Summary: Since we live in the midst of so much abundance, do we begin to think that we do not need to keep God around?
“Faith-Full Living: Keeping God Around”
Lk. 1: 26-38 (Gen. 22:1-19)
Perhaps you recall the story. It was one of those innocent questions children raise. “Mommy, if the stork brings babies, if Santa Claus brings our presents, if the Lord gives us our daily bread and Uncle Sam our Social Security, why do we keep daddy around?” Since we live in the midst of so much abundance I sometimes fear that we have begun to believe that we do not need to keep God around. Yet, to live faith-full lives, we must. Let’s consider Luke’s teaching.
After his brief introduction, Luke lifts up SOME IMPORTANT TRUTHS. When Mary questions how in the world she, as a young virgin, could ever bear a child – let alone the Son of God – she is told by the angel (35-37): “"The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God."” What a statement! Nothing – no thing – is impossible with God. In our collective wisdom and experience here this morning there is nothing we can think of or point to that God cannot do. God is sovereign – in control of everything. God is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. He is the Lord who rules the world. He is all-powerful. Can you think of one thing He cannot do? Certainly there are some things God will not do – but He is able to do them. THERE IS NOTHING – NO THING – GOD CANNOT DO.
Consider the experience of the prophet Elisha (2 Kings 3). God wanted to prove his might, power, and control so he said to Elisha: “You will see neither wind nor rain, yet this valley will be filled with water, and you, your cattle, and your other animals will drink. This is an easy thing in the eyes of the Lord; He will also hand Moab over to you.” God was saying, “Providing water without rain may seem impossible to you, Elisha, but it’s very simple for me. In fact, if you think this is tough, how will you handle the fact that you will defeat Moab? Now that’s a toughie!” And what happened? “The next morning…there it was – water flowing from the direction of Edom! And the land was filled with water.” God can provide water from nothing. NOTHING – NO THING – IS TOO HARD FOR THE LORD.
Remember Sarah, Abraham’s wife. After waiting for many years God finally spoke to Sarah, when she was well advanced in years, and told her she would, in fact, bear a son. She laughed (Gen. 18:12) and thought to herself, “After I am worn out and my master is old, will I now have this pleasure?” In response, God spoke to Abraham, saying, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” From that impossible promise, Isaac was born. God can provide life – even in barren places and empty wombs. Nothing – no thing – is too hard for the Lord.
And then there’s Abraham and this promised son Isaac. As we just recollected God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. But just as Abraham raised his arm to strike the fatal blow, God stopped him. “Abraham looked up and there in the thicket he saw a ram caught by his horns...So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, ‘On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.’” God will provide the Lamb – God will provide for our salvation. Nothing – no thing – is too hard for the Lord.
So Luke chose to introduce Jesus by writing that he had done a very careful investigation of all the claims, he had interviewed eye witnesses, and he concluded that Jesus being born in a miraculous way was true – even if unbelievable. It’s not a matter of logic or understanding for Luke – it’s a matter of belief. With God, nothing is impossible. He did, in Jesus Christ, provide the Lamb for our salvation. With God, nothing – no thing – is impossible. Nothing – no thing – is too hard for the Lord.
Following His transfiguration on the mountain, Jesus and His three friends came down to the valley below and found the disciples frustrated that they could not heal a young boy possessed by a demon. They asked Jesus why they could not drive it out. “He replied, ‘Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. NOTHING WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE FOR YOU.”