It Was Always About Christ
God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ—which is to fulfill his own good plan. And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth. Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan. Eph 1:9-11 NLT
God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance… Heb 1:2 NLT
You have put all things in subjection under his feet. Heb 2:8 NKJV
There is a fairly common psychological disorder referred to as “insecurity” which can manifest in both children and adults given various offending conditions. Probably the most common provocations that induce insecurity are general instability and unpredictable and unexpected changes and mishaps in daily life. Generally speaking, just a change in routine can cause many to experience insecurity. Children are particularly vulnerable to this uncomfortable and often frightening dilemma.
I have witnessed this state in children many, many times over the course of many years and it is very sad to behold. Children most often respond with rowdy, disobedient, antisocial, out-of-control, disoriented behavior. Children most often manifest these symptoms as a response to a lack of supervision, control, order, routine, rules, enforcement and a general lack of boundaries in their immediate world. Interestingly, adults can fall prey to much of the same kind of stimuli in their world and experience real insecurity as well. Adults tend to respond with fear and anxiety which can create problems in their interpersonal relationships and their ability to react appropriately and maturely to everyday problems and life crises.
Most of us, as a rule, prefer order, predictableness, stability and a sense that someone is in charge regarding whatever endeavor we may be ensuing. Most people seem to want a sense that there is some kind of authority structure in play, that some kind of plan is in force. Many years ago, at a squadron party during my stint in the USMC, I found myself in a small group conversation that included a salty, old Gunnery Sergeant. The Gunny was explaining about a short period in his Marine career when he took a hiatus in civilian life. He seemed to indicate that things were pretty good on the outside. I was compelled then to ask the GySgt, “If things were so good, why did you come back into the Marine Corps?” His immediate and abbreviated response was simply, “Because there ain’t no one in charge out there.”
OK, why am I talking so much about insecurity? Because, conditions are rife in our nation and the world for a major outbreak of wholesale insecurity in America. The problem is, the consequences won’t be just some latent fear and expressions of anxiety, national insecurity will lead to societal breakdown, to greatly increased crime and societal disruption from sea to shining sea. Why would I say this? Because, the populace is wakening to the reality that their lives are being manipulated and controlled by nefarious forces beyond the shores of this once great nation. Americans are realizing their leaders are puppets whose strings are being pulled by global banksters whose only allegiance is to themselves. People are realizing we only have the semblance of order and control in our country and that the entire inner structure of the nation is a house of cards. In a word, “There ain’t no one in charge out there.”
To make matters even worse, we have managed to extrude God from basically every institution and vestige of life in our nation. We have expelled the very one who called order out of chaos and is the only one who can offer us the peace that passes understanding. The government has so successfully insinuated itself into the warp and woof of our lives that it has become the surrogate redeemer for most. So many of our churches are more focused on conducting absorbing rituals than encouraging, training, and challenging us to deepen our relationship and walk with Christ. When things fall apart, so many church goers are going to be spiritually left battling fear and anxiety.
When we make God simply a figure head, when we give little more than ritualistic credence to God in our lives, when Christianity is more about religion than relationship, than we are fundamentally attempting to lay our own plans and chart our own course in life and eternity. We have forgotten the proverbial reality that…
Many plans are in a man’s heart, but the purpose of the Lord will prevail. Pro 19:21 BSB
The book of Judges is replete with accounts in the history of Israel of what results from rejecting God’s oversight and leadership. It is summed up in the last verse of that record thusly:
In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes. Ju 21:25 KJV
Many may remember a TV series from the 80’s called “The A-Team” starring George Peppard. The lead character was John “Hannibal” Smith and he generated a catch phrase that is still recognizable and oft repeated still today. In every episode you could depend on Hannibal saying, “I love it when a plan comes together.” Plans are simply a fact of life. If you are going to build something, you have a blueprint, a plan. Sports teams always have designed plays, they have a “game plan.” Most people, although they may not write it down or articulate it, have at least a general idea or plan for their lives. The military has contingency plans for every conceivable hostile scenario possible. I once had a boss whose mantra was, “Plan your work and work your plan.”
Although this kind of planning makes a lot of sense, variables and contingencies often force innumerable alterations, recalculations or even potential cancellations. The only anchor we have is the Lord Jesus Christ. God has always had a plan whose origin dates to eternity past. Unless we understand and embrace the eternal plan of God, we will find ourselves in peril of losing our way. God’s plan has always been centered in his beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Everything is going to be subject to his authority, put under his feet. The Father has promised everything to the Son as an inheritance. Incredibly, as disciple followers of Jesus, we are called to participate and share in Jesus’ inheritance:
For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ. Heb 3:14 NLT
There is a wonderful account in the 24th chapter of Genesis that portrays the essence of the Father’s eternal plan for the Son as well as showing our role in the plan. Our only hope of knowing and experiencing true peace, rest, and security is in looking only to the plan of God and orienting our lives fully according to it. In Genesis 24 we find the story of Abraham initiating a search for a wife for Isaac, the son of promise. He does this by charging the chief steward of his household to commence a journey to Abraham’s homeland and therein procure a wife for Isaac from his relatives. In the process of fulfilling this assignment, the steward prays a prayer, part of which was:
Help me to accomplish the purpose of my journey. Gen 24:12 NLT
In his brief prayer, we find three keys relative to our knowing, embracing, and following the plan of God. We have here the steward, the purpose and the journey. In setting the stage for our discussion, we need to go back and start with Abraham. Keep in mind that what I am seeing in this story is types and shadows which are basically prophetic foretellings of future events. Scofield defined a type as a divinely purposed illustration of some truth. I think we can find that the gospel of the kingdom is shown throughout the Old Testament just as we will see in this Genesis 24 account. If everything regarding the coming of Jesus and the kingdom of God is so thoroughly ensconced in the Old Testament, how is it that the Jewish leaders missed it so badly? With all of the prophecies, with everything in their entire ecclesial life pointing to the coming Messiah, how could they be so blind?
I believe one of the greatest factors in this tragedy had to do with their failing to hold sacred the entire Abrahamic promise. A promise that was reiterated to Isaac and then again to Jacob:
I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you; and all the families of the earth will be blessed through you. Gen 12:2,3 BSB
Here’s the neglected portion, “…and all the families of the earth will be blessed through you.” Israel made the promise exclusively about them. They alone were the unique special people of God. Messiah was only coming to redeem and restore Israel. Nothing in their imagination could conceive of God’s favor extending to the Samaritans or particularly to the Gentiles. Secondarily, it appears that most of the Jewish leaders became swept up in pride, seeking the glory of man rather than the glory of God. Jesus described them as hypocrites and chastised them for not only refusing to enter the kingdom of God but for keeping others from entering also.
Please refresh your mind with the opening scriptures in this article. From eternity past, the Father was always about providing an inheritance for the Son. Everything in and about all creation has always been centered in the Son. A huge part of that plan included a body and a bride for his beloved Son. It is therein that awesomely, amazingly we have been incorporated into the eternal plan centered in Christ. We have been called to become his bride.
Genesis 24 is a portrait of the Father obtaining a bride for the Son. This is a wonderful example of how God hides an eternal truth in the history and story of the children of Israel that it might be discovered and found out. “It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out.” This is one of the reasons we must do more than simply read the Bible. We must study it, research it, meditate and pray on it, and mine it for all its worth. There are more than ample study resources available online such as blueletterbible.org and biblehub.com that provide excellent layman tools for deeper Bible study.
In order for God’s promise to Abraham to become a reality, it was necessary for him to have a son, and the son must have a bride. In the overview of this story, it appears that Abraham is a type of the Father, Isaac a type of Christ, and the steward is a type of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit was given to bring the bride to Christ. He came bearing gifts, and in this account the steward had 10 camels’ worth signifying completeness. Even though the Scripture says that Christ is coming for a church without spot or wrinkle, the Holy Spirit is working to bring the church, the bride to a place of preparedness for the Lord’s coming.
There is another sense in which every disciple follower of Jesus Christ is the steward in this story. We are in our own way participating in the inheritance Christ the Son will receive. We do that by stewarding our lives in a manner which gives Jesus his rightful place in them. As we deny self, take up our cross daily, and follow, we are day by day conformed to the image of Christ. As we interact with other true followers, working to build each other up in Christ, calling each other more and more into that full stature life in him, we become that bride without spot or wrinkle for which he is returning.
If you are a confessing Christian and are still ruling over your own life, you do not understand biblical Christianity. Answering the call to follow, such as Levi, Peter and Andrew, and James and John, who left everything and followed, means surrendering one’s life absolutely and totally to Christ. From that point, the only faithful and obedient thing we can do is steward our lives unto Him for His sake. Although Abraham’s steward, Eliezer, owned nothing of his own, he had access to everything that belonged to Abraham. Joseph was an example of a biblical steward. When his brothers sold him into slavery, he ended up in Egypt where Pharaoh’s captain of the Guard, Potiphar, purchased him. When Potiphar realized that the Lord blessed everything Joseph did, he “…put him in charge of his household and entrusted him with everything he owned.”
Life is a journey for everyone. Fundamentally, there are really only two courses one can take in this life—one is a course that honors and satisfies one’s own ambitions, ends, and desires. The other course is in following Jesus. On this course we would be committed to conduct ourselves as he would in all dealings and relationships. Our life journey following this course would mean putting implicit trust in God and seeking first the kingdom of God. In the New Testament this course is referred to as “the way.” (And about that time there arose a great commotion about the Way. Acts 9:23 NKJV) On the first course, persons rule over their own lives and God is an after-thought. On the second course one learns to distinguish the voice of God and like Jesus, do only what he sees the Father do and what he hears the Father say.
All journeys share at least two prominent factors: they all have a destination and they all include unforeseen and mostly unplanned for exigencies along the way. The important thing is to keep one’s focus where it needs to be. In Bunyan’s classic novel, Pilgrim’s Progress, Christian experiences innumerable trials and temptations on his journey to the Celestial City. The question is, was progress defined by reaching the city or by the person he became on the journey? God delivered Israel out of Egyptian captivity for one express purpose, to get them into the Promised Land. The journey from Egypt to Canaan was fraught with unanticipated challenges and obstacles for which they had less than faithful responses. Had they been more believing in and trusting of God in the journey, they may have had an entirely different response after arriving at the border of Canaan and searching out the land.
In many ways, the journey can prepare us for the destination. When Nehemiah requested permission of the Babylonian king to return to Jerusalem, the king had one pertinent question: “How long shall thy journey be?” The king wasn’t asking about the distance from point A to point B. He was asking about the substance of his journey, the essence of what comprised his journey. He was asking about all that gave meaning and significance to his travel.
Our journey in Christ most certainly has a destination. It has to do with growing up into the full stature in Christ. It has to do with being utterly conformed to his image. What we experience along the way, how we respond to all we encounter in the journey, synergistically works to shape us into the persons Christ died for us to become. Paul expressed it this way: “I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be.”
As with Eliezar, our journey also has purpose. Like him, we are also stewards set about in a very real sense to find a bride for “Isaac.” In faithfully following Christ in trusting obedience, we are becoming the bride he is coming for. We are becoming his body that will ultimately give expression to his ruling and reigning on earth as in heaven. We will rule and reign with him in his kingdom being an integral part of his realized inheritance from the Father. It is our supreme purpose to allow ourselves to be God’s workmanship in Christ Jesus that he may ultimately bring everything together under the authority of his Son.
May we in all our comings and goings remember that it was always about Christ. May we find ourselves praying in all faithfulness, expectation, and gratitude the prayer of a faithful steward…
O Lord… Help me to accomplish the purpose of my journey