I have always been fascinated by the I AM statements God makes about Himself in the Bible. They convey the power, majesty and greatness of God and increase my trust in who God is. The second I AM proclamation I’m going to look at is in Genesis 22 and was made before God’s revelation of I AM Who I AM in Exodus. This was made to Abraham on Mt Moriah where he went to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, by God’s direction. Isaac asked where the sacrifice was going to come from and Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” Genesis 22:8 Then they proceeded up the mountain together. This story has always troubled me as God had asked Abraham to do the unthinkable, sacrifice his only son. It is a picture to us of the anguish God must have felt in sending Jesus to die for our sins. He provides for us the ultimate sacrifice to remove our sins forever through His only Son’s sacrifice in Jesus’ death on the cross. I have thought that Abraham knew and trusted God’s promise of becoming a great nation, children as numerous as the stars and blessing the whole world which God had given him in Genesis 12 and 15. He trusted God to provide whatever was needed and even to the point of resurrecting Isaac if needed. Genesis 22:13-14 tells us what happened. “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.” God showed himself as the provider of life, of sacrifice, of hope, of the future and of faith to Abraham. He had great faith in his God who would provide.
Do you see God as the I AM who will provide? One of my favorite verses is Philippians 4:19 “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” God promises to provide what I need just like He did for Abraham on that mountain. It is a matter of trusting God to provide. Claiming and reciting this verse makes me focus and remember that God can and will provide for me even when it seems that the odds of that happening are very much against it. I believe Abraham would have said the same as he trudged up the mountain with the wood and his son. Take a step of faith closer to God today. Trust Him instead of worrying. Let the anxiety go and place it in God’s hands. “casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
Loving Jesus requires a walk of trust in His great provision.
Moses fled out of Egypt for killing a Hebrew slave, Exodus 2, and ended up in Midian. He married a Midianite woman and settled there as a shepherd. He was out in the wilderness when God appeared to him in a ‘burning bush’ that was not consumed. God told Moses he was to return to Egypt and bring the Israelite people out of Egypt to freedom in Promised Land of Canaan. Moses was reluctant to say the least and posed many questions to God as excuses as to why he could not possibly go and do this for Him. He objected with why me? Then what if they don’t believe me? I’m not eloquent enough. God patiently responded to each of his objections. In Exodus 3:13-14 Moses questioned who God is, His name. Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.”And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”
Why is this answer of who God is important? It reveals God’s name YHWH, Yahweh or His divine name. It was written without vowels as they did not even speak the name of God because it was so holy. It tells us that God is who He is –self-existent and not dependent upon anyone for His existence. It tell us that God is the creator and sustainer of all that exists. It tells us that God is- unchanging and immutable, has been and always will be. It tell us that God is eternal, He always existed and will always exist. It assured Moses that God in His sovereign power can do all things and will be with him on this journey back to Egypt and beyond.
We too can be assured by the great I AM. He is immutable and we can depend upon Him. Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” He will never leave us nor forsake us. Joshua 1:9 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Knowing God is eternal and dependent upon nothing else gives us security and assurance of our future with Him. John 14:1-2 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?”
Have a blessed day as you cling to the promises of the great I AM.
What does it mean when scripture refers to David as ‘a man after God’s own heart’? “After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’” Acts 13:22 What did David do that pleased God? I have concluded that God’s answer was also given here- “he will do everything I want him to do”. David was willing to submit to God’s will and do as He commanded. In 1 Samuel 15:22, Samuel was speaking to Saul about God’s heart’s desire. But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” God commanded the Israelites to do various sacrifice rituals to atone for their sins. It was a temporary fix to the issue of sin but showed their obedience to God’s laws and their devotion to Him. However, Samuel was telling Saul that following God and pleasing him was about more than following His laws. It was about following God with your heart in obedience. Obedience seems to be the key to God’s heart and our being willing to do submit to God’s will for our lives. If you look at David’s life, you quickly see that he did not do everything right and did not follow God’s laws all the time. He sinned big time with the intentional killing of Uriah and the lusting after Bathsheba. However, David accepted his discipline from God and was repentant. He was obedient in following the Lord and his faith never wavered. He trust God 100% and submitted to God’s will in his life.
What does that mean for you and me? Obedience in faith and worship = putting God first above all else and believing in His Son. Obedience in our daily walk = seeking to please God by loving Him and others. That means spending time with Him daily in prayer and in His Word. It also means having Jesus’ attitude of compassion and love for those around us. Obedience in service = working by ourselves and/or with other Christians to show the world Jesus by reflecting Him in our words and deeds. God wants all of our heart transformed to work for Him with joy, love, obedience, in purity, devotion, kindness, compassion, with forgiveness for ourselves and others, in peace, faith and humility. There is so much God wants for us and striving through the power of the Holy Spirit to live for God makes us a people after God’s heart. Those things are reflected in a heart of obedience, submission and love. It is a life-long process that brings and bears much fruit and blessings to us from God.
Striving to walk each day in obedience to God with heart that is pleasing to Him,
Understanding, guiding and using our heart in a way that is pleasing to God is a life long process. David was called a ‘man after God’s own heart’ in Acts 13:22 by Paul when speaking in the synagogue in Pisidian Antioch. He was relating history to the assembled Jews as to how David became king. “But God removed Saul and replaced him with David, a man about whom God said, ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart. He will do everything I want him to do.’ When God chose him, 1 Samuel 13:14, He knew David was a man after his own heart. “But now your kingdom must end, for the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart. The Lord has already appointed him to be the leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”
David gives us a glimpse into his heart in Psalm 139. He knew he was an open book before God and that God knew all about him. “O Lord, you have examined my heart God knew his motives.
and know everything about me.
2 You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. God knew his daily actions.
3 You see me when I travel
and when I rest at home. God knew where he went.
You know everything I do.
4 You know what I am going to say God knew what he was going
even before I say it, Lord. to do or say.
5 You go before me and follow me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head. God knew him inside and out.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too great for me to understand!
Where are you with God? He knows you too but do you readily acknowledge that fact and if so how does it change you? David said that God knowing him was too wonderful and too great to even understand. Are you awed by God’s love and knowledge of you- your wants, desires, needs, sorrows and joys? Perhaps David’s acknowledgement of God’s true knowledge of himself was his beginning. He knew he was not the guide and motivator of his life- God was. He knew God knew him, all of him, and it gave him comfort and assurance. God is indeed omniscient and David rested in that fact and encouraged himself with it. How about you? Will you trust in God’s all knowing power to give you what is best for your life? I claim Jeremiah 29:11’s truth in my life. May you also gain comfort and assurance as you cling to God’s Word. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God had good plans for David and He has good plans for you and me! Open your heart and follow Him in obedience as David did- you will be blessed.
I love studies of the Old Testament as I learn so much about the character of God. His attributes shine through as He exhibits His faithfulness and sovereignty over all creation. In 1 Samuel is the story of God sending the prophet Samuel to identify the son of Jesse that He has chosen to be the next king of Israel. The Lord gave Samuel some good advice that we need to take to heart as we look at others and even ourselves. But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 When God looks at us, He looks at our hearts. Therefore, He desires that our hearts be transformed, renewed and cleansed. He wants more for us than we can even imagine. He sees what is truly in our hearts and knows our innermost thoughts. It is a humbling and sobering thought that God knows all and in His love and mercy He see what I can be not what I am at the present. God looks at our hearts.
I am comforted by Psalm 10:17 where the psalmist proclaims what God will do for him. “O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear” God will listen to me and the cries of my heart then He will strengthen me. He knows I need transformation and will listen to my heart cries and then give me strength to persevere in pursuit of His transformation in my life.
Our challenge today is seek His transformation for our lives from a heart filled with obedience and love and then to seek to see others as God does. We are limited and can’t see the heart of others but we can learn not to judge by outward appearances and seek to reach out to others with love and kindness. We can ask God for insight and wisdom in dealing with others.
Thankful for a loving God that will give me strength to live for Him,
God is very intentional in His transformation of our hearts. I would say there is no wasted efforts or motions in God’s plans. Unlike man, God is omniscient and knows the beginning and the end. He knows where we are going and how to get us where He wants us to be. Here are a couple of verses that point to God’s intent or purpose in transforming our hearts.
Psalm 90:12 “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Jeremiah 32:40 “I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me.”
God wants us to realize that we are accountable to Him and use our time here on earth wisely. He desires we affect others with our lives and show His goodness and glory in what we say and do. In the Jeremiah passage God tells us what He will do for believers. We have an everlasting covenant of salvation in Jesus, He promises to not turn from us- He is completely faithful, He desires good for us and will do it and He wants us to love and follow Him. God wants us to spend eternity with Him and the only way that is possible is if we wisely turn to Him, accept His salvation in Jesus and have a make-over of our heart’s desires. A transformed heart is essential for the Christian believer and something God does with intentionality. Look back at the ways He transforms our heart… with joy and praise, love and faith, commitment, purity, kindness, compassion and forgiveness, devotion and obedience. His way brings results and fills our hearts with His heavenly treasures.
Let’s make this a day of Thanksgiving to God for His grace and mercy. Thanking Him that for transforming us so we can live lives of purpose and bear fruit for His kingdom.
One of the clearest verses in scripture that tells us what we have to do to be Saved is Romans 10:9-10. ” If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.” Once you believe in Jesus within your heart and say it you are saved. The saying confirms what your heart is telling you that Jesus is the son of God and that He came and died for your sins and was raised from the dead. In dying He took your sin and mine upon himself as the perfect sacrifice but in rising from the dead He conquered death and buried our sins forever. Romans 10:9-10 show us that a heart that believes in God is essential to faith. We have to believe in Jesus with the very core of our being, our heart, for salvation. Jesus told us about the importance of heart faith in Matthew 22:37 “Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ God will accept nothing less that our whole heart, soul and mind. Loving and knowing God requires it all.
How about you? Do you have a sincere heart love for God? Are you willing to tell others that Jesus is your Savior? God demands that our love be all consuming. He is a jealous God and wants all of us. Exodus 20:5 “You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods.” Are you devoted to God and willing to give all of your heart to Him? Meditate and about this today. Consider how much of your heart you are giving to God, remembering He wants it all.
Let this be said of me as I seek to give all my heart to Jesus,
Jesus’ admonition on how to keep our heart storage in good shape or filled with good treasure is one of my favorite passages in Matthew. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke of how to correctly spend our energy. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21
Our hearts are depository places that hold our thoughts, ideas, motivations and actions of what we have done. Jesus’ question looks to the heart and questions what things are we doing in our lives that have eternal value. Only those things are imperishable and will be counted by God as lasting. Jesus reminds us that those things are a refection of your heart for Him and what you truly value. So these thoughts beg further thinking on our part- what am I doing that has eternal value? Here are a few ideas to get you thinking about eternal value. Time you spend in God’s Word has eternal value for your soul and knowledge of God. Time you spend in worship, praise and prayer. Time you spend with family showing them God’s love, taking care of your children and grandchildren, memorizing scripture and feeding the homeless, widows, orphans or others. Time you spend taking a cup of cold water to someone in need-be it a meal, a note of encouragement, having a cup of tea and visiting or sending a card. Time spent making a gift for someone and praying for them. The list is endless but as you can see these things have no monetary value but are acts of kindness, hope and love done for others and yourself in relationship with God.
Paul talks about the eternal value of the things we do and exhorts us to be sure that our foundation is in Jesus. 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 “Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.” So our question remains-are you and I doing things with our time that are based upon Jesus and are enduring or are we spending our time working on things that have no eternal value and will perish when God examines them? Think on the things you do today and consider their eternal value. Do they glorify God or you?
Jesus tells us that those things of eternal value are stored in the treasure room of our heart. He desires that our treasure rooms be full to overflowing with His kindness, love and goodness.
1 Kings records a sobering charge from King David to his son Solomon. He is giving him wise advice when he is near death. 1 Kings 2 records David’s words, “2 “I am going where everyone on earth must someday go. Take courage and be a man. 3 Observe the requirements of the Lord your God, and follow all his ways. Keep the decrees, commands, regulations, and laws written in the Law of Moses so that you will be successful in all you do and wherever you go.” His advice was to have courage to stand up for what is right and follow God’s ways. David goes on to say what the promised results of this type of life would be, “4 If you do this, then the Lord will keep the promise he made to me. He told me, ‘If your descendants live as they should and follow me faithfully with all their heart and soul, one of them will always sit on the throne of Israel.’ David had been chosen by God to lead the people of Israel. He knew first hand what could happen to a leader who refused to follow God. He had been pursued for 14 years by King Saul who knew God had chosen David to be the next king, and God had removed His blessing from him because of his sinful life and poor leadership. David did not want that fate to befall his son, Solomon, and desired that his descendants would reign over Israel for years to come.
David knew that a transformed heart, committed to God would produce results. The results in this case would be a descendant continuing to be king. What about us? What are the results of our transformed and committed heart to God? Do you see God’s blessings on your life for following Him, reading and studying the Bible, going to worship and fellow-shipping with fellow believers? God promises results for committing our lives to Him and following Him faithfully. Take a look at your life today and take note of the many blessings that are the results of godly living and commitment to Jesus. Then take time to Thank Jesus for those results.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for touching my life and transforming my heart. I long to serve you and have the fruit of the Holy Spirit be evident in my life. Your results are eternal and show your great goodness and mercy towards me. Thank you, In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Longing to produce godly results in my heart for Him,
Do you think of yourself as obedient? Do you readily obey your parents, the codes of conduct in your society or even your own heart’s desires? All of those may be in conflict with God’s desires for your life and the necessary obedience needed to follow Him. Because we are sinners and live in a sinful world, obedience does not come naturally. It is against our sin nature to do what others desire of us or even what we desire ourselves for our future since we are rebellious at heart. So how do we become obedient to God and His Word? Peter gives us direction in 1 Peter 1:14-16 “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” God calls us to be holy and to follow Him in obedience. Peter goes on in verses 18-19 to explain to root of our ability to obey, “knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” Because of Christ’s death on the cross we become His children through faith in Him and His redeeming work. We are given the godly motivation, godly direction and ability to be obedient from our heart through our faith in Jesus.
I love the way Paul explains this transformation in Romans 6:17-18 “But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.” Faith in Jesus sets me free from the bondage of sin that holds my heart and actions and frees me to serve with an obedient heart the Jesus I love.
What about you? Does your love and faith in Jesus cause you to desire to be obedient to Him and His Word? Do you find following Jesus hard? Even Paul stated in Romans that he struggled to do what God wants him to do because of his own sin nature. Romans 7:19-20 “19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.” He summarizes his condition of faith in verse 24-25. “ Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” His final conclusion to this dilemma is profound in Romans 8:1-2 “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Jesus is the answer and He frees us from our bondage to sin.
May your heart be filled with the love of Jesus today so that you may live with a heart that is wholeheartedly obedient to Him.