God may not tell us what we want to hear nearly as much as what we are willing to hear.
Or it may be that some of us only hear what we want to hear.
Key Scripture: Isaiah 1:19 If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land.
The story we are about to read from Genesis takes place around 3850 years ago, give or take a little, close to 1850 BC, the time when Abraham was about 140 years old, Ishmael was near 55 years old and Isaac was 40. Isaac’s mother, Sarah, had passed away 3 years earlier.
Even though the bible says that Abraham was old, and he was well advanced in age, yet he would live another 35 years. He would see Isaac marry Rebecca, and their two sons, Jacob and Esau, become teenagers. Abraham would also remarry during this time and have more children himself.
Lets begin this morning in Gen 24. We are talking about Willingness.
Genesis 24 NKJV
1 ¶ Now Abraham was old, well advanced in age; and the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things.
2 So Abraham said to the oldest servant of his house, who ruled over all that he had, "Please, put your hand under my thigh,
3 "and I will make you swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and the God of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell;
4 "but you shall go to my country and to my family, and take a wife for my son Isaac."
5 And the servant said to him, "Perhaps the woman will not be willing to follow me to this land. Must I take your son back to the land from which you came?"
6 But Abraham said to him, "Beware that you do not take my son back there.
7 "The LORD God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my family, and who spoke to me and swore to me, saying, ‘To your descendants I give this land,’ He will send His angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there.
8 "And if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be released from this oath; only do not take my son back there."
9 So the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and swore to him concerning this matter.
Amazing, everything hinged on one woman’s willingness. A willingness to follow in this case. Following into the unknown.
That takes something special; something not many people seem to have much of these days: A willingness to trust, trust both God and others.
Fear robs a person’s willingness. What are we so afraid of that we would not be willing to trust God or others?
Perhaps we have never been challenged to examine our willingness.
There is such power in a willing heart and a willing mind.
Willing to trust.
Willing to follow.
Willing to listen.
Willing to change.
Personal commentary on a willing heart.
The story of this personal testimony is not contained in these notes but can be heard at Church Online’s Archived Sermons for this date, accessed through cotr.com.
Kelly Willard’s song: A Willing Heart
If you don’t have a willing heart, ask Him He’ll give you one
If you can’t seem to make a start, Trust in His power
For the Lord of Love is watching you
He knows what you’re going through
He will make a way If you want Him to …
Oh do you really want Him to?
Then tell Him so … Why don’t you tell Him so …
He’d really like to know … Tell Him so.
Even when she did not and did even want to, yet she was willing for God to change her.
I believe that sometimes we don’t hear the instruction, counsel, correction or direction we may need to hear because We are often unwilling to hear what we are unwilling to do.
Jesus faced this same temptation.
* Just tell God what you want instead of letting Him tell you what He wants.
* Rather than follow the natural, humanistic, insecure, untrusting pathway of self preservation, Jesus said:
Luke 22:42 "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done." (NKJV)
The Apostle Paul said that God accepts our willingness to act more than our actions themselves.
2 Corinthians 8:12 For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.
He may not want you to actually go to Africa as a missionary, but He certainly wants you to be willing to go if He ever decides it’s necessary.
Many of the struggles are perhaps more about our willingness to trust God, whatever He may require, rather than about our actions themselves.
As with any parent, you may not want your child to mow the yard right now, but you certainly want them to be willing to if you decide it is the necessary or best decision you have to make.
Sometimes, as we disciple our children and as God disciples us, the requests are but fair tests of our willingness to trust and obey.
Such was the case with God telling Abraham to sacrifice Isaac in Genesis 22.
There is something powerful about a person’s willingness to trust.
Psalms 110:3 Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power …
Are you willing to hear what God wants from you.
Are you willing to listen?
Are you willing to trust?
Are you willing to follow?
Are you willing to change?
Are you willing to hear what He wants instead of only what you want?
Today I want to challenge you Examine Your Willingness. Don’t let your hearts grow or stay dull of hearing. Don’t be hard of hearing or blind to God’s will and voice.
Sure, He may not always tell you what you want to hear, but be willing to hear whatever He says.
He knows what He is doing -----
Matthew 13:15 For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.
What you need is only one word away. Let God know you are willing.