"GOD, I WOULD NOT DO IT THAT WAY"
Part 2: ABRAHAM AND HIS FAMILY
Assume that God is forming an advisory committee. God wants to evaluate the
entire process He used to bring salvation to our the world. He wants our reactions to
His methods and means used to bring Jesus to be our Savior. That includes the way
He used almost 1500 years to prepare this world for Jesus, the way He brought Jesus,
the way He made Jesus the Christ, the way He brought the church into existence, and
the way He informed the world about forgiveness.
God selects you to be on this advisory committee. He wants every member of
the committee to be very open and very honest. He wants every member of the
committee to critique anything in the entire process, and explain his or her critique.
- Let's quietly listen to the first committee meeting. It is your turn to speak.
- "God, it has been my experience that if you want to accomplish truly good
things you must use genuinely good people."
"Take an honest look at Abraham and his extended family."
- "The more important the accomplishment, the more important is it to use
people who are exceptionally good people."
- "Simply stated: if you want to change the thinking and emotions of the people
of the world, you must use the best people in the world."
- "It is essential that good people of great character be used so they can be an
excellent, powerful influence."
- "People in general are very skeptical, very critical."
- "If you give people half a reason to criticize, they will criticize."
- "If people have the choice between changing the way they think and live
or criticizing the new ways, people will choose criticism almost every
- "I think the biggest mistake in your plan to bring salvation to people was this:
You used the wrong people when you began."
- "I would never begin producing salvation by using Abraham and his
- "That family simply had too many problems to criticize."
- "They did not have the potential for being a powerful influence."
"Perhaps I can best communicate my point by stating what I would do."
- "I would not begin with a man who used his wife to deceive other people as
- "I would not begin with a man who lied about his wife being his wife."
- "I would not begin with a man who allowed a king to take his wife with the
intention of marrying her because the king thought the woman was
- "I would not begin with a man who had a son by a woman who was not his
- "I would not begin with a man who made his own son and that son's
mother permanently leave his family."
- "I am sorry God, but that was a mistake."
- "I would not use a man who showed enormous favoritism among his two sons
as Isaac did."
- "I would not use a man who dearly loved one son and disregarded the
- "I would not use a family in which the blind father's wife plotted against
and deceived him."
- "I would not use a family in which both sons despised each other."
- "I am sorry God, but that was a mistake."
- "I would not use a man who lied and exploited others for his own benefit as
- "He used his own brother's hunger to take something precious from his
- "He intentionally lied to deceive his own blind father."
- "He took advantage of his father-in-law."
- "He had two wives, and he was partial to one wife and her children."
- "His family interactions looked more like a war zone than a family.
- "He had horrible control of his wives and sons."
- "I am sorry God, but that was a mistake."
- "I would not use men who were guilty of despicable things such rape, hate,
deceit, and murderous violence like the sons of Jacob were."
- "Jacob's sons made a covenant with the men of a city, sealed the
agreement with those men's circumcision, and then killed all of them when
they could not defend themselves" (Genesis 34).
- "Judah used Tamar as if she were a prostitute" (Genesis 38).
- "Reuben raped one of his father's concubines" (Genesis 35:22).
- "Nine brothers sold Joseph into slavery" (Genesis 37:18-28).
- "Those boys had enough jealousy and hatred in them to infect many
Is that the way you would reason?
- "I would start my plan for salvation with a man who was the ideal person, the
ideal husband, and the ideal father."
- "This man would be married to the ideal wife who would be the ideal mother."
- "Their children would love and respect each other, and treat each other with
great kindness and consideration."
- "The children would become adults who were kind, who were great husbands
and wives, and who were great parents.
- "Even through future generations, people would talk about what a great
family and a wonderful example these people had been for generations."
- "The church has enough problems trying to get people to be godly without
tracing its roots through a family who obviously had so many flaws and
Look at the kind of people often chosen to lead the church in spiritually
- I hope that we all are in agreement that we want a person who is genuinely
devoted to God, who is genuinely converted to Jesus Christ.
If we seek people to lead us in spiritual service and involvement, what kind
of devoted, converted person do we want?
- I hope that is a "given."
- As a "given," our discussion goes beyond that consideration.
- What do we stress?
- Do we stress commitment and ability, or do we stress prominence?
- Do we stress a deep love for God, or do we stress material success?
- Do we stress having the attitude and spirit of Jesus, or do we stress
- Do we stress great faith, or do we stress educational accomplishments?
- Are prominence, material success, business achievements, and educational
accomplishments bad things?
- No, of themselves they are not bad things.
- But neither are they of themselves spiritual things.
- They are no substitute for spiritual commitment, ability, deep love for God,
the attitude and spirit of Jesus, and faith.
- What is the basic difference between the two lists of characteristics and
- Prominence, material achievements, business success, and educational
accomplishments focus on the human accomplishments of the individual.
- Spiritual commitment and ability, a deep love for God, the attitude and
spirit of Jesus, and a great faith focus on the accomplishments of God in
- A common tendency among all of us is to depend on human achievement
for spiritual success.
- God wants us our confidence to be placed in His achievement as being
the key to spiritual success.
Consider Paul's statement to the Christians at Corinth in 2 Corinthians 4:7.
- Paul had some powerful critics in the church at Corinth.
- His critics attempted to destroy his credibility by declaring how
unimpressive Paul was in person.
- "He is a terrible speaker" (2 Corinthians 10:10).
- "In person his physical appearance is most unimpressive" (2
- The implication was this: "God's spokesman who delivers God's glorious
message surely would look and sound like someone other than Paul."
- Paul said that his purpose was to impress them with Christ, not himself.
- The God who promised "Light shall shine out of darkness" is the One who
shone in Paul and his company's hearts to give the light of God's glory in
- The precious good news he shared was about Jesus, not about Paul.
2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness
of the power will be of God and not from ourselves.
"But I would not do it that way!"
- God placed this incredible treasure of the good news about Jesus Christ in the clay
pots of Paul and his company.
- Clay pots had little value--they literally were "dirt cheap."
- The treasure in those pots was too valuable to even estimate.
- For the sake of illustration, it would be like placing a billion dollars in an empty coffee
- "That is stupid! Why do that?"
- There is a very important reason.
- God did it that way so people would be impressed with God and what God did in
Jesus, not the container that revealed the treasure.
- The container had just one purpose: to draw attention to the value of the treasure.
- That is the point.
- We do not do things the way God does them.
- God's ways powerfully declare what God had done and is doing, not what we have
done and are doing.
- Our tendency is to try to impress people with us; if people are sufficiently impressed
with us perhaps we can impress them with our God.
Jesus said in Matthew 5:16, "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see
your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."
Isaiah said, speaking for God in Isaiah 55:8,9, "For My thoughts are not your
thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," declares the Lord. "For as the heavens are higher than
the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts."
Christian faith and existence are not based on demanding that God function and work in ways we
would function and work. Christian faith and existence constantly seek to grow in understanding
of God's ways. We learn His ways. We do not demand He do things our ways.
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
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