Tuesday, 12 July 2011
Warrior Bride - Pt 2 - Abraham, The Intercessor
Abraham, The Intercessor
Promises, pledges, oaths and vows. Words of marriage and, oddly enough, of war as well. Many promises exist throughout the engagement period of marriage. Pledges and oaths are taken in armies to maintain allegiance to our country of origin. Vows are made standing before an altar in a wedding ceremony. We take comfort and security in the promises and vows made in those decisive hours. Our oaths and pledges keep us in a narrow focus during times of war. Our allegiance is critical in times of difficulty.
It is the same in our understanding of the relationship between our Commander/Bridegroom and ourselves as we press on. In our journey to get from where we are to where we need to be, can we with any success examine the life of an intercessor, the life of a patriarch, the life of a very human man, and find our Warrior Bride?
Intercession from my understanding is an intimate knowledge of the voice and heart of God. It is the comprehension of the workings of God and a confidence that is built upon the knowledge of His promises. Intercession becomes the communication between the Bridegroom and His Betrothed.
It is my opinion that one of the greatest examples of this, of course, is Abraham. While the art of intercession and the life of Abraham are complete studies in themselves, this is not meant to be an exhaustive study of either. For our purposes, the life of Abraham, his humanity and his beautiful communion with the same Bridegroom we await, gives us a precious insight into issues of our own communication and character.
It is imperative to bear in mind that it is our humanity that brings us to a place of trusting and dependence on that Voice we are desperate for. Abraham went forth on the promise of an unseen God to an unknown land. Abraham survived, functioned and stood firm on the promises of the Voice who spoke to him. This does not take away his humanity or his very human response to situations that seemed beyond the promise. Just as in many of us today, it was fear and impatience that drove him, at times, to shut out the voice instead of trusting in the One who called him out.
The stories are so familiar that they are like old friends. The exchange between Abraham and God for the preservation of Sodom and Gomorrah, the covenant of circumcision, Hagar and Ishmael, the miracle of Sarah and Isaac and, of course, the great sacrifice.
In the midst of all the communication between Abraham and the Almighty, we are allowed to catch a glimpse into God’s patience with our humanity. In his heart of hearts, “Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness”.
The communication between Abraham and our Commander/Bridegroom is what we need today. Believing the One who makes the promise allows us to become the Warrior Bride. We must believe the Voice we hear and trust in the fulfillment of the promises and pledges it brings. If we follow the Voice in doing battle, the victory shall be ours. If we are listening for the intimate call into His chamber, the promise is that we shall know Him.
Abraham walked with ridicule from his wife, questions from his son and greed from his nephew, yet still it was the promise and the Voice that gave him the hope that he clung to. Just like us however, just because we hear the Voice and have the promises doesn’t negate our humanity.
I believe the essential element throughout Abraham’s life is that his heart believed. He believed that he could commune with that One whose voice he heard. When all those around him were traveling the same way, were also part of the covenant, what sets Abraham apart was that he believed the promise.
Abraham also knew the cost of the promise. There is much to be said about trust and belief as he walked his only son up that mountain. A knife was raised to actually sacrifice the seed of the promise. The very Voice that had called him, lead him and that he trusted was now asking him to lay down the very thing he had been given.
The Warrior Bride must learn to listen to and believe the Voice of our Commander/Bridegroom. We have been generations of skeptics and those who can go through the motions, but not actually allow things to touch our hearts. In our humanity, our trust has crumbled and our belief system is unbalanced.
Our place as the Warrior Bride is one that has the ear of our Bridegroom. Just as Abraham plead the cause of a lost city, so we too have the freedom to intercede on the behalf of so many others. Just as Abraham believed, though that belief was stretched and tested to the very limits, we also need to believe the Voice of our Commander/Bridegroom. If that Voice tells us to sacrifice the very seed of our dreams, we need to get to the place of trusting and believing.
It is such a diverse and personal journey. For each of us the exchange of pledges and promises, oaths and vows will be vastly different. What my Bridegroom asks of me in a show of my trust and belief will perhaps mean nothing to you. But it will be the seed of my promise. It is the very promise that holds my hope and faith and dreams, and it will be tied up and laid on an altar for the testing of my heart.
There are times I am fearful for my life and my family, so my humanity kicks in to reveal the unbelief in my heart. There are times I am impatient for the fulfillment of all that has been promised, so I run on ahead of my Commander right into enemy fire. There are times when indeed everything is ready to be sacrificed. How is that walk up the mountain for me? How is it for you? Is it spent begging and pleading for the chance to escape having to make this sacrifice? The cost is too great? We say no cost is too great for our Commander/Bridegroom, but are we able to lift the knife? The issues of sacrifice are highly personal and different for us all.
As we are preparing ourselves to be the Glorious Bride of Christ, it is imperative that we believe Him. Not just believe in Him and what He has done for us, but rather believe Him. On the surface, most of us scoff at this notion as being an infantile concept. Of course we believe Him. Huffing and puffing, we sputter about how much we love our Bridegroom and how close we are to Him. Look at all we do for Him and the fruit of our labor. Understanding that I applaud all the work and the fruit, I beg you to consider the possibility of a deeper belief system.
Would you, in all honesty, have believed in a voice that promised you the world – descendants as the number of the stars in the heavens – and then asked you to kill that very promise? I submit that this is a challenging notion about our trust in a Bridegroom who will not hurt us, or tease us, or play with our emotions.
What has been your promise? To be sure, you have heard that Voice pledging your future. Now, what has He been asking for? Can you even make the walk up the mountain without pleading for the possibility of not having to sacrifice at all?
These issues are such intensely personal ones that they virtually have nothing to do with your public walk. No one else knew what Abraham had to do. He made no effort to garner sympathy for this great sacrifice. He simply walked and believed. We see clearly that Abraham had our fears, our impatience, and our humanity. We see that it was his belief that enabled the walk up the mountain.
The more we make the sacrifices we are called to make, the more we know and understand the heart of the One who calls us. We can have an exchange with Him, we can intercede, because we know Him, we trust Him and we believe Him. Our trust will lead us to intimacy and war. The oaths and pledges given by our Commander raise our expectations and our level of trust.
As a bride stands before her groom, and a soldier before his officer, mutual trust and belief must accompany the promises and pledges made. Nothing will happen of any consequence if that trust is not there. Battles will not be won, neither will a partnership be established. Our Warrior Bride must make every effort to understand, trust and believe the Voice that calls her. In doing that she will be rewarded with the communion she craves and victory in the wars that are so necessary to win.
“Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him…”