Monday, August 6, 2012

Lord, Teach us To Pray! Part 136

Prayers of the Old Testament
The Prayer of Abraham continued...

We know the future of the unrepentant sinner. We know the end result of those who continue to reside in the Sodom of sin, and refuse to come out of it. It is this knowledge that keeps us knocking at the door hoping to get an answer.

We Christians have been called many names over the years, from hateful, to intolerant, to bigoted, but is it not more hateful to let someone walk into the flame without lifting a finger to keep them from it? Is it not more hateful to watch someone going to hell without warning them, pleading with them to turn around?

It is however the way of the enemy to redefine love and make it mean hate, to redefine concern and make it mean intolerance, to redefine truth and make it mean a lie. The tactics of the enemy are well known, and as wise children of God we ought to be privy to his schemes already, and as such be undeterred from our mission and purpose.

When discussing the prayer of Abraham, one can’t help but notice the attitude with which he approached God. Men who truly know God approach Him with the requisite reverence. Men who only have a tangential relationship with God however, seem to lack reverence altogether.

One cannot truly know God and not approach Him from a position of awe and amazement. One cannot truly know God and come before Him slothfully, or as though He was something less than what He is.

When we come before men of power or influence, we tend to do so, being on our best behavior and acting respectfully. How much more respect, reverence and esteem ought we to approach the creator of all that is with?

No, it is not legalism, it is common sense. Although Abraham was God’s friend, although he knew God on an intimate and profound level, He still approached God with reverence and veneration because of who He is.

Genesis 18:22, “Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the Lord.”

Abraham stood before the Lord, and he knew he was standing before the Lord. Even though Abraham was God’s friend, he lived with the awareness of who God was, and acted accordingly.

Abraham acknowledged the authority of God, he acknowledged the sovereignty of God, and he acknowledged that the One to whom he prayed was Lord over his life.

While it is true that God looks on the heart, and it is the heart He searches, and it is the heart He reads, often times our attitude toward God betrays the inner inconsistency of the heart. If our hearts are right before God, then our attitude toward God will mirror this inner truth. If our hearts are not right before God, then this will likewise be mirrored in our attitude toward Him.

Our time of pray is a special experience. When we pray we are communicating and fellowshipping with God. This truth alone ought to stir within us the sentiment of reverence and respect.

Genesis 18:2-3, “So he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing by him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the ground, and said, ‘My Lord, if I have now found favor in Your sight, do not pass on by Your servant.’”

First off, Abraham recognized the three men as messengers of God. On the outside, they looked like regular men, seeing as this is the way the Bible describes them, but Abraham knew instinctively what the human eye could not perceive. The three men standing by Abraham were of supernatural origin, and Abraham knew this instantaneously.

Even though he had a relationship with God the likes of which only a handful of individuals in the history of mankind enjoyed, Abraham did not take it for granted, or think he was entitled to special treatment because of it. He still bowed himself to the ground when he saw the three men, and referred to himself as God’s servant.

Abraham was humble enough to bow himself to the ground before the messengers of the Lord. It was not the Lord Himself who stood before Abraham, it was His messengers, and yet Abraham still saw himself unworthy of meeting their gaze, or standing shoulder to shoulder with them.

God gives grace to the humble. It is a known reality confirmed within the pages of scripture. Abraham’s attitude while encountering the messengers of the Lord and even when speaking to the Lord Himself was one of humility, and God honored this.

Not only is a permissive, irreverent, nonchalant attitude accepted within the household of faith nowadays, it is promoted and encouraged.

If we truly realized who it was we were standing before, coming before God in prayer would never be a casual affair. With every utterance, with every petition, with every prayer prayed, we would exemplify reverence, and come before the mercy seat with humility and meekness of heart.

Few things are more off-putting to God than pride, or a supposed servant coming before Him as though they were the master, and beginning to demand rather than petition.

Yes, I know, it is popular doctrine nowadays to demand of God, and act as though we are entitled, but show me one prayer in the Bible that was prayed from a position of entitlement and demand. There are no such prayers. Every true man of God, every true servant, knew to approach God with a spirit of reverence, and respect, and do so with humility of heart. They knew who it was they were standing before, and though God might have called individuals such as Abraham friend, not one abused this title, or took it for granted.

Yes, God is our Father, He is our Shepherd, He is our Healer, He is our Provider, He is our Savior, but He is also God, Master, King, and Lord. Be still, and know that He is God.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.


Anonymous said...

I agree that respectful reverence and humility are in order when approaching God. But what is your take on 2 Kings 2:14, which has always seemed a bit audacious: "And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters and said, "Where is the LORD God of Elijah?" And when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither; and Elisha went over." I would never have the nerve to address God like that, but then I'm not Elisha. And while I'm on Elisha, what do you make of the bears vs little kids incident?

Michael Boldea Jr. said...

All in due time. Still allot of ground to cover until we get to Elijah. God bless. Mike