This devotional is a continuation of that which was introduced
in the previous devotionals entitled: The Effect of Faith
on the Home and
Home-Making in the Promised Land
The next phrase, "made
his home in the promised land," is hugely impacting
for us. Abraham's faith had everything to do with God leading
him to settle in the land of promise. You see, the Bible
says that when Abraham set out from his homeland to go where
God led him, to some land of promise somewhere, all he had
to go on was his faith. God just said, "Go." There
was no mapsco, no mapquest, no atlas, no directions, no
travel agent, and no safari guide. He walked by faith and
stopped by faith, all at the word of the Lord.
I mean, there were probably
times when God said, "Just keep walking, just keep
walking…" and he did. The question, "Are we there
yet?" probably seemed like a perpetual question because
Abraham couldn't answer it. He didn't know where "there"
was. But when he got "there" by faith, he made
Now here's where his faith
was really tested. God told him to make his home there,
right there. Just like you didn't know your neighbors when
you moved into your new neighborhood, neither did Abraham
know his new neighbors. I mean, they could have been cannibals
for all he knew. They could've attacked him and carried-off
his wives and daughters. Or worse.
But Abraham's worst fears would
come true during his neighbor's time of sacrifice. He could
have lived with cannibals; he could have endured a lot.
He might have even been successful fighting off attackers.
But his home and his faith were never more tested than when
they heard the awful, shrill cries of children being sacrificed
to their parents' false gods. He must have asked, "Why,
God? Why did you lead me here? When will it all stop? How
long do I have to listen to the cries of children? Oh, I'm
so glad I serve You, God. I mean, I know You." And
then perhaps he muttered under his breath, "At least
I know God would never ask me to sacrifice Isaac to Him
like all these other families are sacrificing their children
to their gods. If he did, I don't know if I could do it.
Do I love God that much?"
The important lesson we learn
about our homes here is that our homes are not God's homes
until we answer this question…in the affirmative. They are
just our homes. The kicker here is that it applies
to the home just as much as it is does to the church. Our
homes just produce what we can produce, but God's
homes produce what God can produce. I don't know
about you, but if my home was not God's home, I'd be scared
Friend, understand that the
leader of every home is, at one time or another, at least
once in his or her life, faced with life's ultimate question:
"Do I love God that much?" It may not be in relation
to sacrificing your son on an altar to God, but it will
test your faith equally so. And, like Abraham, your answer
must be, "Yes!" if you are to please God.
You might balk and say, "Hey,
wait a minute! That's easy for you to say, you're a preacher."
My response to that is twofold: first, yes I am a preacher,
but I'm first a husband and a father and I face the same
trials, tribulations, heartaches, and doubts as do you.
Second, it's not me saying it, it's God. You see, the leader
of every home is faced with this question at least once.
If you've never faced it, you will. You must.
Someday I'll tell you about
my time. Right now I want to tell you about Lygia's. It
was a little more than four years ago. We had gotten Grayson
from Romania in October and were moving excitedly toward
the January birth of Jonah. The day finally arrived. We
were so excited. We arrived early at Medical City in Dallas
and got Lygia all hooked up to be induced. When Jonah was
born, we were elated. We gently held him and cuddled him
for nearly an hour. The nurse said it was time to take him
to the nursery to weigh and measure him and that we could
see him again soon. A very long time went by. They never
brought our baby back. Lygia's motherly instincts kicked
in and I was quickly dispatched to the nursery to see if
there was a problem. There was.
One of Jonah's lungs had filled
with fluid during delivery. He was breathing so hard that
he punctured the inner lining of the fluid-filled lung and
an ever growing bubble of air was filling the space between
the inner lining and outer lining. In the meantime, he collapsed
the other lung. It didn't look good for the little guy.
In fact, it looked very badly for him. Jonah was rushed
into NICU and every conceivable place on his body had a
tube or something sticking out of it.
When the pediatrician came
to visit with Lygia, he told her Jonah had about a 50/50
chance at best. To add to her trauma, in the days that followed,
her doctor discharged her and instructed her to go home.
"Without my baby?" she asked through the tears.
We couldn't afford a room for her to stay in until the baby
was alright, so we prayed and God, who is so good, provided
a room in which she stayed for the next several days so
that she could be near our son. We prayed, our church prayed,
many of you prayed that Jonah would pull through. They needed
to do a very invasive procedure to try to fix the punctured
lung. They wanted to stick a needle through his side and
into that part of the lung that had the air bubble and suck
out that air. They thought that when the inner lining went
back into place, it would naturally heal and be alright.
It worked. Still, Jonah's future was very unsure. Lygia
and I felt that since there was nothing I could do that
I'd fill my pulpit on Sunday morning and that she'd just
stay at the hospital and pray. It was on that morning that
God brought her to her Abraham-and-Isaac moment.
During an extended time in
the Word and in prayer, she was finally able to totally
give Jonah to the Lord, to do with as He wanted, to not
assume ownership but to acknowledge that he was a gift from
the Lord and that if God wanted to take him home, it was
really okay. Lygia and God had a sweet time together and
when it was over, she felt impressed to go back into the
NICU to check on the boy. When she walked in, she couldn't
find him. She feared that God had chosen to take him and
that was so sad, but okay. And then the nurse came over
and asked if she wanted to see her baby. She said, "Yes,
but I can't find him." He was right there all the time.
She just hadn't recognized him because God had healed him
so completely that they had removed all the tubes. She hadn't
seen him without the tubes but now her heart was overjoyed
at the goodness of God.
You see, in the end, Abraham's
response was, "Yes, I do love God that much. Whether
or not I understand it, I will walk in obedience to the
God that I wholly and completely trust. If I don't follow
Him wholeheartedly, how can I truly be the leader of my
home? How can I lead my wife and children where I've not
walked? How can I tell them to go by faith where I wasn't
willing to go?"
The impact of faith on home
and family is more powerful than I know how to express.
Some of you have already been faced with the question that
was to determine the usefulness of your life and home. Some
of you answered God negatively and need to repent of that
today. Some of you have refused to answer God, hoping against
hope that He'd go away. He won't. He's patiently waiting,
but His patience has a limit.
It's time to decide, and it's
time to decide for God! Some of you try to distract
God by starting a ministry or by doing something for Him.
He just wants your heart. He's not interested in all that,
in all the things you try to do for Him, especially if you're
doing them to distract Him from the real issue at hand.
He wants your heart because, without your heart, your home
will never be all God wants it to be. Abraham said yes,
and his faith and his home were made complete. What will
your answer be today?