Sand and Stars – Stars
Pastor Stephen Hayes
Sunday April 9, 2017
Theme – Sand and stars are mentioned together in God’s promise to Abraham (Genesis 22: 17) as symbols of how He blesses us. Great blessings were promised to Abraham and his descendants. Jesus is both God and man at the same time, thereby not only being the means of our eternal salvation, but also providing Heavenly blessings to us in the flesh.
The importance of fatherhood
- Numerous statistics point to problems that come to fatherless households in the United States.
- These negative outcomes involve poverty, infant mortality, out of wedlock pregnancies, and behavioral problems with the children.
- We must see ourselves as sons in order to properly function in life, and to receive blessings our Father has for us.
Sand represents the “flesh” of our earthly condition
- It is sometimes difficult to recognize God’s promises for our lives. In “the flesh” it is sometimes difficult to see His heavenly blessings.
- God has promised us many blessings while – at the same time – He has already cursed Satan. Genesis 12: 1-3 – Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
- Notice how many times blessings are mentioned in those verses compared to only the singular curse of Satan.
- God is taking care of you. He has already cursed Satan. Satan has no influence over you.
Abraham lived “in the sand” but navigated “by the stars”
- Fresh vision comes when we are submitted.
- Abraham knew well the life of living in the sand. But, he also knew he had to navigate through life by following the stars.
- It is impossible to count all our blessings because they are so numerous. Genesis 15: 4-5 – And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.” Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”
- When we look up to “the stars” (God Himself) we are able to understand things we cannot if we solely focus on what we see “in the flesh.”
Similarities between Isaac and Jesus
- God’s plan is for us is to understand ourselves as being His sons.
- Isaac - by his submission and by his relationship to his father Abraham - represents Jesus, through whom we have a relationship with God.
- Jesus is our reference point for what was represented by the Old Testament character Isaac. Philippians 2: 5-8 – Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
- Jesus incorporates the nature of both sand and stars. He lives like us “in the sand” while – at the same time – being what we look to for Heavenly guidance “in the stars.”
- The Greek word for “look up” is anablepo, which means “to receive sight, to regain sight.”
- We need to look up to regain our perspective; to see things as they really are.
- When we look up our perceptions are opened. Mark 7: 34 – Then, looking up to heaven, He sighed, and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.”
- When we look up we receive blessings. Luke 9: 16 – Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the multitude.
- When we look up we receive breakthrough; opposition is removed. Mark 16: 4 – But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away – for it was very large.
No limitation to our blessings when we see ourselves as sons
- There is nothing that can prevent us from accomplishing – and receiving – what God has intended for us.
- Hebrews 6: 13-15 – For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.” And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.
- Look up to your creator for all your provision and satisfaction (the stars) for what you are dealing with in the world (the sand.)
- When we accept Jesus as our savior (the Messiah) we are able to access Heavenly guidance and blessings for our earthly journey.
Reflective Questions for Sand and Stars - Stars
- What does it mean to have a “heavenly perspective”?
- Do you have an example, from your own experiences, where you were able to receive a heavenly perspective about something you were experiencing?
- If so, how did this perspective change your thinking? How did it change your actions or activities? How did it change how you talked to people?
- Did you receive any blessings because of your heavenly perspective?
- What burdens (or restrictions) were removed?
- How does knowing that Jesus personifies both sand and stars help with your daily journey?