February 25th, 2018
ICA Sunday Pulpit Message
February 25th, 2018
ICA Sunday Pulpit Message
The Resolution that Isaac Made (Genesis 22:1-3)
<Intro> What if there is no God or no after-world?
The title of today’s message is “The Resolution that Isaac Made.” When people say you are like an animal, you would feel bad because there is an obvious difference between a human and an animal. When there are problems, humans think of a way to solve the problems whereas animals do not. Sometimes, we try really hard, but we fail to resolve the problem. At that time, we think that we can’t do it on our own might and seek the supernatural being. Then we look toward God. Imagine if there were no God. If there were no Creator God or the after-world, how would it be like? If there were no God, who is living a good life? Since there is no help from God, we have to depend on ourselves. Maybe a good life means making as much money as possible and become more successful than others. That is humanism. If there were no after-world, we are bound to only focus on the present reality. The future doesn’t matter; we have to be satisfied right now. That is why the non-believers live this way. These thoughts become an ideology. Living by this ideology, people meet their fate. As Christians, we have to change this ideology that is rooted down in this world. In order to change the ideology, we must change our thoughts. Nonetheless, it is hard to change our thoughts. That is why we need shocking events in our lives.
Most of people have at least one or two shocking events that happened in their lives. Many people’s lives are changed around because of some negative events. Confucius of China had a poor family background. Jinghis Khan who conquered more land than Napoleon or Alexander also had a poor family background. They thought they couldn’t live like that anymore so they worked really hard. As you all know, Oprah Winfrey had a sad childhood memory. As she overcame that scar, she became a star celebrity that everyone likes. Because of the shocking effect, their thoughts changed. Many shocking incidents are positive. When someone finds a role model, he or she wants to be more like that person. During this Winter Olympics, young Korean figures skaters received better-than-expected scores even though they didn’t get medals. They grew up watching Yuna Kim. That is the result of a positive incident.
In today’s Scripture, there is a person called Isaac. We know him as a son of Abraham. An important and shocking event happened to Isaac. Isaac is a person of faith. Abraham had many sons. He had Ishmael though Hagar. Isaac and Ishmael are half-brothers. After Abraham’s wife passed away, he had another wife. He had six sons through that wife. They are also Isaac’s half-brothers. However, Isaac was the son who carried over all Abraham’s inheritance. Isaac faced a terrible incident when he was young. That is today’s passage in Genesis 22. I hope this story becomes the answer of your life. God knows you are here to give worship. Christ is guiding you and the heavenly army is with you. Believe that God has guided you to this church to give His message through the story of Isaac. This is not a mere passing message. It is inside of God’s perfect system.
1. Isaac’s shocking experience
1) Miraculous Birth (Genesis 21:1-8)
2) Becoming the sacrifice of the burnt offering (Genesis 22:1-2)
3) His father’s immediate obedience (Genesis 22:3-10)
What happened? Abraham took Isaac and tried to kill him. Abraham was not crazy. God commanded him. God told Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac instead of a lamb. Genesis 22 is a famous chapter. Abraham showed his absolute faith to God. In Genesis 12, God called Abraham when he was 75 years old. God’s first promise to Abraham was to make a great nation through him. However, he did not have any child. He didn’t have any child even after 10 years. Using humanism, Abraham begot a son, Ishmael, through Hagar because he didn’t have any child with Sarah for 10 years. That was his mistake of unbelief. God did not receive it. After 25 years, Abraham had Isaac. Abraham must have been very happy because something impossible became an answer. At the time, Sarah passed the childbearing age, but as God promised, she bore a son. Isaac’s birth was a miracle.
All of a sudden, God told Abraham to sacrifice his son. Abraham immediately obeyed God. He didn’t even ask any questions. He could have argued, but he didn’t. In the early morning, he took Isaac. He left behind his two servants in the midway, in case they try to stop him from killing his son. Isaac asked his father where the sacrificial lamb was. If I were Abraham, I would sob in tears and give my son time to run away. However, Abraham answered that God will prepare the sacrificial lamb. Isaac almost died from his father’s knife at a young age. Some preachers even say that Isaac was so obedient that he let his father tie him around and kill him. I don’t think that’s true. People get taken aback by a surprising event. Seeing his father trying to stab him is a shocking event. At that very moment, a voice from heaven said to stop. God prepared a lamb for the sacrifice. Isaac witnessed the shocking incident and realized many things.
2. The resolution that Isaac made
1) Meaninglessness of life (Psalms 90:10, Essc. 2:1-11)
2) Powerlessness of mankind (Romans 3:23, Isaiah 64:6)
3) Only Jehovah-Jireh (Genesis 22:11-14)
Although Isaac was young in age, he made a life resolution. He thought that life could be so temporary and that he could die by his own father. How was Isaac raised? He was born miraculously. His parents loved him so much. However, he realized that even the love of his parents does not protect him. Think about how you would feel if the Creator God commanded others to kill you. Isaac realized life was meaningless and that he was powerless. Usually, after encountering this kind of scary incident, people think God is terrifying. They might say that they would never worship God ever again. And how would you think of your father? You would feel betrayed. You might never want to see your father again. Isaac almost died because of the worship towards God. He could have felt that he never want to go to a place of worship. Without God’s grace and His time schedule, people tend to follow this course of thoughts.
Thankfully, Isaac was inside of God’s grace. “Even thought I am powerless and my life is meaningless, I was saved because of God’s prepared answer. I can only be saved when God interferes in my life. Unless God initiates it, I can achieve nothing.” We call God’s prepared blessings Jehovah Jireh. God has prepared everything. “I will no longer live my life based on my thoughts and experiences. Life is meaningless without God. I will only seek God’s prepared answers. I will not carry out humanism.” This means to be imprinted by the Gospel. This resolution was revealed in Isaac’s life.
3. The way of answer that Isaac enjoyed
1) The encounter with his spouse (Genesis 24:62-67)
2) The dispute for the wealth (Genesis 26:12-33)
3) The blessing for the future generation (Genesis 27:1-40)
How did Isaac enjoy God’s answer? Isaac got married when he was 40 years old. How did he get married? He married according to his father’s will. When you are 40, you can find a date, but Isaac let his father find the right person for him. He obeyed his spiritual authority. It wasn’t that his father found the bride. Abraham sent a servant to find the bride. At that time, Isaac meditated on the Word and prayed. This means that he waited in prayer for his bride. Nowadays, not many people like arranged marriage. I’m not saying that it is good or bad.
How you met your spouse doesn’t matter. What’s important is if it’s the will of God. Isaac entrusted his marriage to the spiritual authority. That’s the kind of person he was. He never gave his own opinion. As he was praying, he only looked upon the answer.
Isaac was unable to have children for 20 years, but it didn’t say that he rebuked his wife for not conceiving. He, instead, prayed to God so that she could give birth. Abraham himself didn’t have a son for 25 years. However, Isaac didn’t repeat the mistakes of his father. Around him, they had many children. His half-brother Ishmael had 12 sons, and they, too had children. People around Isaac had children. God promised that Isaac would have children, but he was childless for 10 years. Despite this, he didn’t use humanism.
What was Isaac’s specialty? It was digging up wells. Back then, they had to dig up wells to make a living. However, at that time, his rivals stole his wells. However, he didn’t argue and sue them for the theft but, instead, let it be. Later, Isaac found the source of water, yet he even yielded that to others as well, though this was not because he was weak.
When Isaac was blessing the future generation, he had Esau and Jacob. Esau would hunt and bring meat to his father, so Isaac favored him. However, Isaac’s wife favored Jacob. When Isaac grew in age, he became nearly blind, so he told Esau to prepare a meat dish so that he could give him a blessing prayer. However, Isaac’s wife and Jacob deceived Isaac by posing Jacob as Esau, making Isaac bless Jacob over Esau. Hearing this, Esau got extremely angry and vowed to kill Jacob. Wanting to save his son’s life, Isaac’s wife made Jacob run away so that he can avoid the wrath of his brother. Even though Isaac made that mistake, he was still looking for God’s will. He thinks about the covenant that God gave him when he had twin sons. He remembered the word of God that stated that the smaller will serve the bigger. Though he liked the older son, he blessed the younger son instead. He realized the word of God, and that is why he sent off his older son. We all have our change of hearts, but Isaac continuously followed the word of God. He was the one who put in the effort to not follow his own heart. In all things, he tried not to use humanism. How did God bless him?
<Conc.> Smooth life and blessing of long lifespan (Genesis 35:28-29)
If you look at the pillars of faith, it was Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. The person who lived the longest was Isaac, up to 180 years old. He received the blessing of longevity, and he lived a life without many complications. Isaac only sought God’s will and blessings. For many older generations, this will be difficult due to the things you’ve experienced and the things you’re responsible for. That’s why, without even thinking, you’ll end up using humanism. If God works just one second, he could cure the cancer cells. When he looks at demons, they will disperse. When God blesses you, you will become wealthy with not just one arm but both of them. Today, through the pulpit, God is challenging you to follow this. He wants to give you a long healthy life, and he wants us to fulfill the Gospel. That’s why, until we die, we should not use humanism. This is the mystery of Christ. John 6 record Jesus’ confession: “This is why I told you that no one can come to Me unless it is granted him by the Father.” Jesus confessed that His meal is to receive and prepare God’s answers.
For us, if there’s a problem in our skin, we’ll scratch it, resulting in scars and disease. If you just leave it alone, it would heal naturally. If there are problems around us, we try to solve it with our own strength. However, pray quietly and let God solve them with His strength. This is why we need to seek His will. That’s why we worship because there’s a voice of God within the worship. I don’t know everything; all I do is just give a sermon. In the midst of this, God is giving us a message. If we listen to this, then we will receive eternal evidences. First, seek his kingdom and righteousness. Think about Christ deeply and you will receive the blessings and healing. God will heal your spiritual eyes, ears, mouth, and entire body. When God is with you, you will be healed. When God is with you, everything will be solved. God, who has more power than us, will work for us. God, who is more powerful than mankind, will be with us. See the miracles of God so that He can work in you. God is closer to you than your own skin on your body.
Dear God, we give you thanks. We entrust our lives to you. Help us enter in your power. In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.