Waiting In The Gates 6th Jan 08
Waiting In The Gates 6th Jan 08
Heb 11:17-19 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,” concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.
There is a great mystery surrounding God and time – but He is not constrained by our awareness of time – He lives eternity. We see only the things that pertain to our immediate life and experience, everything else is either history – or prophesy – but somehow, in a way we cannot even contemplate, nothing is hidden from God for a moment. He has written down what is to come, how things will culminate and it will not change or deviate from what He has already decreed.
God knows exactly the path this world is on and there is never one thing that takes Him by surprise. WE are often shocked and astounded by unfolding events but somewhere they fit into this prophetic life we are fulfilling – who knows when it is all going to be completed? – If we try to see from this perspective, then to God Abraham setting off in his initial obedience is not separated from us meeting here today – we separate them as history – but Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega.
When we read the W.O.G. We divide it up into an historical, time constrained perspective – we read it as history and as it pertains to events that have already taken place in a distant land – and of course there is a reality to that – but this is the W.O.G. to us and every part of it is as if God were speaking in our ear today. This is the primary means He has given us to know and understand Him – to see His glory and know His Son our Saviour.
When God called Abraham He knew about us! The plan was already in place, as it were. So when we read about Abraham we can see the heart of God and if we look we can see Jesus. This verse we have read is a picture of the Father offering up His only Son as a sacrifice – it is a picture of God offering up Christ and receiving Him again from the dead. Abraham and Isaac, the Father and the Son. --- How Abraham loved Isaac – but he also saw something of greater glory –
Heb 11:8-10 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
Abraham lived this faith, so in his advanced age as he neared death and began to think of going home and leaving Isaac, the son of his love. – His instructions and directions for Isaacs future did not only concern Isaac but were Divine direction for his life and God’s greater purposes. These things we read were not haphazard or chance or good luck they are as much a picture to us as was Isaac on the mountain of sacrifice. ---
Ge 24:1-9 Now Abraham was old, well advanced in age; and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things. So Abraham said to the oldest servant of his house, who ruled over all that he had, “Please, put your hand under my thigh, and I will make you swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and the God of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell; but you shall go to my country and to my family, and take a wife for my son Isaac.” And the servant said to him, “Perhaps the woman will not be willing to follow me to this land. Must I take your son back to the land from which you came?” But Abraham said to him, “Beware that you do not take my son back there. The Lord God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my family, and who spoke to me and swore to me, saying, ‘To your descendants I give this land,’ He will send His angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there. And if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be released from this oath; only do not take my son back there.” So the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and swore to him concerning this matter.
Here the Father is making preparations for a wife for his son, the son of promise. So he instructs his servant – do not take a wife for my son from among the heathen, from among those who do not follow after God, go and get her from among my people.
The servant concerned that the wife he finds won’t be willing to come back to Canaan with him, asks Abraham if he should then take Isaac back to her. Abraham’s reply is direct and emphatic
“Do not take my son back there!” If the woman is not willing to follow – you are released from this oath. God Himself will send an angel and He will prepare a way for you – but Isaac must not go back to the place I was called out of!!
Now you know the story -- the servant set off with camels and treasure, and finding Rebekah – went to her father and told the story of his journey and quest and how God had directed his path and had lead him directly to the well. He talked of his master Abraham and obviously God was directing the whole thing. Rebekah’s father and family agreed and were prepared to release her but requested that the servant stay for at least another 10 days.
The servant reluctant to delay after being away so long and knowing his masters heart for his son said --- look I want to be on my way let’s ask Rebekah what she thinks.
Ge 24:55-58 But her brother and her mother said, “Let the young woman stay with us a few days, at least ten; after that she may go.” And he said to them, “Do not hinder me, since the Lord has prospered my way; send me away so that I may go to my master.” So they said, “We will call the young woman and ask her personally.” Then they called Rebekah and said to her, “Will you go with this man?” And she said, “I will go.”
So the servant, his men and Rebekah and her maids set off across the desert on their way to the land Promised to Abraham. Then we read of her arrival and meeting Isaac –
Ge 24:61-67 Then Rebekah and her maids arose, and they rode on the camels and followed the man. So the servant took Rebekah and departed. Now Isaac came from the way of Beer Lahai Roi, for he dwelt in the South. And Isaac went out to meditate in the field in the evening; and he lifted his eyes and looked, and there, the camels were coming. Then Rebekah lifted her eyes, and when she saw Isaac she dismounted from her camel; for she had said to the servant, “Who is this man walking in the field to meet us?” The servant said, “It is my master.” So she took a veil and covered herself. And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent; and he took Rebekah and she became his wife, and he loved her.
Abraham is a picture of God and Isaac a type of Christ and this whole story paints a picture of the Father the Son and His Bride. Before the Father sent the servant to bring the bride to his son the Son had to be offered a sacrifice and rise again, then the Father sent the servant to find the wife, one already chosen from the foundation of the world – she would not come from the heathen but from a people already prepared by God.
The father received the son as one back from the dead and then had the son wait while he sent his servant to bring the bride home. The servant could not take the son back to meet the bride – the bride had to be willing to come to the son. What a wonderful picture God is giving us here.
Jn 16:13-14 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.
God sent Jesus and received Him back from the dead – and like Abraham, God then sent His Servant the Holy Spirit to fetch the Bride – to go and get Her and bring Her home to His Son – the Son remains waiting in the inheritance the Father has prepared for Him beforehand. He is waiting now, for the Servant to bring to Him a bride who is willing to come. The Father forbids the Son from going back – the bride must come to Him willingly and humbly.
Ge 24:63-67 And Isaac went out to meditate in the field in the evening; and he lifted his eyes and looked, and there, the camels were coming. Then Rebekah lifted her eyes, and when she saw Isaac she dismounted from her camel; for she had said to the servant, “Who is this man walking in the field to meet us?” The servant said, “It is my master.” So she took a veil and covered herself. And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent; and he took Rebekah and she became his wife, and he loved her.
While the Son is waiting, meditating in the fields in the evening –- it was in the evening that God walked in the Garden with Adam – peaceful, quiet, a time of reflection and fellowship – closeness. It speaks of safety, of being in the Fathers will. – Like Jesus seated in heavenly places waiting.
As Isaac waits, enjoying the time, at peace, He looks and sees someone approaching – from a distance, there is a cloud of dust, a stirring – He is unaware of what is happening out there
But Rebekah, the betrothed, the chosen wife – actually chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world – never having seen her Husband – I’m sure she would have asked all the questions of the servant on the journey – what’s He like, is He kind and gentle, demanding or patient. Quite a picture of the Church really – we have never seen the one to whom we are betrothed but we have The Servant to teach us – to glorify Christ to us –
Abrahams servant was excited as he returned with Rebekah – God had lead him, an angel went before him – everything that His master had prayed for, he had seen fulfilled – he was not prepared to linger in hospitality with Rebekah’s family his excitement compelled him on. – Oh I think this is really what the Holy Spirit is like – He has come to glorify Christ to us, His Bride, and He longs to see us with the Bridegroom – I think there are times when He delights to think we might be willing –
Abrahams servant would not have exaggerated he had spoken out of his faithfulness and earnest desire to see his masters will fulfilled. Rebekah thought she knew Isaac from the stories and description spoken by the servant – just as we should know Jesus from the W.O.G. and the Spirit of God – but here we see Rebekah – she has come so willingly – now on seeing her husband in the distance she dismounts from the camel and she covers herself ----
Here is this BRIDE, she has travelled for many days across a waterless desert, she has not had a shower for days, she has not been shopping for the bridal gown, she has not made herself beautiful for him in any way – in fact as she approaches she dismounts from the camel – she would not approach her husband from the height of a camel forcing him to look up to her – she would only ever approach in humility. It is likely she was dressed in the garment she has travelled in ---
Could have been white or died some dark colour – brown possibly – but she would have had on an undergarment like a dress, that was covered with this outer garment that would have gone from around her neck under her chin and reached down to cover her ankles and right down to her wrists, on top of this it says she took a veil and covered herself. Rebekah took this probably lighter coloured cloth and wound it around her head and over her face leaving only her eyes visible.
As she stood there covered from head to foot completely shapeless impossible to tell what she looked like, the colour of her hair, its length, her complexion, her figure or physical appearance in any way – Isaac would not even have been able to see if she had any teeth –– she could have been disfigured, she could have been anything at all under that covering – but you know it didn’t matter to Isaac – he absolutely trusted His Father and His Servant.
He knew if His Father’s Servant was bringing His bride she would be perfect, she would be beautiful to Him, she would be ready and she had come willingly.
1 Sa 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
God is showing us something of the relationship between Jesus and His Bride – The Church –
We have become caught up into the whole thing of how beautiful we must be, of appearance and size and performance – we have become so distracted with being beautiful for Him – of showing ourselves so clever and capable and glorious. But you know His Servant the Holy Spirit is simply waiting for us to be willing. To be willing to go to Him just as we are – with clean hands and a pure heart – that’s how we ascend unto the hill of the Lord and that is where He is waiting –
You know He is sitting in the Gates of Heaven – everyone says it is Saint Peter – but I’m sure when the Bride is ready and willing it will be Jesus who is waiting at the gate! It will be Jesus who stands up to meet His Bride coming – just like He stood for the martyr Stephen – the Son will rise from His Throne to meet the Bride He died for, gave Himself for, the Bride He has cherished and waited for from before time began – all of those chosen in Him before the foundation of the world.
And you know it will have nothing to do with what she looks like – it will never be dependent upon our beauty – because He is going to present us spotless and unblemished to our God and Father – all He is looking for is a willing heart!! – You know we didn’t even choose Him, He chose us – long before we knew, and it was never going to be about our appearance – His blood has washed us clean, His stripes have healed us – He is our righteousness ---
It has nothing to do with our earthly, worldly, fleshly appearance and success – it is that He might see our willing heart.
Re 22:12-17 “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.” Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie. “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.” And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
All Jesus is waiting for is a Bride who will join with the Spirit and say I am willing! COME.
As we begin this year I just want us to realize who we are – not our failings, not our weaknesses, not “The Church” – but chosen and precious and cherished – and already washed and prepared by the Groom – His Cross, His Stripes His Blood – all we need to do is wash our hands and hearts.