was nothing higher in life. So often we put God after our career, recreation, family, or personal ambitions. Abraham said, “I have lifted my hand to the Lord God most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth …” (Genesis 14.22).
Abraham knew the source of everything. God is still the possessor of heaven and earth! You and I are just squatters. We don’t own the earth, although we may act possessive and give nothing to the “landlord”, it is still His. Thinking we own our life and the things around us causes us to be greedy and materialistic.
Psalms 24.1 says, “The earth is the Lord’s and all its fullness.” When you are a generous giver – of your time, your love, your talents, your wisdom, and your money – God will likely trust you with more resources and bless you in a greater way.
But if you are miserly with what you have, why should God increase it? As a Christian, giving honours God and shows that we know Him as Lord. He is the Source, the Owner, and the Provider.
The sixth point is that the consequence of sin is long-lasting.
In Genesis 16, Abraham made what may be the biggest mistake of his life. It brought him great grief and almost cost him his destiny.
After waiting for years to have a child, Sarah, Abraham’s wife, became impatient. She pushed her husband to do something that would hurt their marriage, their family, and their future. She talked Abraham into having sex with her maid, Hagar, so she and Abraham could have a child.
“So Sarai said to Abram, ‘See now, the Lord has restrained me from having children. Please go into my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children from her.’ And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai.” (verse2). Hagar got pregnant and the child that was born, Ishmael, became a source of conflict among Sarah, Abraham, and Hagar.
Ishmael’s descendants became the Arab nations and because of Abraham’s sin, Israel has struggled in war for centuries. The pain and problems that Abraham brought upon himself and his people through Ishmael’s birth seem endless.
How many of us have done things we wish we could undo? Though we are forgiven for the sin, we can’t undo its consequences. God forgave Abraham and he went on to fulfil his destiny, but the consequences were and are still there.
If we could use our ability to look ahead and see the results our choices are likely to bring, we would not be caught in such circumstances. Don’t be tempted into doing something which you know is wrong. The consequences that never go away are not worth it. So always keep your eyes down the road of life, and always consider the consequences of your actions.
Point number seven is, be prepared to stand in the gap for others. For anyone to accomplish a great destiny in God, he or she must have a great heart. The Bible in Genesis18.17-19 shows us why Abraham was chosen by God for such a significant role in human history. The Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing? … For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring Abraham what He has spoken to him.”
Notice that God desired to share His plans with Abraham because He knew Abraham had a heart to fulfil his destiny and build a great nation. He also knew that Abraham would command his children to follow God. And this is one of the signs of greatness: Families that serve the Lord generation after generation.
We must not live for our generation only. We must look further down the track and prepare for future generations by raising our children properly. We must put a sense of destiny in their hearts, and the vision and discipline to go with it. I know that some of us may be thinking that it’s too late for our kids. Remember, the Apostles were grown men when they received their calling from God and remember the Apostle Paul was a murderer when God called him. It is never too late.
When God was about to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah for evil that was in these cities, Abraham showed his concern for people. He stood before the Lord and began to intercede or pray on their behalf. He challenged the Lord about His plan: “Suppose there were fifty righteous within the city; would You … spare it?” (Verse 24). He then negotiated God down to ten righteous. It wasn’t difficult to get God to agree, because He is quick to be merciful. Abraham’s courage in standing before the Lord for evil people, is evidence of the heart of a great man with a great sense of destiny.
Christians must learn from Abraham’s example. There are people outside the church who feel condemned and despised. They may want to know God, but they may not want to come to you for help to find Him. The truth is, though you and I may not agree with other people’s lifestyles, we must love sinners and invite them into our world. We want them to come to know the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved, and find their destiny in God. Christians are not here to condemn and judge, we are here to love and save. Let’s get the heart of Abraham, one that intercedes for and believes in sinners’ salvation, and doesn’t rejoice over their judgment.
Finally, be willing to relinquish everything. In Genesis 22, Abraham faced the biggest challenge of his lifetime. After 25 years of waiting and walking with God, Abraham saw the birth of his son Isaac, the promised son of destiny. Now came the ultimate test. God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac to Him. Did Abraham hesitate? I don’t know. But it seems that Abraham had come to a place of maturity in the Lord where he immediately responded to this command with obedience. The Bible says, “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, ‘In Isaac your seed shall be called, concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.” (Hebrews 11.17-19).
Abraham loaded up his donkey, and headed to the mount to build his altar of sacrifice. He placed his son Isaac on the altar and as he was about to strike and kill him with a knife, God said: “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” (Genesis 22.12).
Abraham’s commitment had met the test. He was willing to relinquish the most valuable thing in his life for the fulfilment of his destiny.
You and I will not be called upon to sacrifice our children, but there will be tests along the way to our destiny. Are you willing to relinquish the most valuable thing in your life? Maybe it’s your career, your title, or your office. Maybe it’s your image, or a place in society. Maybe it’s the material possessions we prize and admire.
Abraham lived for a higher purpose, a higher calling. He had a strong sense of destiny, so the sacrifice would be performed, because it is another step to the fulfilment of God’s destiny, will and plan.
People may ask you, as they’ve asked me: What is it that keeps you going? My answer is this: “I hear the call of destiny in my spirit. I desire to fulfil my destiny and hear the Lord say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” That is the reason why I live, and the reason why I lay it all on the altar of sacrifice. It’s all God’s way, so what have you got to loose, and what have I got to lose?
The key to Abraham’s success was this: He believed God. Faith in God, through Jesus Christ, is the only hope for realizing your destiny. In the Bible, the book of Romans 4.3 says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
Let me conclude by saying: The sooner you develop strong faith in God, the sooner you will get down the road to your destiny.
Enjoy your weekend and give God a thought.
Pastor Tevai Matapo,
Assembly of God