Pray for God’s Mission in Light of the Old Testament-Part 3
The Bible in 60 Seconds
I just finished a week of VBS at my church. It was a lot fun, but now I’m tired. One of the things we did was explain the entire story of the Bible in 60 seconds. I took away two things from the experience. The first is that it is impossible to sum up the Bible in 60 seconds. The other is that the Old Testament is so foundational. The summary had mostly Old Testament references. It confirmed for me that the Old Testament is very important and I firmly believe that if you can understand the Old Testament, you are well on your way to understanding the New Testament.
Then there’s the book of Genesis. As I go through this series, I picked a lot of passages from Genesis. In a lot of ways, Genesis is very foundational. If you understand Genesis, understanding the rest of Bible will be easier for you. So, let’s continue with our journey in the Old Testament, even when it seems that we are taking a long time getting out of Genesis. As we understand the Bible, we understand God’s mission and we can be more equipped to pray for it.
A Map for the Journey
The Journey So Far
I was the storyteller this past week at VBS. Every night I told the story and recapped what happened in the previous nights. It really is important to take the time to remember where we have been. It gives us the opportunity to see what God has done and where we might have missed where He was working. As you read the next paragraph, reflect on how God is teaching you through this series. Ask yourself where you saw Him working and where you have missed Him working.
We started out by looking at how sin entered the world. It is because of sin that God is on mission to win us back to Himself. Later, in the same hub, we saw that God shows grace to Noah and his family and it is true today that God shows grace. My challenge for you is pray for God’s grace to continue. We then looked at how God revealed His plan to Abraham, that Abraham’s seed will be the means that we are saved, pointing the way to Jesus. I’m amazed that had been the plan all along.
The Lamb Who Went to the Cross
I’ve had two seasons of my life where I was a substitute teacher. I found it a privilege to stand in for teachers when they needed time off. The story in Genesis 22.1-19 is a story about a substitute for a sacrifice that Abraham was asked to make. Before we get further along, open your Bible and take a minute or two to read this story from chapter 22, verses 1-19. You will read that Abraham is asked to sacrifice his son Isaac, the son of his wife Sarah, the promised son to him. The son that he loved more than anything else.
We should pause here for a moment. Abraham is being asked to give up the most important person in his life. Even though Isaac is the promised son to Abraham, Abraham was loving him more than he was God. God wanted to make to sure that Abraham would put Him above anything, including his son. The amazing thing in all of this is that Abraham does go willingly to sacrifice his son. The next amazing thing is when Abraham has the knife up. God stops him and provides a ram to be sacrificed. He provides a substitute.
Isn’t that what God did for us when he sent Jesus to the cross? We deserve to die because of our sin, but God substituted Jesus in our place. It is the ram all over again, but Jesus was the lamb. Jesus loved us so much that He went willingly. I didn’t always think about this when I went to a school to fill in for a teacher, but I wish I did. It is a great reminder of what God had done and what He is doing.
The Ram Substitute
Now it is Time to Pray
Prayer is needed for God’s mission to go forth, because it is God doing the work through us. We can’t do this without Him. Below is a list of ideas to pray in light of what we learned here in Genesis 22:
What are your Isaacs: Just like Abraham, we can have people or things that are from God that we treasure more than God Himself. Ask God what it is that you value more than Him. Then pray that He can help place Him back on the throne.
Who Needs to Accept the Substitute: Jesus being your substitute isn’t like it is for teachers, they get one every time when they are out, you have to accept Him as one. You have people in your life that you want to become Christians. Pray that they will accept their Substitute. Abraham could still have killed Isaac, but instead he took the substitute ram and killed it instead.
Pass Our Tests: Do you know the difference between a test and temptation? When you are given a test, the desire of the one who gives it to you is that you will pass. A temptation is the opposite, the giver wants us to fail. Remember, God wants us to pass. That gives us an opportunity to pray for His help and become dependent on Him as we partner with Him.
- Take time to Listen to Him: This is imperative. If Abraham didn’t take the time to listen and discern His voice, we would not have this story and we wouldn’t be able to glean this truth about Christ being the substitute to die for us. Not only that, but Abraham himself learned that he could trust God completely and passed God’s test.
The Son is Back
Get Out There
Now it is your turn to get out there and pray for God’s mission. Prayer is what’s going to bring revival to this nation and to the world. So, pray, pray, and pray, early and often. When you are done praying, go out and do what God is commanding you to do.