|These few chapters are some of the most important to be founded upon from the whole Bible. These chapters are especially important for us from the nations, since it is under the Covenant of Abraham that we have been grafted into God’s family. If we don’t understand the covenant with Abraham, then how will we ever understand our place in that Covenant?|
But I’m getting ahead of myself, because while the covenant is important, this portion starts, not with the Covenant of Abraham but with the Call of Abram.
Here’s the call of God to Abram, “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.”
This is the first thing we learn from the Abrahamic Covenant. To join to the covenant of Abraham, we have to leave the world behind.
Yeshua tells us in the book of Luke, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.”
The word “hate” in Greek can be translated as, to “detest, love less, esteem less.” Basically, by comparison, you are to “hate” or “love less” anything that is more important to you than the call of God on your life. If you allow distractions to sway you from God’s call, you cannot be a disciple of Yeshua.
In Luke 9, we read of how the Samaritans rejected Yeshua because “…He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem…” The world will reject you when you steadfastly set your face to the calling God has for you. Yeshua knew His purpose and didn’t allow the things of the world to distract Him. He also didn’t allow the rejection He faced to become personal.
There are two things I want to pull from here. The First
is regarding the idea of being distracted from God’s calling on your
life. Just this past week I listened to 2 great podcasts without knowing
I would be referencing them in this week’s observation. (The links are
below for those who would like to listen!)|
Here are some of the things I learned. “The idea of something being a distraction means that we must have something to be distracted from.” (Note. Summarization. Not word for word) If we aren’t living our life actively pursuing our calling, or, actively pursuing anything for that matter, then we really have nothing to be distracted from. We are living from one distraction to another distraction. We are prioritizing the bigger distractions and getting distracted by the little distractions. In all of this, we are still not fulfilling the calling that God has for our life. The “opposite of distraction is not focus, but traction…” because we can be very focused on a distraction. Traction is “any action that pulls [us] toward what we want to do.” Or, I would say, any action that leads us towards God’s call on our life. Abraham knew God’s heart (as I wrote about last week) and He heard God’s call for his life. A lot of our problems are that we live in a busy world of constant demand and never hear as Elijah did, God’s “…still small voice.”
Secondly, Yeshua didn’t allow His rejection in the Samaritan village to stop Him from His purpose. He didn’t call down “fire from Heaven…” as some of His disciples wanted. Abraham also didn’t want the destruction of those who didn’t agree with him. They both understood that their calling wasn’t just for themselves, it was also for those who rejected them. Our calling as believers means we will have to deal with a world that will reject us. But we shouldn’t desire the world’s destruction; we realize our calling isn’t just to bring life to our families and us, but also to bring life to the whole world.
Right after we read the Fire from Heaven/Samaritan rejection episode, Yeshua begins to call people to follow Him, while others offer to follow His calling. In other instances we see people actually leaving everything and following Him, but in this story, it seems that no one, whether the ones who were called or those who offered, actually end up following Yeshua.
I feel this story is best summed up by Yeshua’s last words in this chapter, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Sometimes as Christians we think our job is to convince everyone to become plowmen and get them to say the sinner’s prayer. This can be compared to someone being recruited for a job, but we don’t tell him or her their job description until they’ve signed on. It’s especially hard when we aren’t living as we instruct others too…This is a big deal! People need to realize before they make a commitment to follow God, what being a “plowman” actually looks like. Because if they turn away, after having made a commitment, they are not “fit for the kingdom of God.”
Yeshua is not a “golden ticket” into Heaven and God will not allow His Son to be mocked. Besides, “Heaven” as everyone thinks—Sitting on clouds, playing harps, with every comfort we’ve ever wanted in life—is not what Heaven is!
I love a line from the song “Revival” by Flame… (It’s a rap song. So, if you don’t like rap, at least read the lyrics to the whole song) The line is, “…everybody wants heaven, but heaven is You” As in, God is Heaven. What is Heaven without God? We have propagated the idea of eternal life through Yeshua, but without the relationship. Of course everyone wants to live in a beautiful, wonderful place without tears and pain forever. But what about now? Yeshua isn’t a golden ticket into Heaven. He is the one who makes heaven the place that it is! Without Him there is no such thing as Heaven! Heaven starts now!
Since I’m stuck on rap songs right now, I thought of another line from a song called “My Portion” by shai linne that sticks out to me. The line is, “I don’t wanna go to heaven if God is not there.” Another line in the song, goes like this, “I was dead, you said ‘live!’ Now you’re teaching me to love You for who you are and not just what You give.”
All I’m trying to say is, our job in the world is not to convince people that they want eternal life. Our job is to “fall in love with God” and bring the world—the people around us to that reality as well. I can’t help reading this without tearing up, because I desire to fall in love, daily, more and more, with the One who first loved me!
| When someone is about to get married, they are obsessed with talking about their future spouse and the love they already share. This is how Abraham was. He knew the heart of God and he knew his love for God was mutual.|
Tradition tells us that, “The tent of the Patriarch Abraham opened at both sides…It was like a double-gated passage.” Why was it like this? So Abraham could see anyone coming from a far distance. (Genesis 18) Not only is Abraham known as a very “hospitable host” but also as a “teacher” of the one true God. Reading through the Bible up until Abraham, we could have thought of God as a cruel character. He throws Adam and Eve out of the Garden, drowns the world in a flood and scatters mankind through the world. But in the story of Abraham we recognize that God actually wants a relationship with us as His people.
Abraham taught all people who came through his tent, not just the reality of the One True God; but also the love of that God—who we know today as—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. What does the name “God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” show us? It shows us that He is a God of relationships! Heaven starts today because heaven is where God is and “now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6)
This week, let us fall in love with God and invite others to join us!
I was amazed how today’s observation came together. I would encourage everyone to continue studying these chapters. There is so much in this portion! I had planned to write something in a different direction, but this email came from a lot of stirring inside me. I hope it stirs you as well!
Links for Podcasts & Songs:
The Art of Manliness Podcast by Brett McKay
How to Become Indistractable with Nir Eyal
The Art of Manliness Podcast by Brett McKay
How to Find Your Calling with Gregg Levoy
Song by Flame
Song by shai linne