Tuesday, March 10, 2009

“Kings Shall Come From You” (Gen. 17:6).

S-1105 3/08/09 2SIL/3B Hymns: (O) #17 1-3; (S) #239; L.S. 442; 41; 39 (C) # #17 4-63

Texts: Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16; Romans 5:1-11; Mark 8:27-38

Theme: Kings Shall Come From You” (Gen. 17:6).

Question: “Do you have any Royal blood in you?”


Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen! Indeed! Alleluia! The text for our second Sunday in Lent is from the Gospel reading: “I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you” (Gen. 17:6).

Saints in Christ, as a Palestinian Christian growing up in Israel, I felt I was cheated in life. I didn’t know why I couldn’t be born into a rich family. I didn’t know why I didn’t have enough money to do the things I wanted. Why did I have to be born into a poor family? Why couldn’t I be born in Saudi Arabia as one of the children of King Faisal, or in Jordan as one of the children of King Hussein? Why couldn’t I have lived in the royal palace and have servants waiting on me hand and foot 24 hours a day? I don’t know why. But looking back on my lot in life, I thank God that I wasn’t born in the Arab Muslim world, but in my family and as a Christian.

As I look out upon you the saints sitting in the pews, I know that you too, have not been born into a royal family. You were not born as children of kings or queens. You don’t have servants answering your beckon call day and night. And neither were you born in a royal palace. Maybe at times you wished you were, but you weren’t.

Today, Moses the author of our text shares with us an awesome promise made by God to Abram. But this is not the first promise given to Abram. The first time we meet God speaking to Abram he was 75 years old in chapter 12. “The LORD had said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.’” (1-3).

And by the time we get to our text in Chapter 17 God speaks again to Abram, and this time he is 99 years old, 24 years after he migrated from Ur of the Chaldeans to the Promised Land, 13 years after Ishmael was born; and 14 years after God promised him a son will be born to him and his aged wife. But nothing happened YET.

In this brief encounter, El Shaddi (that’s the Hebrew name for God in this passage) the “Almighty One” or “The All-Sufficient One” and “One who is really STRONG.” And here in this discourse, God the Mighty One—the God of the covenant swears by Himself to do what He promised. El Shaddi, possess the power to deliver on His promise to Abram even when the order of nature appeared unable to help them conceive a child. The name which Yahweh uses for Himself was to be a pledge, that in spite of “his own body now dead,” and “the deadness of Sarah’s womb” God, El Shaddi could and would give him the promised innumerable posterity.

And what does El Shaddi promise to Abram? Let Moses say it in his own words: “Behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you (4-6).

God promised that out of nearly century old lions of Abraham and Sarah kings shall come. History and Scripture testify to this being fulfilled. From Abram come the famous Kings Saul, David, and Solomon. Then there are the others. Some noble, some scoundrels, but they all came from the same Father on the basis of a promise. But none of the Hebrew kings compare to the true King, the son of Abraham—Jesus Christ.

What was it the Magi sought when they came following the star? Where is He who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw His star when it rose and have come to worship Him” (Mt. 2:2). What did Pilate discover while questioning Jesus before the judgment seat?” You are a king, then!” Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I Am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to Me” (Jh. 18:37).

Jesus IS the true King of kings and Lord of lords. He is the One who has been born from the line of Abraham. He was born not in a royal palace but in a manger, not to be served 24 hours a day, but to serve others in love and mercy 24 hours a day. He didn’t come to be the king for the wealthy, but He came to be the king for the commoner—to serve them by laying down His life for them. He came as the fulfillment of the covenant of El Shaddi—the All Sufficient God who keeps every Word. PAUSE

What you and I are called to see and believe is that we are summoned week in and week out by the Holy Spirit to be in the presence of a real, living breathing King. This king has the power and authority over everything and everyone. And furthermore, we need to remember that a kingdom exists because Jesus is the King. He is the Messiah, the Savior promised by God in the Old Testament. Jesus is not only Israel’s King, but the international Christ for all the nations. He came to rescue the nations—the children of Abraham from the destructive power of hell and satan.

When Jesus came upon the scene, He announced the Kingdom of God is at hand. This was foretold by Scripture and announced by John the Baptist. Jesus had come to establish His rule. However, He disappointed the expectations of many people—both then and now. Many people believed that He came to set an earthly kingdom. But He taught that His Kingdom wasn’t of this world. His Kingdom is a spiritual one. Many left because like me in my younger years, in foolishness were looking for an earthly benefit

At the end of Jesus’ life, Pilate asked Him, Are You the King of the Jews?” Jesus gave an affirmative response; and Pilate sanctioned His crucifixion on that basis. This is how John tells the story of this King: “Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He [Pilate] said to the Jews, ‘Behold your King!’ They cried out, ‘Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!’ Pilate said to them, ‘Shall I crucify your King?’ The chief priests answered, ‘We have no king but Caesar.’ So he delivered Him over to them to be crucified” (Jh. 19:14-16).

Today, we see King Jesus in a different light through the Lens of the Gospel—a King who serves rather than being served; a King who loves, rather than demand on being loved; a King who gives, rather than takes. What does this King Jesus gives? He gives ETERNAL life, forgiveness and peace. He gives us the Kingdom of God. Because of His crucifixion you and I become children of the King of glory. As the Apostle Peter reminds us in his epistle: “But you are a chosen race, a [ROYAL] priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (1 Peter 2:9-10). Did you hear what Peter said? “You are ROYAL Priests!” You ARE royalty. You are sons and daughters of the King of the Universe. You are heirs of the Kingdom of believers. Yes, you (name different people here). You have a King for a Father. You have a Kingdom to live in. You have servants called angels whose sole mission for being is to take care of you.

Remember my question to you, “Do you have any Royal blood in you?” Perhaps, in the beginning you answered NO! But after you listened to the Word of the God—El Shaddi, you come to see that YES, indeed you are royalty, and the blood of Jesus runs deep into your veins. That blood is what makes you royalty. That blood marks you as the children of the King of glory.

Remember also how I said, I felt cheated in life, because I was born in poverty and wished I was born in the royal palaces of King Faisal or Hussein. Well, I don’t wish that anymore, because I know better. I know that even though I was poor, on account of Christ I am rich. Even though I didn’t have any servants answering my beckon call, My King Jesus is ready and waiting to give me more than I deserve or desire. Though I wasn’t born in a royal palace, I will live the rest of my life in the Royal palace of the King of kings and Lord of lords.

Saints in Christ, the Words of our text have iron in them. Iron to life or to death. To those who believe these words as Abraham did, they will be iron words of life—a life in the royal palace of the Savior—the KING Eternal, Jesus Christ. But to those who don’t believe they are iron words of death—a death in the fires of hell.

May we thank God for making us His royal sons and daughters and caring for our needs by inviting us to dine at His table often and live with Him happily ever after. AMEM.

Now the peace…

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