When Fulfillments Become Idols : Devotional for January 12, 2022

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Today’s Bible reading from the Five Day Bible Reading Plan: Genesis 21-23, Psalm 107, Mark 8

Imagine asking God for a God-sized request, something that only God could accomplish! Now, imagine Him giving that to you. You have three choices: (1) being thankful to God for answering, (2) taking the answer for granted, believing that God was obligated to answer in the first place, (3) turning that answer into an idol.

Genesis 21 is the fulfillment not just of a request that Abraham and Sarah had, but of a promise God gave to them that, after twenty-five years, He fulfilled. In Genesis 22, God commands Abraham to take his teenage son to Mount Moriah to sacrifice him. Why? “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me” (Genesis 22:12). God revealed Abraham’s heart that Yahweh was his true treasure.

When something is heavy on our hearts (whether it’s a hurt or a desire), that “thing” can so consume us that we begin to worship it–and that fulfillment can become an idol. God becomes a Santa Claus/butler/genie type of deity (which I would submit is no deity at all) rather than One who holds us and our future in His hands to do with what He sees fit as a sovereign, good, able, and faithful God.

In closing, Abraham is a picture of the Father, who did not withhold His only Son from us. God did provide that Lamb, the Lamb of God Jesus Christ on our behalf!

The Problem with Taking Shortcuts: Devotional for January 10, 2022

Today’s Bible reading from the Five-Day Bible Reading Plan: Genesis 16-18, Mark 6

Genesis 16 serves as a prime example for taking a shortcut with God’s promises. In the previous chapter, God reinforced with Abraham that he would have a child. Abraham and Sarah were both 75 and 66, respectively, when the original promise was given in Genesis 12:1-3. Here they are in Genesis 16, eleven years later and get older by the day. Would God fulfill the promise truly?

Here is the episode that turned much of human history:

Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife (Genesis 16:1-3, ESV).

Sarah resented the Lord, whom she believed “prevented” her from having a child. Abraham opted to listen to the voice of his wife rather than the promise of God. Both were shortcutting God’s promises due to a lack of patience on Sarah’s part and a lack of trust on Abram’s.

The result? Hagar’s child would serve as a thorn in the Jews’ side for all of history. Yet, even more this serves as an example for the problem of taking shortcuts with God’s Word. We must trust His plan and His timetable.

Are you impatient with God’s timing? Are you shortcutting His promises? Doing so has consequences. No sin occurs in a vacuum–repercussions ensue in ways we cannot imagine. In Christ, all of God’s promises are “yes” (see 2 Corinthians 1:20).