A Daily Dose of Good News
Tuesday, March 2, 2021
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Good morning! It is March 2nd and it’s time for our Daily Dose of Good News and it is glorious outside! So hopefully you can crack a window maybe while you are listening to this or maybe take a walk outside later today and ponder this text some more. But I hope you enjoy the day. Here’s our Daily Dose of Good News from Hebrews 11: 1-3 and 13-19.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.
All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them. They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth, for people who speak in this way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of the land that they had left behind, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, he has prepared a city for them.
By faith Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac. He who had received the promises was ready to offer up his only son, of whom he had been told, “It is through Isaac that descendants shall be named for you.” He considered the fact that God is able even to raise someone from the dead—and figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.
Here ends the reading.
Personally I find Hebrews kind of confusing the way that it is written doesn’t always jive very well with my mind and how I process things. So, in looking at this text, I believe the beginning of this text is looking a lot at our orientation, towards believing in God and trusting in God even when we don’t have the tangible. But, it’s a little bit like stepping out on a tree limb that gets smaller and smaller as it goes, and weaker and weaker as it goes. It might feel precarious sometimes to step out in faith. Especially on those thinner parts of the branches, you know. Are God’s promises going to hold? Or is this branch going to break from underneath me? I think that’s often what faith can feel like, is stepping out farther, and maybe risking more, or being more unsure. Because it’s not as visible, it’s as not as obvious- so it seems like you’re stepping out into a more vulnerable space and place and spot. But that’s often what God calls us to do in faith.
At the end of this passage, we get to the very tangible story about Abraham and Isaac. For many of the gods who were worshipped at that time, child sacrifice was a reality of those religions and it was the norm. So, in some ways, this request of God for Abraham to go and sacrifice Isaac, probably wouldn’t be as jarring to him as it is for us to hear that. Because like I said, it was more common in that day, for people to do that as an act of worship. And yet, Abraham is stepping out on that branch, as it seems to be getting thinner, and trusting that God is going to hold him. Believing in the promises, more than what he sees. Believing in the promise that God said to Abraham: “descendants are going to come through Isaac”. Abraham decides: ‘ok, no matter what it looks like, no matter how thin this branch looks underneath my feet, I’m going to step here anyway, and I’m going to trust that God’s going to hold me. Or that God’s going to resurrect Isaac. Or whatever God needs to do. So I’m going to sacrifice this. I’m going to be willing to do that’.
I think what’s really important in that, is that we may not always think about this, but sometimes our relationships can become idols. Sometimes you see that in the way people respond, around you, to famous people. Sometimes we idolize famous people. Sometimes we can even idolize our personal relationships: our marriage, or we can idolize our children. We can idolize many relationships in ways that put them as the priority over God. What God is basically calling Abraham to do in this is: ‘make sure that I’m your focus. I know you love Isaac. I know you’re super excited about Isaac. He’s your son after a hundred years. I know you’re thrilled! But remember that I’m your God, and not Isaac. Remember that I’m the one who’s your orientation. Remember that I’m the one who loves you and will always take care of you and I’m the priority’. So, it’s a chance for Abraham, as a father, to also reorient and trust in God. In doing that, God does cancel the request, and get another sacrifice. But God is trying to orient Abraham very well in that situation, to looking at God, even in times when the promises haven’t been fulfilled yet.
So I think one thing to consider today, maybe two things to consider today… One is: is there any relationship that you are currently idolizing that you need to sacrifice? That you need to- not necessarily kill that person- (not at all kill that person, to be precise and clear), but any relationship that you need to come and bring before God and say: ‘I probably have this a little bit out of whack. I want to prioritize you, God. Help me to orient towards you and not to idolize this relationship’.
I think the second piece is: are there promises that God has given you, or are there promises that God has made in the Bible to us collectively, that you’re having trouble believing right now? Does it feel like you’re standing on a shaky, thin branch and expecting it to crack under your weight? That it’s really hard for you to trust in God, in that space right now? I offer that, as something to maybe consider and think about today, as well, and to talk to God about, and pray to God about.
Knowing that your God does fulfill promises. Your God is not a promise-breaker. Your God is a promise-filler. And your God fulfills promises to the nth degree! Even when we’re confused by the route, or even when it seems dim and unclear and iffy. You can trust in your God to do that. That’s the Good News for today! Have a beautiful, wonderful day everybody! Take care.