Sermons

Summary: The child of God is encouraged to seek His presence and His power so that they can excel in life. We must never permit ourselves to live at less than our best to the praise of His glory.

“The sons of Judah: Perez, Hezron, Carmi, Hur, and Shobal. Reaiah the son of Shobal fathered Jahath, and Jahath fathered Ahumai and Lahad. These were the clans of the Zorathites. These were the sons of Etam: Jezreel, Ishma, and Idbash; and the name of their sister was Hazzelelponi, and Penuel fathered Gedor, and Ezer fathered Hushah. These were the sons of Hur, the firstborn of Ephrathah, the father of Bethlehem. Ashhur, the father of Tekoa, had two wives, Helah and Naarah; Naarah bore him Ahuzzam, Hepher, Temeni, and Haahashtari. These were the sons of Naarah. The sons of Helah: Zereth, Izhar, and Ethnan. Koz fathered Anub, Zobebah, and the clans of Aharhel, the son of Harum. Jabez was more honorable than his brothers; and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, ‘Because I bore him in pain.’ Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, ‘Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!’ And God granted what he asked” [1 CHRONICLES 4:1-10]. [1]

Followers of the Saviour struggle to read some portions of the Word. The Book of Numbers is not often named as a favourite book of the Bible. The Chronicles, especially the first nine or so chapters of the Book of First Chronicles is another portion of the Word that does not receive much love from Christians. These portions of the Word consist of long lists of names, many of which are difficult to pronounce and of little interest to modern readers.

These names are a bit like a traffic jam in a big city. We are stuck, slowly negotiating our way through the traffic, enduring the blaring horns and irate commuters while we breathe the exhaust of thousands of vehicles and look at the world through the haze of smog. However, even in the midst of snarled traffic we will occasionally see things that capture our interest, just as we may encounter tidbits of information that are powerful as we work our way through the names that God has caused to be recorded.

As an aside of some significance, some of you who are listening feel stuck in life. You’re here, but you don’t know why you are here. You’re just putting in your time, though you cannot say what you expect of the time you’ve invested. Someone has said that we have about thirty-five years to determine what mark we will make with our life. There may be exceptions, but as is true in all of life, the exceptions prove the rule.

Time rushes past more swiftly than we could ever imagine, and the age of thirty-five arrives too soon for any of us. That is why those teen years and the twenties are so crucial. Teens think that they don’t need to study; they think there is plenty of time tomorrow. However, your study now is preparation for tomorrow; and if you will make anything of your life, you must prepare now. Whatever you hope to accomplish through your life, you must focus sooner rather than later. You need to focus now or be content to spend the remainder of your life just existing. Young men must realise that they are learning to be manly today; they can’t wait until tomorrow. Young women must realise that they are preparing to be wives and mothers today; there will not be time tomorrow. Young couples must invest themselves in one another today, or they will face a rocky future tomorrow.

Our churches are filled with people who thought they could put off serving God. “There’ll be time later,” they thought. Time, however, has a way of rushing on and they are still standing in the same place where they were standing twenty-years ago. Many of those still standing where they once stood have grown bitter. “Life is unfair,” they whine. Well, what is new in that statement? Of course, life is unfair. “I never had a chance,” they whinge. You had the same chance everyone had; you didn’t seize the opportunities when God brought them near.

We all have areas and conditions in which we are most comfortable. My wife likes the temperature to be closer to a tropical environment, whereas I am more comfortable with a temperature best described as arctic. Each of us has different personal spheres with which we are comfortable. Some like to be close, to touch; others want distance between themselves and others. We had a dear friend down in Texas who was decidedly different from me. Connie was a kisser whenever she met a friend; she came from a Louisiana family of kissers. My family thought shaking hands was as intimate as anyone should ever be. For some reason, my wife thought it was funny whenever Connie saw me as she chased me with pursed lips saying, “C’mon, Mike. Stop running. I haven’t said ‘Hello.’”

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