Pastor, author, and Bible teacher, Alan Wright.
The fact of the matter is that if you were to read the Bible moralistically, like it's saying, look at these good people, be like them, you really don't need the Bible for that. You could just tell people, be more like Mr. Rogers. That's Pastor Alan Wright. Welcome to another message of good news that will help you see your life in a whole new light. I'm Daniel Britt, excited for you to hear the teaching today in the series called Providence as presented at Granola Church in North Carolina. If you're not able to stay with us throughout today's entire program, I want to make sure you know how to get our special resource right now. It can be yours for your donation this month to Alan Wright Ministries.
So as you listen to today's message, go deeper in your study as we send you today's special offer. Contact us at PastorAlan.org. That's PastorAlan.org. Or call 877-544-4860.
877-544-4860. More on that later in the program. But now, let's get started with today's teaching.
Here is Alan Wright. He said, sweetheart, do you love me? And she said, yes, Daddy. He said, would you give me your pearls? And she shook her head no. The third night he came in and he said, sweet girl, do you love me? She said, yes, Daddy. And as he got ready to ask the question, she took the pearls off of her neck and she handed those costume pearls to her father who took them in his right hand. And as he took them in his right hand, he pulled out his left hand behind his back and he gave her a string of real pearls.
Sounds good, doesn't it? It's moving, it's beautiful in a lot of ways, but what's wrong with it? I think that by using that illustration, which we can in some way quickly identify with, I think I can show you what's wrong with so many interpretations of Genesis 22. If you were to go online, as I did again this week, and look up all of the sermons on the Abraham-Isaac story, 95% of them say something like this. Look at what Abraham did in his great sacrificial love for God.
He offered up what was most precious to him. Be more like Abraham. What is your Isaac? What is it that God might be asking you to give up?
What do you need to let go and show your surrender of your real love and trust for God? Be more like Abraham. They all say that.
Half of them are entitled, what's your Isaac? Which if that's the interpretation of the story, then there's not much good news here. In fact, as I was talking to a family member just this weekend said, what are you preaching about? And I told her and she said, oh I hate that story.
I said, well come to church, maybe you'll change your mind. In the first place, what's wrong with it is that it is entirely the wrong way to read the Bible. In our little sermon illustration of the girl with the pearls, as tender as it is, the attention of the illustration is on the girl.
And her sacrifice, it became the pivotal part of the story. And so often the way we are accustomed to reading the Bible, we read it as if we're finding ourselves trying to be like the great Bible heroes. But it's the wrong way to read the Bible. Because let's just take Abraham, for Abraham for example. It might be that he looks like he is a person of heroic trust in this story, but if you were to flip the pages, you could find another story where, for example, Abraham goes into Egypt with his wife Sarah, that local officials will kill Abraham in order to take Sarah as one of their wives. And so he says to Sarah, he says, how about you pretend to be my sister?
And he makes her go along with it, and he goes in and lies and says, this is my sister, to save his own skin. My wife's got some issues with Abraham over that story. So you can't say be like Abraham unless you pick out which stories you want to be like Abraham. Or take David, for example. And we always read the story and say, be like David. He ran towards his Goliath.
He faced his giants. We all need to be more brave like David. Well, that's fine if you're doing the David and Goliath story, but it's not so good if you come to another text where it says he was lounging about his palace at the times in which kings went to war.
Instead, he was loafing around his own palace, saw a woman on another rooftop, lusted after her, eventually had her husband killed so he could take her. You don't want to be like that. And so all the stories go. The fact of the matter is that if you were to read the Bible moralistically, like it's saying, look at these good people, be like them, you really don't need the Bible for that. You could just tell people, be more like Mr. Rogers.
Find some good person and try to emulate them. To tell people to be more like Mr. Rogers, you don't need a messy cross and a resurrection story and a miracle of the Holy Spirit. The Bible is not a story about you and you becoming a better person. The Bible is one big story that tells the revelation of what God has done to rescue you by his infinite love through the gift of his son Jesus Christ and how he came to defeat sin, to defeat death, to destroy disease, to make you his own, call you his co-heirs, and to take you with him for all eternity to live in a new heaven and a new earth. So every page of the Bible in one way or another is giving you a glimpse of that story. So every place in the Bible, whether you're reading a story in Genesis or you're reading the revelation of John on the Isle of Potmos or whether you're reading Levitical laws in the book of Leviticus, you're reading in some way an aspect of God's ever-increasing revelation of his love for you and what he's done for you. The attention of the Bible is on Jesus. Well, that changes a whole lot of things. And if you read the Bible or our little sermon illustration that way, your attention's in the wrong place. But here's the second thing. The little girl with pearls in the illustration, it's sweet. But our story, the idea of Abraham offering his son, it's an entirely different thing.
It's not about faux pearls. Our story in Genesis 22, it's about the killing of somebody. The first thing to say about that is that child sacrifice was an abomination in Israel. For example, Deuteronomy 18, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations, speaking of the pagan nations around them. There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering.
The pagan nations did that to try to move their gods. And so at risk of being being too ugly to think of, I think I need to do it. If the little girl's pearl illustration were to symbolize how important it is for us to give up what is most precious to God, well, if you compare it to Genesis 22, you're going to have to think about something other than pearls.
Maybe she's got a puppy. See, it gets bad to even think about. When people would preach Genesis 22 and say, what's your Isaac? Or are you willing to give up?
They usually make their illustrations relate to, you know, giving up, you know, your desire to have others' approval or some other, you know, little thing that seems doable. Well, that's not what the story is about. It can't be that this story is in any way in the end about Abraham killing his own son because it would make God to be a liar. God had spoken, and when he speaks, his word is eternal. He said, there shall never be any of my people that would offer a child sacrifice that way. So there is no way that Abraham thought he was coming down that mountain with a dead son, and there's no way that God thought Abraham was coming down that mountain with a dead son.
That can't be what this story is about. The third thing that is wrong with the little girl's pearl illustration and with reading the story as be more like Abraham, the third thing that's wrong with it is that it implies that God is somehow impressed with our sacrifices. That's Alan Wright, and we'll have more teaching in a moment from today's important series. Unlock the power of blessing your life. Discover God's grace-filled vision for your life by signing up for Alan Wright's free daily blessing. If you want to fill your heart with grace and encouragement, get Alan Wright's daily blessing.
It's free and just a click away at pastorallan.org. God's love. You've heard about it with your ears.
You've believed it in your mind. Now experience it in your heart with Alan Wright's beloved book, Lover of My Soul. The Bible is a love story from beginning to end. You are the spiritual bride of Christ, the perfect bridegroom. The Bible tells about a God who has gone to unimaginable lengths to woo you, to win you, and to walk with you hand in hand. For any man who has fallen in love with a woman, you've tasted the sweetness of what God's love for you is like. For any woman who has searched for true love, what you long for can only be found fully in God. Gary Chapman, renowned author of the five love languages, says the incredible reality that God pursues us in love comes to life in Lover of My Soul. Ancient biblical accounts explode in the heart. Accept Christ's proposal, enjoy his embrace, revel in his love.
After all, it's a match made in heaven. It's Lover of My Soul by Alan Wright. The gospel is shared when you give to Alan Wright Ministries. This broadcast is only possible because of listener financial support. When you give today, we will send you today's special offer. We are happy to send this to you as our thanks from Alan Wright Ministries. Call us at 877-544-4860. That's 877-544-4860. Or come to our website, PastorAlan.org.
Today's teaching now continues. Here once again is Alan Wright. If God is like a father who says to a child, I want to give you something, but only after you give me something, then the whole of the gospel is compromised. The whole call of Abraham in the first place was rooted in this strange man who's just called up out of the earth, the Chaldees, and no reason is given why Abraham.
And God just takes him out in a field and points him up in the dark night to try to count the stars and said, that's how many your descendants are going to be. He makes great and precious promises to Abraham, not because Abraham had somehow merited it or given him something or sacrificed for him. The central difference between the gospel of Jesus Christ and almost every other religious expression in the world is that religion says that there's something I can do for God that will make God want to bless me more. Whereas the gospel is entirely the opposite. Christ came at the right moment, the Bible says, and died for the ungodly while they were still in their sin. Furthermore, Jesus himself said in Matthew 9 13, go learn what this means. I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I came not to call the righteous but sinners.
He's quoting the prophet Hosea who spoke this word of the Lord. I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice. The knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. Steadfast love, chesed, the covenantal love of God. This is what I love, God says. This is what I delight in, is a relationship of covenantal love with you. It's what God says I always wanted.
It's what I've always desired. I've never been impressed by your sacrifices. God gave in the old covenant the sacrificial system wherein the people could bring turtle doves and make their offerings and express thank offerings and at Passover bring their unblemished lamb. But never was it implied by God that this is the ultimate aim of his relationship with his people. It was instead a gift to the people so that they could temporarily know that their sin had been covered. It was a way in which they could express their worship to God. But it was all a shadow.
It was all temporary. It was all pointing to the fulfillment that would come in the person of Jesus. So what God has said and Jesus has just confirmed it directly, said this is what God desires.
He never was pleased with sacrifices. God isn't sitting up in heaven waiting to see whether you'll give up your strand of pearls, whether he's going to decide whether to bless you or not. To describe the gospel, that illustration would have to change radically. It'd have to be something more like there's a little girl who has a strand of pearls but she has contracted a dreaded potentially mortal disease and her father sells his family business to take the proceeds to pay for her medical care and then risks his life to donate his own bone marrow and as they go into the hospital for the life-saving procedure, he says, sweetheart, you'll have to take off those pearls while these doctors make you all better. Meanwhile, the father has given his all. In fact, if you were to tell the story better, it'd have to be more like a little girl who loved costumed pearls and then the father came in with bright beautiful real pearls and said, look at these, darling. I've brought you some real pearls. Would you like to take off your others and put on the real?
Yes, daddy, thank you. But God doesn't dangle his love in front of us. So that's not what the story is about. So what's the story about? Well, the story is not about Abraham's sacrifice or Abraham's provision for God. The story is about God's sacrifice. It's about God's provision. Go back to verse 8. God will see for himself a lamb. That's what provision is. God will see for himself a lamb. That's literally what the text says. All of our English translations say God will provide, but it literally says God will see.
It is like we have an expression. God will see to it. I'll see to it. He'll see. And same thing at verse 14. Abraham called the name of that place. The Lord will see.
As it said to this day, if you translate it literally, on the mount of the Lord, it shall be seen. And we're not left with any impression that somehow a ram has accidentally wandered into the thicket in the exact spot where Abraham would have need of it. No, you understand from reading the story that God placed the ram there, which I remember years ago when my heart rejoiced and realizing what this means is that God was already in that spot. He was already in Abraham's future. He was already ahead of Abraham, making the provision of the ram. He was already there before he even asked Abraham to take Isaac up on the hill. In the first place, God is eternal, and we're in time.
I wish I could understand physics. They say if we could travel at the speed of light, time would stand still. God is light. God isn't confined by time.
This is why when we pray for healing of trauma and emotion in our lives, we can trust that we can actually ask God to minister in a moment that's in the past. I know that just sounds bizarre, but He's there. And in the same way, He is in your future.
You have to put aside human categories to even begin to let your mind imagine such a thing, but this is who God is. He's already ahead of you, making a provision that you don't yet know that you will need. Glory to God. It's been a big couple weeks at our house because we have redone Bennett's old room. I've been asking to redo Bennett's old room, well, just about from the time he went to college in 2013. My office at home, I'm not complaining, but it's smaller than our bedroom closet, and I'm not complaining.
It's nice. I've got a window there and a nice view, and I've enjoyed it over these many years. But I have said, we have a room that nobody's in. Honey, could I put a desk over in that room? And I need to get a stand-up desk. I'm sitting all day long, and I said, I need to stand up some. She said, maybe someday, sweetie, maybe someday.
And so I bring this up a couple times a year since 2013, and nothing seemed to be happening until there was an announcement that there is a grandbaby coming in October. And now Annie has said, we need to have a place for the baby when they visit, a crib in there, and we need to redo that room. I said, could I put a desk in there?
She said, maybe so. So anyway, we have removed all of Bennett's old stuff and taken it all out and painted the room and fixed it up, and it looks really good. And I drug the crib down from the attic, same crib the kids were in when they were babies, been up in the attic.
Does anybody know how hot it is in an attic when it's 95 degrees outside? Yeah. And you should have seen me bringing that thing down, crashing down the narrow steps, scrubbing that crib, getting it ready. Alan Wright, our good news message. God's got this.
It's from the series Providence. And I encourage you to stick with us because Master Alan is back in the studio sharing his parting good news thought for the day in just a moment. Unlock the power of blessing your life. Discover God's grace-filled vision for your life by signing up for Alan Wright's free daily blessing. If you want to fill your heart with grace and encouragement, get Alan Wright's daily blessing.
It's free and just a click away at pastoralan.org. God's love. You've heard about it with your ears.
You've believed it in your mind. Now experience it in your heart with Alan Wright's beloved book, Lover of My Soul. The Bible is a love story from beginning to end. You are the spiritual bride of Christ, the perfect bridegroom. The Bible tells about a God who has gone to unimaginable lengths to woo you, to win you, and to walk with you hand in hand. For any man who has fallen in love with a woman, you've tasted the sweetness of what God's love for you is like. For any woman who has searched for true love, what you long for can only be found fully in God. Gary Chapman, renowned author of the five love languages, says, the incredible reality that God pursues us in love comes to life in Lover of My Soul. Ancient biblical accounts explode in the heart. Accept Christ's proposal, enjoy His embrace, revel in His love.
After all, it's a match made in heaven. It's Lover of My Soul by Alan Wright. The gospel is shared when you give to Alan Wright Ministries. This broadcast is only possible because of listener financial support. When you give today, we will send you today's special offer. We are happy to send this to you as our thanks from Alan Wright Ministries. Call us at 877-544-4860.
That's 877-544-4860. Or come to our website, PastorAlan.org. Back here now in the studio with Pastor Alan and our parting good news thought for today. And I got to say, as this series will transpire in real time, we hear the anticipation and then we have the announcement of the birth of a grandchild, your first grandchild during this progress here, which is going to be fun. Yeah, it is one of the great things to anticipate and then to experience.
And as we talk about the providence of God and God's got this, obviously that brought about some great illustrations as you were living it out real time. What's our closing thought and good news thought for today? Well, it's the deepest comfort really maybe you could end up hearing and we say it, you know, sometimes like you got this, meaning that you can handle it. But really the that's not hope. Hope for us is God's got it. It is to believe in how sovereign and good God is that there's not a circumstance that's outside of his oversight.
And that's the deepest comfort we could ever have. As we kick off this brand new series and I have to, I was sent through this live when it was being preached and this was one I anticipated week after week. After week, it's the providence of God. Pastor Alan, what an outstanding series we're diving into. I just can't wait to dive into this Daniel to believe in Providence is to believe in a God who provides pro video to see ahead of time.
We'll be referencing that over and over. In other words, imagine that if God is already in your future and so he can see what is needed, then he can provide what is needed. Providence is the great hope assurance and confidence of the Christian life. Finally, email devotional that matches today's teaching delivered right to your email inbox free. Find out more about these and other resources at pastorallen.org. That's pastorallen.org. Today's good news message is a listener supported production of Allen Wright Ministries.
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