Advent Devotion for December 1
In lighting the candle, the candle lighter says: “Isaac stayed in Gerar.”
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 26:2-6
2 The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt, but do as I tell you. 3 Live here as a foreigner in this land, and I will be with you and bless you. I hereby confirm that I will give all these lands to you and your descendants, just as I solemnly promised Abraham, your father. 4 I will cause your descendants to become as numerous as the stars of the sky, and I will give them all these lands. And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed. 5 I will do this because Abraham listened to me and obeyed all my requirements, commands, decrees, and instructions.” 6 So Isaac stayed in Gerar.
SCRIPTURE: Hebrews 11:17-20
17 It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, 18 even though God had told him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.” 19 Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead.
20 It was by faith that Isaac promised blessings for the future to his sons, Jacob and Esau. It was by faith Joseph…it was by faith Moses...it was by faith the people of Israel…it was by faith Rahab…
MUSIC: If You But Trust in God to Guide You - Fountainview Academy (YouTube)
SOME THOUGHTS: Did you ever notice that God is not in a hurry according to the way we mark time? We are so shortsighted when it comes to time, another reminder that God exists outside of time altogether. Think about it. God promised that he would be the father of millions of people and that he would bless the line of Abraham and Sarah. When he died, Abraham had exactly one son of blessing. Abraham died still believing God’s promise to him. But Abraham had obviously told Isaac of God’s covenant promise. Then we read where God also appeared to Isaac and renewed the vow he had made to Abraham. Our Genesis passage has these few terse words “So Isaac stayed in Gerar.” In other words, Isaac obeyed the Lord. (Gerar is about nine miles due east of present-day Gaza.) We read later in this chapter that God appeared again to Isaac and confirmed his earlier covenant with Abraham. In response, Isaac worshiped the Lord in faith. Isaac was followed in faith by Jacob, by Joseph, by Moses, by the Israelites, by Rahab, and many other unnamed people of God, all of whom put their trust in God’s promise to Abraham thousands of years earlier. God’s plan of redemption slowly unfolded over approximately 2,000 years weaving its way through the history and lives of very ordinary people who put their faith in the sovereignty of God. There were some dramatic moments to be sure, but that marvelous golden thread of the gospel wove its way to the manger for the birth of the seed of Abraham, the Redeemer of the people of all the nations of the world. Sometimes being part of God’s greater plan is simply obeying his directive to stay put!
PRAYER: Oh, send thy light and thy truth that I may live always near to Thee, my God. Oh, let me feel Thy love, that I may be as it were, already in heaven, that I may do all my work as the angels do theirs; and oh, let me be ready for every work! Be ready to go out or go in, to stay or depart, just as Thou shalt appoint. Lord, let me have no will of my own; or consider my true happiness as depending, in the smallest degree, on anything that can befall me outwardly, but as consisting altogether in conformity to Thy will. Amen. — Henry Martyn (1781-1812)