Invasion of Light

Discovering God's Glory One Day at a Time

Category: Chapter 1

Abraham and the Fear of the Lord – Day 12

Abraham came to know the fear of the Lord when he was called to sacrifice his one and only son. He counted the cost, gathered the materials and journeyed to Mount Moriah. Genesis tells us that he worshipped God on the mountain. In this three-day event Abraham and Isaac had to embody (in a minute way) the very being of God. Abraham would have felt the deep loss and abyss of his son before they ever reached the mountain. On the other hand, Isaac would have experienced a deep sense of rejection and forsakenness as he lay bound to the altar starring at his father’s knife. He totally trusted his father, but now his father had turned on him—or so it would have seemed.

Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” (Genesis 22:10-12)

The fact that Abraham feared God was revealed in this act. Abraham’s fear of God was seen in the embodiment of what God himself experienced (in himself) before the creation of the world. In this passage, Abraham and Isaac are given the privilege of fellowshipping in God’s own sufferings. Later on God is named the “Fear of Isaac”—a very appropriate title that probably had its foundation in this event (Gen. 31:42, 53). There is no way that Abraham or Isaac would have been able to deny the Messiah (if they were present during his ministry) because they themselves lived through his death and resurrection. Neither can we deny the Messiah if we have been called into his fellowship.

The story of Abraham and Isaac ends with a glorious substitution. It is not the sacrifice of Isaac’s flesh that was God’s provision; rather it was the sacrifice of the Father’s one and only Son, Jesus. Isaac and Abraham were saved by the substitute—the ram caught by its horns in the thicket. Clearly this is a foreshadowing of the greatest event of history—planned in heaven before time began, but manifested on earth in the fullness of time.

Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.” (Genesis 22:13-14, NIV)

​Before time began the Lord had a plan. On the “mountain” of his heavenly glory the Father with fear and trembling provided his Son, Jesus. In the same way, on another mount, the Mount of Olives, Jesus willingly gave his life for his Father and all creation (Luke 22:39-46). It is surely true that “on the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.” In Gethsemane, what God preordained in heaven encountered acceptance on earth through Christ. When Jesus said, “Not my will, but yours be done,” heaven and earth came into agreement, and the veil between the two was torn. God’s original intent for creation, lost through Adam’s sin, began to be restored through Jesus’ obedience: heaven and earth married together in Christ and under his Lordship.

Prayer: Father, you gave your one and only son Jesus for me. Abraham and Isaac were just a shadow of a far greater glory: the sacrifice of Christ. You have provided for me a sacrifice to save my life. And now I want to give you my life. I say with Jesus, “Not my will, but yours be done.” I say this with fear and trembling, but I still say it. I know that your plans are better for me than anything I can conjure up.

Fear and Trembling – Day 11

The heavens and earth were not created rashly or flippantly. No, they were created with fear and trembling. God had to embrace death and the tearing of his own communion with himself before he ever created anything. David began to peer into this when he exclaimed: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:14). How can anybody be fearfully made? These words are puzzling until we see them in light of the beginning. The apostle Peter taught:

“Live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.” (1 Peter 1:17-20)

The redemption of the cross was not God’s knee-jerk reaction to man’s fall. Rather, the Father chose the Son and the shedding of his blood before creating the world—he did it long before we ever fell into sin. God’s sacrifice of himself defines the fear of the Lord. The fear of God is much greater than what we experience when we are in his presence. It is God’s very own reverential fear. It is his deep reverence and respect for himself: the awe that the Father has for the Son and the Son has for the Father. It is also the value and respect God has for everything he has made: there is nothing in all of his creation that he does not esteem.

All created reality came out of the gut-wrenching sacrifice of the Father and the Son. It flowed from trembling, not triviality. Before creation, everything was weighed on God’s eternal scales—it was not haphazardly hewed together. At the heart of the fear of God is the Father’s sacrifice of his Son, as well as the Son’s voluntary giving of his life (by the Spirit) for his Father and all things.
This is why the Scriptures teach: “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” We cannot muster up this fear from within ourselves. We cannot scare ourselves into this fear. This fear is not even being afraid of God’s presence. God’s Spirit is the only one who can impart God’s fear: he must give it to us. Just as the love of God is God’s own love—an attribute of God himself—so the fear of God is God’s own fear—again, an attribute of God himself. This is the first and foremost attribute we need to know if we are to understand all the other attributes of God. God’s love is an attribute that is rooted in his reverence for himself and all things. God’s wrath is also grounded in his fear and trembling. Without the fear of the Lord we fall terribly short of our knowledge of God. Notice how Isaiah says that it is God’s very own Spirit that imparts his fear and knowledge to the Messiah:

“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord—and He will delight in the fear of the Lord.” (Isaiah 11:1-2, NIV)

Prayer: Father, I am fearfully and wonderfully made. The very foundation of your creation of me is the cross. I’ve been created with value and worth, with the most costly gift of all––the blood of your Son. May your very fear, the reverence you have for yourself and all things, be imparted to my spirit today. I want to walk in your fear.

The God of Sacrifice – Day 10

In the same way that the Lord created out of complete freedom from outside influence, he also created with full knowledge of what creation would cost him. He knew “the end from the beginning” (Isa. 46:10). Thus he gave the gift of life to those who would reject the giver. He gave without forcing anything in return. He gave freedom and choice—this is true love. A god who is fearful that his created subjects might overturn him would never create. However, God is fully secure in himself; he cannot be moved. Fear did not hold him back from creating.

“God created!” What an awesome truth! “God created” means God sacrificed himself before he created. He experienced death before he ever created life, and all throughout the created universe he revealed that only through death could there be life. The Scriptures describe the Lamb (the Messiah) as “slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8, NKJV). God was slain before he had ever stretched out the starry hosts—he knew creation would cost him the ultimate price. He knew love would mean suffering.

Jesus’ death was no accident; it was predestined. It was a manifestation of the sacrifice that had always been in the Father’s heart. Here we see that the divine nature is love—love that gives freedom, and love that is willing to suffer because of the freedom given. From the very first verse of Scripture the pattern is set: we cannot refrain from good works because of fear. We must embrace death before we do anything good. If our Lord had to carry the cross before his first work, we have to follow in his footsteps. Only he who has life can wrestle death, and only he who wrestles death can impart life.

Why did Jesus teach us to count the cost before becoming his disciples? Because the Lord himself counted the cost before he created. Consider the parable Jesus spoke to his potential disciples:

“Suppose one of you wants to be a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘The person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’

“Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:28-33, TNIV)

A disciple is someone who is trained by his master to be like his master. In the above passage Jesus teaches us what it means to be like him: he is the builder who counted the cost before he created. Jesus and his Father determined that they could finish creation before they started. God also foresaw that he would go to war against another potential king—Satan. The King of kings and Lord of lords predetermined that he would win the war. If he had not weighed up the cost of the war he would not have begun creating.

In light of this, we are enabled to understand Ephesians chapter one:

“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfilment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.” (Eph. 1:4-10, NIV, italics mine)

Yes, the Father and the Son counted the cost and they knew that the wealth of their love and grace—the immeasurable richness of it—was more than enough to redeem a sinful people who would reject their creator. They also knew that their “incomparably great power” was more than sufficient to defeat all demonic rule, authority, power and dominion (Eph. 1:19-23).

Prayer: Father, you did not flippantly create the heavens and the earth. You knew it would cost you your own life. You counted the cost and still went through with it. That’s the God I serve––one whose grace is richer than all the world’s evils. Help me to see and taste that amazing grace today. And enable me to follow in your footsteps.

God’s Eternal Power and Divine Nature – Day 9

The fact that God is creator means we cannot manipulate him, neither can we find any fault in him. All of our criticisms of the Creator are meaningless. Listen to God’s own Genesis 1:1 commentary:

“Do you question me about my children, or give me orders about the work of my hands? It is I who made the earth and created mankind upon it. My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry host…For this is what Yahweh says—he who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited—he says: I am Yahweh and there is no other.” (Isa. 45:11-12, 18, NASB)

By virtue of the act of creation, the creator is Lord; he deserves and is worthy of full control. This is one of the main reasons people do not meditate on the book of Genesis. As creator, he must be Lord—but this fact collides with our desire to be lord. We would rather call the shots, give the orders and direct our own lives. God as creator confronts us with usurping his lordship. Paul hits the nail on the head when he states:

“Men…suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities [attributes]—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” (Rom. 1:18-20, NIV)

The human race is without excuse. What may be known about God has been made plain. People do not need a Bible to pronounce judgment on them; their own lives condemn them. Even their very thoughts that suppress God judge them, since they are using God’s very gift of reason to reject their maker.

In the act of creation we see more than God’s eternal power: we also get a glimpse of his divine nature. “God created!” How awesome is that reality! God who knows all things, who knew human beings would suppress the knowledge of him, still created life. There was nothing that necessitated God to create. There was no outside law, no external force. A.W. Tozer referred to this when he wrote, “To admit the existence of need in God is to admit incompleteness in the divine being. Need is a creature-word and cannot be spoken of the Creator. God has a voluntary relation to everything He has made, but has no necessary relation to anything outside Himself.” God had no need to create; yet he created.

Prayer: Lord, you had no need to create and still you created. What an awesome God you are! Today, I stop struggling to be lord and creator of my own life. I surrender. Be Lord of my life and be my creator, for you already are these things.

Eternity & Time – Day 8

God’s nature is revealed by his act of creation. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” This verse implies all of God’s attributes. For example, if he is before all things and creator of all things, he must be all-knowing, almighty and all-pervading. Like a father holds a baby, he cradles the heavens and the earth in his hands. Remember what Solomon testified: “Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You” (1 Kings 8:27, NKJV). The heavens and the earth cannot contain God—rather, the creator contains them. This includes time, space and matter. And probably the most elusive of these dimensions is time itself.

Who can understand time? We cannot see it, but we do experience it. And because of its mystery, many mistakenly believe time is everlasting like God. However, time is not eternal; it does not infinitely extend both backwards and forwards. Time, as we know it, has its origins in God’s creation. It has a beginning and an ending. It is encased in God himself who declares, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” (Rev. 22:13).

In salvation we are invited into the fellowship of God himself; we are called into his eternal life (John 3:16). I think the best way to describe eternity is to call it God’s own time—an attribute of God himself. Eternity does not exist beside or outside of God: it refers to God’s own life. On the other hand, our time is created time. Moreover, it is now fallen time and consequently always slipping out of our grasp. Through salvation we participate in God’s time—his life—so that now we are able to redeem our created and fallen time. In other words, our time now becomes his time. Today, redeem the time because the days are evil (Eph. 5:16).

Prayer: “For yesterday and today and tomorrow are completely in time; however, You, though nothing can be without You, are nevertheless not in place or time but all things are in You. For nothing contains You, but You contain all things” (Anselm, Proslogion, 142-143). Thank you for bringing me into fellowship with yourself, into your eternal life. May your eternity invade my day and may you help me to redeem the time.

Who Are You Lord? – Day Seven

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” But who is God? This is an enquiry for the “poor in spirit”. Unfortunately, not all ask this question. Many are far too quick to declare who God is, speaking ignorantly of him, without ever seeking him out. Genesis 1:1 (as well as the whole creation account) gives us insight into the nature of God. In his act of creation we see his ways. Moreover, in God’s created world we see the greatest mark of his fingerprints. All of creation points to a greater reality. Jesus understood this view of the world. This is why his parables constantly related the wonders of creation to the Kingdom. All of creation illuminates who God is as well as who God is not. Could it be that the admirer of creation is closer to the Kingdom than the student of Scripture? Could it be that the garden is more of a sanctuary than a cathedral? Is this why Jesus’ favorite place to teach his disciples while in Jerusalem was a garden?

“In the beginning God…”—this is the beginning of the gospel, the good news. There is a God! We are not left to ourselves! We are not products of random chance! There is a purpose to the world that many teachers, professors and philosophers of our age do not know. Nor do they want to know because it may expose their life’s work as a sham, or at least seriously flawed. Along these lines, Soren Kierkegaard (quoted earlier) wrote something worth our deepest consideration:

“If there were no eternal consciousness in a man, if at the bottom of everything there were only a wild ferment, a power that twisting in dark passions produced everything great or inconsequential; if an unfathomable, insatiable emptiness lay hid beneath everything, what would life be but despair?”

How true! There is an eternal consciousness in man. Moreover, there is an Eternal Consciousness: the great “I AM.” This is the glorious good news. The “I AM,” who always is and acts on behalf of his creation is probably the greatest description of God given in Scripture. In the beginning was God—not chaos, random selection or even matter itself—but him who was, who is and who is to come. Along the same line Karl Barth observed: “The little clause ‘God is’ signifies a revolution.”

Again, who is God? Even Paul asked this question. When confronted by the resurrected Jesus, he cried out: “Who are you, Lord?” (Acts 9:5). This is not a question we can pass over quickly in our attempt to move on to the next thing. It is a question—a quest to know God (for a true question is a quest). Paul never graduated from this passionate pursuit. He never moved on to bigger and better things. This question stayed with him his whole life. In Philippians he exclaims: “I want to know Christ!” (Phil 3:10). We so easily presume we know God and foolishly run after the next fad. Yes, we may know God, but unless we realize there is more to know, we do not really know him as we ought. How can a finite being fully know him who is infinite? Knowing God is a life-long pursuit, and I believe it will also continue in heaven.

Prayer: Who are you, Lord? I want this to be my life’s pursuit. I don’t ever want to give up in this quest. Father, keep me from getting sidetracked, from getting distracted by so many tangents that many unknowingly fall into. You are the pearl of great price, the good news, and it’s you I want to know.

Action: Set aside time each day (undistracted time) to get to know your Lord. My good friend, Ram Marrero, recommends starting by spending 7 minutes with God for 40 days.

The Apostolic DNA of Genesis – Day 6

Today, there is a great need for spiritual fathers and mothers—mature disciples who know the “deep things of God” (1 Cor. 2:10). And there is no other book like Genesis to ground us in the depths of God’s ways. In Genesis we see the rise of the fathers—Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (along with the matriarchs: Sarah, Rebecca and Rachel). This makes Genesis very apostolic: it bears the DNA of the biblical apostles that were yet to come. Genesis is the book of beginnings, just as apostles are men of new beginnings—fathers who break new ground and reproduce Christ in others. Much of what is called the apostolic movement today is just froth, it lacks roots and foundations. Many men who call themselves apostles have not entered into the same experiences as our biblical forefathers. Have they, like Abraham, offered up what is dearest to their hearts? Have they with Isaac sowed in a time of famine? Do they know what it is to wrestle with God like Jacob? Do they know the pain of obscurity and suffering like Joseph? These are the very things that make a person and a church apostolic, but are sorely lacking today.

Apostles and apostolic people are like Abraham: they seek a city with foundations. They are not satisfied with merely big churches, the seeming appearance of success and so-called decisions for Christ—instead, they are searching for something that will last. They are willing to withstand long periods of barrenness until what is birthed comes from the Spirit, rather than natural means. Like Ishmael, that which is born of our own abilities may be blessed (Gen. 17:18-20). Yet it does not reflect the apostolic reality that is God’s ultimate intention.

The words “in the beginning” challenge the immature, but also confront legalists who possess pseudo-maturity. It is possible to have a form of maturity, but lack the apostolic quality of a true spiritual father or mother. This is because what may be legally advocated in Scripture may be entirely different than God’s original purposes. For example, the Pharisees endorsed divorce because Moses gave them permission to send away a wife. However, Jesus challenges them saying, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way” (Matt. 19:8, NASB). In other words, this was never God’s intent in the beginning!

Could it be that we are settling for something less than God’s ultimate desire because we do not know him who is from the beginning? If we do not know the eternal purposes of him who is from the beginning, we will have a tendency to embrace something legally permissible rather than apostolic. This is the condition of many that settle for the easy way rather than pursuing God’s heart.

Prayer: Father, your very DNA––your apostolic nature––is locked up in Genesis. May that DNA become a part of me and the church. You’re searching for apostolic men and women, men and women with foundations, people who are rooted in their origins. Make us into what you ultimately intended from the beginning. I don’t want to settle for anything less.

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