Friday, June 22, 2012

I'm afraid I'm too small to be used by God

My children are older now; one will leave the nest by the end of the summer. This gives me a different perspective on my life than I had when they were babies. I still remember the first time someone called me my oldest’s mom. “Stacey” was not my title for a very long time, but I embraced the idea. I readily took into my heart that maybe the only way I would be used was as a mother, wife, daughter, sister, and friend.

Watching my boys grow up and out I realize while I will always be their mother, I am more. This leads me to know while I will always be a wife, daughter, sister, and friend, I am also more. The more I am is who I am in Christ. He is taking over those slots that were once filled with dirty diapers, reading lessons, and cleaning their bathroom and filling them with desires of my heart.

I have learned that those relationships closest to the heart are the ones which matter. This is why my relationship with Christ has to be most central. If I am to follow Him then all my day to day decisions, small and big, have to be based off of his leading. He will bring me the next thing to do sometimes, and sometimes He leads me to it.

I have to admit I am still fearful that I won’t live up to some imaginary standard. I’m fearful I will fail or choose the wrong path. I am fearful I will start chasing the wrong things. I have been known to run from God because of these fears, and in that I could relate to Isaac. I have made more decisions based on circumstances than I care to admit. When I first started making decisions based on the way I felt God leading it was scary. I watched things fall apart I never thought would crack. I saw life change drastically, and I couldn’t figure out what God was doing.

Honestly, I still don’t know. There are days I am still just as fearful and scared. Distance, however, has allowed me to see why some steps were taken, and why some directions were given. I can breathe in peace and assurance even in the midst of fear.

Isaac finally allowed God to lead. He chose where to settle based on what God said rather than where the water was, but the water came. It’s good to know God will take care of me as I follow Him. I don’t have to go to the water; He will bring it to me.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The fear we don't have a place in God's promise.


That night the Lord appeared to him and said,
“I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants
for the sake of my servant Abraham.”

When I first read this verse my eye was drawn to the fact God repeated Abraham’s name. My first thought was this was done in order to stress to Isaac he had not made God his own God. When looking into what the words meant in the original Hebrew the only bit of additional information I received was from “father” which could also mean “originator” and “for the sake of” which could mean “marker of cause.”

I realized this was not enough information for me to fully grasp what was being said here, even if it seemed simple enough. {I looked up this section in a lot of commentaries}, agreeing with some I found and not with others. I read through Isaac’s story to see if I could gain any information as to what was going on in this chapter.

Two things really helped me better understand this chapter. {This article over at bible.org} really shed a lot of light on what was going on, as well as this translation of the verse by HC Leupold. “Fear not as to the realization of the promises given thee, for I am with thee, I the God of Abraham, thy father, who never failed to make good what I promised him; I guarantee to make thy descendants numerous, for the sake of Abraham, my servant.”

God was not chiding Isaac for his lack of faith, or stating the promise would be kept only because of Abraham. I believe God was reminding him Abraham was the originator of the promise, but also that he, Isaac, would be the continuation of the promise. God was affirming who Isaac was and his place in the legacy.

It seemed to me Isaac’s fear was whether he could trust his place in what had gone before and what was yet to come. I believe this chapter is our peek at Isaac struggling with that fear, and finally trusting God to do what He said He would do.

Question 1: Isaac finally stopped running from things and returned to Beersheba in order to trust God with the promise. Have you been running from something God has called you to? What will it take for you to turn to Him instead?

Question 2: Do you see yourself only in relation to other people? The one relationship that truly defines you is the one you have with God. He loves you and nothing will change that fact. Let Him speak to your heart.


Lord, I know not how you will fully work in my life.
You alone know the plans you have set in place for me,
  and sometimes I get overwhelmed.
Help me to simply look to you rather than try to make things work.
Remind me often of your unending love.
Thank you for making a place for me.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Isaac's Fear

Isaac’s story runs through Genesis 21-35 but chapter 26 is the only one devoted to him alone. Whenever we see Isaac elsewhere it is in relation to either his father or his children. Some even say this chapter is simply how he related to his father as well, but after some research I felt I was able to connect with Isaac’s story. This is my fictional account of verse 24 and tomorrow we will dig into what is said.



Isaac returned to Beersheba. He had been running away from things for so long it felt different to go towards something. He wasn’t even sure how he felt about being here. So many emotions overwhelmed him all he could do was hope a night’s rest would make things clearer.

That night the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham.”

He breathed deep. “Yes, Lord, you are.” He knew so well who Abraham worshiped. He didn’t feel he needed a reminder. He smiled to himself as he remembered the walks and talks they had shared on the mountain sides. And then his heart grew sad remembering this was the place he had last seen his father face to face. He missed him. He still didn’t understand everything. He still wasn’t sure how things would play out. He questioned his own role and ability.

“Do not be afraid, for I am with you”

Isaac knew this. He had traveled long enough with his father and on his own to know that God was with him. After running for a while, however, this reminder was welcome. The fear in his heart settled a little. He sat and simply accepted these words and the peace which came with them.

“I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham.”

These words he contemplated. His brother, Ishmael, had twelve children. He only had two. Being reminded of the promise caused a little pain, but he reminded himself this was the God of his father. He was choosing to trust him fully. He was done running. It was time to hold on to the truth despite what he felt or saw. “Yes, Lord. I trust what you say.”

Isaac built an altar there and called on the name of the Lord. There he pitched his tent, and there his servants dug a well.

Genesis 26:24


That night the Lord appeared to him and said, "I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham" (NIV)  
The Lord appeared to him the same night and said, "I am the God of your father Abraham; Do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you, and multiply your descendants, For the sake of My servant Abraham." (NAS)  
And the Lord appeared to him the same night and said, I am the God of Abraham your father. Fear not, for I am with you and will favor you with blessings and multiply your descendants for the sake of My servant Abraham. (Amplified)  
And the Lord appeared to him the same night and said, “I am the God of Abraham your father. Fear not, for I am with you and will bless you and multiply your offspring for my servant Abraham's sake.” (ESV)

Bible.org - Isaac Walks in the Steps of his Father - please go read this article.

Hayford's Bible Handbook:: "During famine and conflict over water rights, God reassures Isaac and reaffirms the covenant."

Zondervan Handbook to the Bible:: "Like most of us, Isaac vacillates between faith and fear needing God's repeated reassurance."

Matthew Henry's Commentary:: "When Isaac had come to Beersheba it is probable that it troubled him to think of his unsettled condition, and that he could not be suffered to stay long in a place; and in the multitude of these thoughts within him, that same night that he came weary and uneasy to Beersheba God brought him comforts to delight his soul."

Reformation Study Bible:: "the extensive parallels between Isaac's experience and Abraham's ... are included to show that Isaac was indeed the recipient of the covenant promises made to Abraham."

John Calvin's Commentary:: "'I am the God of Abraham' was intended to renew the memory of all the promises before given."

HC Leupold:: "Fear not as to the realization of the promises given thee, for I am with thee, I the God of Abraham, they father, who never failed to make good what I promised him; I guarantee to make thy descendants numerous, for the sake of Abraham, my servant."