Sunday, November 18, 2012

Vision Beyond The Moment


When I think of someone who had vision beyond the moment, I am drawn to Abraham.  Specifically the moment when he was asked by God to sacrifice his son, Isaac.  Let’s look at that passage in:

Genesis 22 (NKJV)

Allow me to catch us up on the story: This is after Abraham had prayed, believed God and had waited for the miracle of Sarah getting pregnant for over 25 years.  Abraham has his promised son from his true love, Sarah.  Isaac is the promised son through whom God will bless all of Abraham’s descendants. Just as everything seems to be going ok …

1 ¶  Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am."
2  Then He said, "Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you."
3 ¶  So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.
4  Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off.
5  And Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you."
6  So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together.
7  But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, "My father!" And he said, "Here I am, my son." Then he said, "Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?"
8  And Abraham said, "My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering." So the two of them went together.

The story continues with Abraham building an altar, placing the wood in its place, binding Isaac, and laying him on the altar. Just as Abraham was ready to slay his son, an angel of God interrupted him. 

Genesis 22
11 ¶  But the Angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, "Abraham, Abraham!" So he said, "Here I am."
12  And He 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."
13  Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son.
14  And Abraham called the name of the place, The-LORD-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, "In the Mount of The LORD it shall be provided."

How in the world was Abraham able to go that far without complaint? What possessed him with the courage to trust God in this moment? Abraham evidently saw beyond his moment. We often call that a vision.

In the New Testament tells us more about this moment.

Hebrews 11
17  By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son,
18  of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.”
19  He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.

Abraham considered the future and saw beyond his moment – and what he saw didn’t worry him, because he saw God bigger than his moment.

Jesus also saw beyond His moment.  He is our example.

Hebrews 12:2  Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Jesus simply looked beyond the moment and saw God was still there.

Many times we must look through the fog of our moment and see God both with us and on the other side, waiting for us to come through.

Life is a process and God is the only One Who knows how this thing works. Life is more than our moment and God is greater than our moment – in fact – God is our life! … to know God is to know that:

2 Corinthians 4
17  Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,
18  while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Often we must close our eyes and open our heart to the faith which can only come from knowing God. Often we must trust in a vision beyond our moment.

Three Elements Of A Vision

1.  The Burden Of A Vision
The burden of seeing beyond your moment is that it enjoins us to trust God - even so often when others cannot yet see and will not yet go without complaint.  Such was the case with Moses and the children of Israel.

2.  The Benefit Of A Vision
The benefit of seeing beyond your moment is that it gives you faith to trust God like Joshua and Caleb who had faith that God would cause their enemies to fall.  When others hearts fail them, yours is strong.  You understand their fear but you do not share in it.

3.  The Blessing Of A Vision
The blessing of seeing beyond your moment is that afterward everyone else will see then what perhaps few can see now.

Genesis 22
15 ¶  Then the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time out of heaven,
16  and said: "By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son
17  "blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies.
18  "In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice."

So much may depend on you seeing beyond your moment and enduring this moment while you continue to trust God. When you get to the other side, God will still be there and His love, kindness, mercy and justice will then be evident.

This morning I would like to pray for those of you who may be facing a moment of which you had rather not face. 

I want to pray for you to have vision beyond your moment and to catch a spiritual glimpse of God on the other side of this problem.

How can you make sure it is God’s vision and not just wishful thinking. Test it against:
        *  God’s revealed word
        *  God’s known will
        *  God’s continuing way

Then:  Open your heart to God and let Him guide you through the fog to catch a glimpse of God’s blessing waiting just on the other side of your obedience.

Instead of focusing on the problem, focus rather on the goodness and the grace of God and let Him give you a ‘vision beyond your moment‘.