Elevated Eyes

Look above. Fix your eyes on Jesus. See life from a different perspective

Author: Andy Haddow

Threads part 1: Jesus.

The bible is like a massive tapestry, it is so vast, complexed, sophisticated, unique, beautiful and powerful.  As Christians we spend some much time focussing in on little stories and areas, we focus in on individual chartaters and events this is great, though in doing this we can sometimes miss the over-arching threads, storylines and pictures that run through the bible.  Over the next few posts we are going to be look at different threads that run throughout the whole of the bible, I encourage you to take a step back, see the bible as the vast story that stretches across humanity. God longs for you to join him, to take up the threads in the bible run with them and have incredible God adventures as well.

 

Ultimately the bible is His story, and it is now also our story. The bible is about God and it is about us. It is a story of Jesus relationship with humanity, it has the highs, it has the lows. It is a story about God’s never ending pursuit of those he loves. He is never going to give up because he is hungry after you. He is desperate for you to experience His love.

Throughout every page and every story we can see the person of Jesus lovingly outworked.  We see pictures of Jesus the whole way through the bible.  I encourage you to look for Jesus in every area of the bible.  Look for him, as you read the stories how can you see a picture of Jesus and what He did for us in it.

You can see here in the story of Abraham and Issac in Genesis 22 an amazing picture of the love, mercy and grace of Jesus.

After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 2 He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” 3 So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. 5 Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.” 6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. 7 And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” 8 Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.

9 When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.”12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”

How could God command someone to sacrifice there own son, yet ‘For God so loved the world that He gave his only son John 3:16  God asked no more of Abraham than He himself was wiling to give.  God gave up His son Jesus who He loved very much out of chose because of His love for us.

Just looking at the picture here of Jesus, the area called Moriah where they traveled to is actually now where Jerusalem is built, it is interesting to see them traveling in on a donkey, then hundreds of years later Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey as well. In little subtle ways we can see that God is making hints for us laying down the ideas that this God of the heavens is coming, a Son so much greater so much more faithful a son which will be the sacrifice for the whole world.

We see in the story that the wood for the sacrifice was placed on the back of Issac, can anyone see any other similarities between this and Jesus?  Later the father placed the cross, the wood for the sacrifice on the back of Jesus and He carried it.

Later after God has provided a ram for the sacrifice we see Abraham saying in Genesis 22:14 ‘ So Abraham called the name of that place, “The LORD will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.”’

Thousands of years later on the same mountain range, the Lord did provide again, He provided eternally when the son of God stepped in. He didn’t provide a ram or offer a lamb for the offering but He provided the lamb of God the son of God Jesus Himself.  The provision of Jesus for us and for our sins was something that He had planned before we were even born.

This story of Abraham and Issac, just shows us that God knows what it was going to cost him, yet He went ahead with it anyway. God helped Abraham and Issac understand something that day.

God wanted His people to live and not to die.

God wanted to rescue His people and not to punish them.

But they must trust in Him.

God promised Issac and Abraham that one day someone would be born into your family, and He will bring happiness to the whole world.

God was getting ready to bring an amazing gift to the whole world, it was going to be Gods way of telling His people ‘ I LOVE YOU ‘

Many years later another son would climb that hill, he wouldn’t struggle or run away, He would trust his Father He was the lamb of God.

We can see the person of Jesus in all the old testament hero’s we see Him in Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David.  We need to remember that this isn’t neat joining of dots to together, this is a rich and glorious truth, it is the salvation plan of Jesus being worked, in the lives of individuals in the old testament. Just like Jesus is weaved into the lives of these individuals in the old testament He is being weaved into our lives

God has laid messages, a love letter throughout the whole of the old testament about the fact that one day God himself was going to come. He was going to come not to punish his people but to rescue them. God was getting ready to wipe every tear from every eye, the true party was just about to start.

How today are you letting the story of Jesus be outworked in your life?  In everything we do we must let the love of God, the grace of the king and the power of Jesus flow out of our life. We carry the king of all with us into the darkness of the world. Just as the story of grace and truth outworked in our old testament hero’s was just a shadow of the king pointing to Jesus to come, our lives are meant to be the light that points people to life.

 

‘Christ in you the hope of glory.’ 

You are a friend of God

In the old testament we read a story of two brothers Moses and Aaron. Most would say that these were pretty great leaders, leading a people out of slavery and into freedom.

It is interesting why God calls Moses instead of Aaron. If you look through the story of Moses in Egypt throughout the plagues you can see that it is Aaron that does most of the talking, not Moses. Aaron performs the wonders, he holds up Moses arms as he prayed for the battle to be won (Exodus 17:12). He was there on top of Mount Sinai when the law was given (19:24). He represented Israel as her first chief priest (28:4) and he even saw God (24:9-11). Aaron the communicator, passionate preacher, powerful miracle worker must have seemed like the star over his mumbling brother Moses.

But why was it that God picked Moses initially? We see the answer to this in the tragic story of the gold calf. Moses leaves Aaron in charge of the camp and heads off up Sinai to meet with God.

‘When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.” Exodus 32:1

Despite all that he had seen Aaron leads the people in bowing down to the new image, the man that became Israel’s first priest makes them bowl to their first idol. It is clear that Aaron cracked big time, it lead to the death of 3000 people and almost the destruction of the nation of Israel. The cause was people pressure. As you walk your Christian walk you will know that people pressure can be something we all have to face. People will try to pull you in different directions, they will try to pull you in a direction that is not good, healthy or right for you. We can be doing okay most of the time and then like Aaron at the crucial moment when there is a choice between pleasing God and pleasing man, we crumble. Unless we deal with this it could seriously damage our walk with Jesus.

Moses manages to show us the solution of pleasing people. It is being a friend of God! The solution is to draw closer to God so we care more about what he thinks than what others think. Moses has the incredible habit of taking a tent outside the camp setting it up and spending time chatting to God.

 

‘The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. ‘

Exodus 33:11

Time and time again we see Moses and God talking as friends. Aaron followed man’s opinions Moses looked to God’s. Our steps to a great walk with God begin with being a friend of God. Take time out this week to pitch your tent. To sit and talk to God. Find a space this month where you can step out of your usual routine and just spend time being a friend of God. Take some time today to sit with God and just be a friend of the king of the universe.

Investment

‘I believe in you’ Is a powerful, encouraging and gracious sentiment to speak over each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.  But that statement of belief in another should be backed up with investment in them.  If we love and believe our football team is going to be successful we invest time in watching them and invest money in going to see them.  If we have genuine believe in something we invest time in it.

Time is an un-renewable currency.

It is incredibly valuable. God calls us to be good stewards.  ‘As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace’ 1 Peter 4:10

God has given each of us a gift, a gift of time.  God’s call on our life is to be wise steward of time and invest well.  We want to be people that are building for the long-term, as kingdom people we cannot be short-sighted.

If we want to change the world we need to think like kings, kings are big picture, long term thinkers, they look to leave a legacy and invest in future generations.  We are called to reign in life (Romans 5:17) value time highly, believe in people and invest generously in them.

We see so many characters throughout the bible say ‘i believe in you, I value you and I am prepared to invest in you and leave a legacy that will change the world’.  We see Eli investing time in Samuel, Miriam in Moses, Moses in Joshua, Elijah in Elisha, Jesus in the disciples and Paul in Timothy.  In Genesis we see an amazing story of God saying because of your faith in me, I also believe in you, and I am expanding my name and my kingdom in you.  This is of course the story of Abraham, where God made a covenant with Abram. This is what it says in Genesis 17:3-8

‘Then God said to him, “This is my covenant with you: You’ll be the father of many nations. Your name will no longer be Abram, but Abraham, meaning that ‘I’m making you the father of many nations.’ I’ll make you a father of fathers—I’ll make nations from you, kings will issue from you. I’m establishing my covenant between me and you, a covenant that includes your descendants, a covenant that goes on and on and on, a covenant that commits me to be your God and the God of your descendants. And I’m giving you and your descendants this land where you’re now just camping, this whole country of Canaan, to own forever. And I’ll be their God.”

God invested in Abram by making a covenant with him.  He promised, protection, land and a legacy that would last for generations.  God believes in leaving a powerful legacy, He sees you as a king and kings invest in the future.  Use your time wisely, don’t waste it.  Find somebody this month who you can invest time in, speak to them words of life, truth, faith and encouragement, always looking to build them up in Christ.  Invest in the next generation, think like kings and leave a powerful legacy.

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