January 6 – Today’s Readings – Genesis 16-18 and Psalms 6
In Chapter 16 we find a powerful, historical account and foundation of many modern day “Arab” nations – people groups who are direct descendants of Abraham through their ancestral mother Hagar. I believe God has a plan for – and still holds a loving place in his heart for all the direct descendants of Ishmael. I know that at this point in history we are having a great deal of difficulty dealing with extreme Islamist groups and individuals who kill thousands with bombs and persecutions and other hate crimes. All these atrocities are committed in the name of a “god” whom they still claim to be “Beer Lahai Roi”, “the God who sees me”. Many Arabs, especially those politically governed by Islamic ideology, still “live in hostility toward all [their] brothers” – and they completely despise the “other” son of Abraham – Isaac.
Remember in Genesis17: 20 when God spoke to Abraham about the destiny of his son Ishmael? – “And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him…” There is no greater “blessing” for any group of people than God’s salvation in Jesus Christ. I believe the Father desires that the entire world come to a place of true “sonship” in God through Jesus Christ – including ALL the children of Abraham. Remember that Jesus told the unbelieving Jews that they were NOT children of Abraham because they refused faith in Him. In like manner the circumcised sons of Ishmael are not true children of God without Jesus Christ. Lets continue to pray for Arab nations and the Jewish nation – God wants to add these people to the Church!
In Chapter 18, Abraham welcomes 3 “visitors” who say, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous …” In Scripture God rarely passes judgment on people before death. The few I can recall include; the flood in Noah’s time – the death of Ananias and Sapphira before Peter in Acts 5 – fire coming out from the Lord to kill Nadab and Abihu under Moses in Leviticus 10.
We use God’s judgment of Sodom as an example of how much He hates sexual sin, and so we should. Remember though, that God also judged people for false worship in Leviticus 10, for spiritual hypocrisy in Acts 5 and for widespread sin of all kinds in Genesis 7. Let us never put one particular sin ahead of another just because one sin is more “socially accepted”. All people who die in rebellion against God will face Him on the Day of Judgment and the consequence will be eternal separation from God. It will no doubt surprise us, however, that some we thought would be heaven may not be and some who we thought would never make it are wearing crowns of glory – only God knows whats really taking place in people’s hearts.
Christians traditionally have a hard time reaching out to Islamists and the Gay community. What attitude adjustments do we (do you) need to make so that you can see these people through Jesus’ loving eyes? Make a list of “outcast” people God may be asking you to pay attention to and begin to pray for “divine appointments” with them!