Abiding forever

centaurus-a-11190_640Psalm 125:1: Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever.

“Abiding forever” is a concept that was fully realised under the New Testament in Christ. However, the focus verse gives an insight into what that entails. It shows that we get to take on the identity of the God or god we worship in trust, so when we trust in almighty eternal God we take on his identity, his possibilities, and so get to abide forever.

The bible clearly establishes that we take on the qualities of what/whom we worship (Psalm 115:3-8, 135:15-18), exhibiting their character. So, when we worship a stone, a carving, what does that imply?

You assume all the liabilities and abilities of the one you worship. What about God? Does he have any limitation? No. So worshipping him gives the best deal, and the one I refer to is the father of our Lord Jesus Christ, as revealed on the pages of the bible, not any other concocted up in the imagination of man.

Since life is in God (John 1:1-5), any other thing/one we worship in any form merely manifests death to us. In the Garden of Eden there was the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:9, 16-17; 3), corresponding respectively to life and death.

They stand as the two directions, the two options in which we can take: the direction of trust in God (yielding to his will) and living forever and the direction of self-will which will lead to death.

When man did not take the right path, he could not live forever. The oldest man that ever lived as recorded in the bible was aged 969, the age of Methuselah before his death (Genesis 5:27). But that was not the plan of God. It does not make him happy. He made man in his image (Genesis 1:26-28) and He does not die.

Death which is both a state and a process which ends in the cessation of breath became the position of men (based on the judgement of God on man for sin in the Garden of Eden). The end of man was a lifeless body which defeats the mission God has for man to dominate on the earth. At death, man became divided into two, a lifeless body and a soul which goes into an existence below that of God.

After the sin of man, the way to the tree of life was supernaturally blocked. Angels with fiery swords were stationed on the way there.  So man was blocked by fear, by fear of the sword and mean-looking angels on path to the tree of life. Conversely it takes being supernaturally guided in faith (in another sword: the word of God [Hebrews 4:12], Jesus [John 1:14]) for us to experience that tree of life.

Jesus told Martha that he who believes in him and lives will not die and the one who died and believes in him will live again (John 11). He said that the day as come that the dead will hear his voice and those who hear will live (John 5:25). He disclosed himself by self revelation as the resurrection and life. In Christ we have the true way back to the tree of life and he is the tree of life. Didn’t he say that he is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6)?

Trust is a heart thing, and it is tested in different circumstances. Even Jesus’ trust in God was tested. Since he had the choice to die or to not die, he needed to trust God to raise him from the dead to willingly give his cheek to be smitten, his hands to be nailed to the cross, to have a crown of thorns on his head, with unqualified humiliation, because he trusted that God will recompense him with glory at the end of it all, that he will come out of the grave in power, raised from the dead by the mighty hand of God (Acts 2:25-28, 31-32).

Similarly, the trust of Abraham was tested when God asked that he sacrifice his son (Genesis 22). Note that before then God had performed the miracle for the birth of Isaac, he had refused to heed Abraham’s plea to make let Ishmael be his only son (Genesis 17). God was adamant about having Sarah give birth to a child in her old age to be called Isaac; now God was saying the child will die!?

Abraham was convinced that God was trustworthy, and has the best outcome in mind. But apparently what was happening was a contradiction, why will God give life and then want to take it, give joy and then want to take it?

How did Abraham resolve that issue within himself?

He concluded that God’s plan will have to involve raising Isaac from the death (Hebrews 11:17-19). That was the only logical thing his firm trust in God can accommodate. That means though Isaac will be sacrificed and die, as far as Abraham was concerned, he will be raised up to fulfil the will of God.

He trusted that God is great enough to raise Isaac to fulfil the divine mandate on his life. He trusted that no matter what, God will find a way to bring his word to pass in the life of Isaac and by extension in his (Abraham) own life.

The firmness of Abraham’s trust in God caused him to not be moved from the path of commitment and obedience to him. He went ahead on the mission of making a sacrifice of his son in obedience to God. Eventually he did not have to do that, as God at the last moment provided a replacement for Isaac.

What about Adam and Eve?

Eve was moved from the path of trust in God into the path of disobedience. For Eve the question was: what do you trust: your natural senses or the word of God, since what the devil did was to cause Eve to pay attention to what is sensual, (which communicated something else to her as being right) other than the word of God.  Yielding to the stirring of her senses, she concluded that the forbidden fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was the best for her, against the word and will of God.

For Adam the choice was also trust. He sinned what he followed Eve’s example to eat the forbidden fruit. The question for him was: did he trust in what Eve modelled more than in God’s word, as being the best for him?

What Adam followed was a bad example while what Eve followed was her senses. Both were contrary to the word of God and can cause us to be moved from the word of God, from life to death (Galatians 6:7-8).

What we need is to be established in truth, grounded in trust in God and obedience of faith, which is about yielding to God’s spirit in opposition to our flesh and yielding to being around positive models rather than the negative ones. The bible says that we should not be deceived bad company affects our manners negatively (1Corinthians 15:33).

 

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