Tony Evans says that, ‘Trials are adverse circumstances that God either introduces or allows in our lives to both identify where we are spiritually as well as to prepare us for where He wants us to go. If you are alive, there is no escaping life’s trials.
You are either in a trial now, you’ve just come out of a trial, or you are getting ready to go into a trial. Trials are unavoidable realities of life’.
God revealed himself to Abraham in the midst of the most difficult trial anyone person at any single moment could have experienced.
Genesis 22:14 – God tells Abraham to sacrifice his own son on an altar.
22:14, The-Lord-Will-Provide = Jehovah Jireh
Jireh literally means ‘to see.’
The compound name when put together means ‘to provide.’
Abraham, knowing that what he saw in the spiritual realm affected his own actions in the physical realm, he recognized the power of sight in calling the place of sacrifice Jehovah Jireh. – Tony Evans
Somewhere in the combination of those two names, there is a relationship between God “seeing” and God “providing.” When we look at the form of the word “provide” that reads “provision,” we can recognize this link more clearly. Vision is in reference to seeing; while provision means that something was seen beforehand and thus provided for. The root “vision” ties the addressing of what is provided to what was seen. – Tony Evans
God provided for Abraham based upon what He saw with regard to Abraham and that pre-vision led to God’s provision. God provided a ram when he saw Abraham going forth in obedience to sacrifice his son. He provided a way out of his trial. – Tony Evans
Question: So the question is: What must God see so that He might provide for you when you are caught in a trial of life? – Tony Evans
So, this is how God revealed himself and how Abraham responded to a ‘new understanding’ / ‘revelation’ of who God was/is and how he and we come to be in relationship with Jehovah Jireh.
- Dilemma / Crisis – God asks Abraham to do something that was unusual and even counter-intuitive!
Application: There are many things we are called to do and be as Christians that makes no sense to others and even at times, makes no sense to us!
- Turning the Other cheek
- Letting Him fight our Battles
- Forgiving those who offend/hurt us without cause
- Laying down our life for someone else
2 Kings 17:7-16 – Elijah and Widow
Application: The biggest thing about authentic faith is that it doesn’t make sense to believe/trust in something that is not possible!
Transition: What else transpired with Abraham that led Him (Abraham) call that place The-Lord-Will-Provide.
Once, Abraham knew he had heard from God, the bible says he: rose, saddled, took, split, arose, went.
Abraham did not delay his obedience!
‘Delayed obedience is disobedience!’ – Tony Evans
Question: What does it take to be/learn/believe in obedience?
God does tell us that to obey is better than sacrifice. 1 Samuel 15-22
Montessori’s Three Levels of Obedience: Developing Self-Discipline
Dr. H. Stephen Glenn, of Developing Capable Young People, and Jane Nelsen, of Positive Discipline, both agree that children below the age of 7 or 8 are really incapable of self-discipline.
Young children are not capable developmentally to understand the consequences of giving into impulsive behavior. (Glenn & Nelsen, 2000)
Dr. Montessori’s doctrine of the Three Levels of Obedience (Montessori, The Absorbent Mind, 1964)
“What we call the first level of obedience is that in which the child can obey, but not always. It is a period in which obedience and disobedience seem to be combined.” (Montessori, The Absorbent Mind, 1964)
This first level of obedience is generally observed in children 3 and under, however, older children may also exhibit disobedience. “Even after 3, the little child, must have developed certain qualities before he is able to obey. He cannot, all of a sudden, act in conformity with another person’s will, nor can he grasp, from one day to the next, the reason for doing what we require of him.” (Montessori, The Absorbent Mind, 1964)
“The second level is when the child can always obey, or rather, when there are no longer any obstacles deriving from his lack of control. His powers are now consolidated and can be directed not only by his own will, but by the will of another.” (Montessori, The Absorbent Mind, 1964)
This may appear to be the highest level of obedience; however, because it is dependent on outside variables (adults or authority figures), this is not true obedience. The child is merely satisfying someone else’s wishes, not his own.
The third level of obedience is when the child “responds promptly and with enthusiasm and as he perfects himself in the exercise, he finds happiness in being able to obey.” (Montessori, The Discovery of the Child, 1967) This is the stage of true self-discipline.
Transition: Let me pose a hypothetical hypothesis.
Question: At what level was Abraham at when God called him to sacrifice Abraham?
Let me just for the sake of my application suggest that he was at Level II. His powers were consolidated, he had the ability to harness his will and so he was able to obey!
The resulting outcome, again, for the sake of my application and spiritual devotion for this morning is that he at the moment of God’s Provision, moved into Level III.
Application: The sense, feeling, reality, of God coming through as we obey, brings a new level of Obedience.
When God provides when we give (our tithe for example); and then he comes through/provides is such a blessing and such a joy!
2 Ways God Promises to Benefit You for Tithing
What is the Tithe?
The word tithe is not a common word used today outside of a ‘church’ context.
Simply put it means ‘the tenth part.’ Another way to say it is that the tithe is ten percent.
Two Promises God Makes concerning Tithe
- Open the Windows of Heaven
- God says that when we tithe it unlocks something in the spiritual realm that enables God to start taking action on our behalf. The first thing that happens is that God is able to open up the windows of heaven and begin to pour additional financial blessing into our lives if we’re willing to receive it.
- That’s huge. I mean God is blessing us all the time. He even blesses the ungodly in spite of themselves (Matt 5:45).
- But when we tithe to our local church we allow God to supercharge His blessing over our finances. It enables Him to bring increase to our finances in ways that we would never expect.
- Rebuke the Devourer
- Of course increasing our finances wouldn’t do us any good if all the increase was being wasted, would it?
- Fortunately when we tithe it also unlocks something else in the spiritual realm. Then God steps in and actively rebukes the devourer on our behalf to keep our finances from being drained off by all sorts of things beyond our control.
- Think about it. How much of what you spend your money on seems frivolous to you. Do you get frustrated at having unexpected bills come up that eat away at your finances? That’s the devourer moving in on your finances.
- That preacher I heard years ago say that if we didn’t tithe then God would take the money from us in doctor bills? He was mistaken. It isn’t God that takes from us. It is the devourer, the enemy of our souls whom Jesus said is here to steal, kill, and destroy us (John 10:10).
Transition: So why then are some people at Level I, Level II or Level III of obedience?
- Our ‘own understanding’