FIRE AND KNIFE!
Genesis 22:6 “Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son, and he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together.”
The opening words “Now it came about after these things”, takes us back into the previous chapter where we read about the blessings that Abraham received. He was in the season of favor! Isaac, the miracle son was born to Sarah and Abraham, who brought ‘laughter’ into their life, besides Abraham also received favor in the eyes of Abimelech! Well, I have learnt by experience that as I dance in the rain for a while, I should also be ready at the same time, for any sudden shock, are you listening? If we do not prepare our self for that, then we would go bonkers. Whenever, we are faced with something gigantic in front of us, we tend to think that we are alone there, no…….no……God is right there with you….
CLIMBING UP TO OBEY GOD: God had great plans for Abraham, something beyond his expectations and that which he could not even imagine was getting ‘cooked’ for him; however, God had to do a ‘test’ and that was the call to mount Moriah to sacrifice his only son Isaac. God makes great demands only from his children whom He considers great and worthy. I wonder how Abraham felt when he took that fire and knife…..I have a son and now I shudder at the very thought of it….I took that scripture as the anchor scripture, so that we meditate deep on this. Fire and knife! I would scream at my son Joshua and tell him each time he takes the scooter, ‘wear your helmet’, if he was leaving for the hostel, I would say 1000 times, ‘take good care of yourself’ but now I wonder how did Abraham take that ‘fire and knife!’
Climbing up to God is paying a price, sacrifice and also painful but while Abraham obeyed and took his only son along with him for the sacrifice, he was actually going into the next dimension of his life. People who do not desire to venture to enter the unknown zone would never be able to find BLISSFUL GLORY that awaits for people who unconditionally obey. In order to hear the voice of God we need to climb and go UP, read: After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this."(Revelations 4:1)
Friend, FIRE AND KNIFE ARE ESSENTIAL FOR OFFERING AND SACRIFICE! Are you listening? FIRE burns out all the impurities in our life, and the knife chops out all the thoughts of ‘flesh’ in us. The challenges, afflictions and sufferings in our life are the FIRE that purifies us: This fire is called the ‘Refiner’s fire’! Read:
Malachi 2:2..”For He is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap.
3 "He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the LORD offerings in righteousness. 4 "Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years.”
Yes, God will sit as a smelter and purify us, like the way the dentist holds your face in order to work on you, his assistant would stand next to you to assist the dentist in the treatment, do you know the equipment the dentist uses to treat your decayed tooth:
• Dental syringe. ...
• Dental drill. ...
• Spoon excavator. ...
• Burnisher. ...
The dental drill would go down deep into your decayed tooth and you have no escape, the sound of the drilling machine would create panic waves; however, until the decay is treated, you would have no relief. Likewise, the decay in our rotten lives got to be treated seriously in order to bring healing.
Just look around and we see quarrels, betrayals, back stabbing, envy, pride, cheating, false tongue, adultery, fornication and what not…..every day the heap of trash is increasing, therefore, God has to bring down the FIRE to refine us. People still do not want to fast, do not want to stretch to attend night prayers but they prefer to stay in the comfort zone. Think of the fire and the knife that Abraham had to carry! Anybody listening?
Abraham called his journey to mount Moriah as ‘WORSHIP’, Wow! Read:
Genesis 22:5 Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go over there; and we will worship and return to you."
Friend, true worship is sacrifice! Sacrifice cannot be done without pain - knife and fire, is anybody listening? Today when we talk about worship it is all about:
• Swanky mobiles
• Trendy hairstyles, clothes and make up
• Latest modern gadgets
• Glamour and opulence
We have forgotten about knife and fire, stay with me to hear more or you can disconnect at this point, it is going to be painful. Are you ready to endure the heat for the glory of God, then read on….
The flesh has to be burnt in the altar before God, Exodus 29:24”Put all these in the hands of Aaron and his sons and wave them before the LORD as a wave offering. 25Then take them from their hands and burn them on the altar atop the burnt offering as a pleasing aroma before the LORD; it is an offering made by fire to the LORD.” Look what is done before it is brought to the altar of God:
SKIN THE BURNT OFFERING
Leviticus 1:6 'He shall then skin the burnt offering and cut it into its pieces.
7 'The sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire on the altar and arrange wood on the fire.
8 'Then Aaron's sons the priests shall arrange the pieces, the head and the suet over the wood which is on the fire that is on the altar.”
Did you see that? We need to be skinned. Yes we need to be skinned…..you cannot go into the presence of God with a puffed up heart, arrogance, rebelliousness and pride – these got to be skinned and cut before we offer ourselves to God!
WALK IN SPIRIT AND NOT FLESH:
I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16)
Romans 8:5 For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,
7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so,
8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.
Friend, it is one thing to go tom-tom the whole town that the Holy Spirit is in-side you but it is really ‘something’ when the pagan monarch looked at Joseph and said: “Spirit of God is in you! “Amen. If you listen to some believers talk casually about the work of the Holy Spirit, we surely wonder where has their knowledge of God gone! I was ministering and leading a believer in relationship with a hindu man to leave the affair and get straight with God. Suddenly one day I got an email from her saying: ’while we were praying, my friend filled with the Holy Spirit asked me to go ahead with the marriage and then pray for the conversion of the man.” Every day we hear such claptrap stuff ! Any kind of advice that contradicts the Word of God is not from the Holy Spirit! Beware! When divine wisdom flows from a person, none can refute it, it would be suffused with the Truth! James 3:13-17 says:
•13Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.•
14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth.
•15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.
•16For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.
•17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.
I was not able to skip even a single scripture, hence I had given all the five scriptures above, which are very essential for our study today. Let me reiterate again, we are talking about walking in the spirit.
CRUCIFIXION: Apostle Paul said: I die daily!1 Corinthians 15:31‘I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. ’Having rocked the world for Jesus and preached the Word for 70 years victoriously, when Rev.Billy Graham was interviewed on his 92ndbirthday and asked about George W Bush comments in his recent new book that Rev. Graham had helped him change his life, Graham humbly replied: ‘I tried to answer all his questions as best I could, I’m grateful that the Lord worked.’ And to a question about the profound impact he had on the people, he replied, ‘I have not been carrying anointing in my briefcase, it was the work of the Holy Spirit and the hard work of the whole team.’ Apostle Paul said, ‘ I have been crucified,’ can we say that today? He also mentions, “I die daily.” When I talk about this, I remember the statement of Christ that should revolutionize one’s life: “Carry the cross and come behind me daily.” Let me tell you ‘before mission we need vision!
If the Words of Christ found in mount sermon does not hit us like missiles then it just means one thing -it has not touched us. The mount sermon should instill fear and terror in our hearts! It did for me, though. Jesus said, ‘If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.”( Mathew 5:29) Jesus brings the knife here! All things that brings evil should be cut off and thrown away….
FLESH HAS TO BE CRUCIFIED:
Read these scriptures that would revolutionize your life, when Jesus said “I am the living bread , eat it..”, people got crazy and left Him. Yes, even today, people do not want to hear sound stuff. I wonder how many of you endured this message until THIS POINT!!!!!
John 6: 50 "This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.
51 "I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh."
52 Then the Jews began to argue with one another, saying, "How can this man give us His flesh to eat?"
He goes on to further say:
53 So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.
54 "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
55 "For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink.
56 "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.
Unless people look at Jesus as the carpenter’s son, they would never get the above, anybody listening to me?
Unless you live your life according to the standards of this world, you would never ever get to comprehend the WEALTH behind the above verses. People measure success by:
• Number of likes and views on their social media
• Strength and opulence of the congregation. The number of disco lights and electronic gadgets are weighed and the church is rated accordingly
• A person is respected according to the number of degree certificate he holds, whereas that same man is drunk during the night and lying in his bed room floor which none knows about.
Are you ready to do the ministry or the job that God gives you, no matter what the condition may be? Are you ready to do the Bible study even if none turns up? Are you ready to give up all your worldly goals in order to follow God and fulfill His purpose? TELL ME.
Apostle Paul very strictly said: Philippians 3: 2 Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision;
3 for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh,
Does the CHURCH teach this today, they are scared, I am sure, people come to church and sit in the church for healing, blessing, own property, marriage, business prosperity and what not……..do they come to Church to eat the FLESH AND DRINK OF THE BLOOD OF CHRIST. We need to take the CHURCH to the next level.
When David Livingston went to Africa to preach the Gospel, in one particular village, the chief of the village got saved deeply, he looked at David and asked: ’Why did you not come to my village 10 years back, I would not have married 5 wives that I have now.” However, he sent all the other wives back home with the dowry they gave him and lived with the one legal wife. That is chopping off the flesh, are you hearing me?
While I was traveling in a crowded bus in a village, I was hunting for a person to share the Gospel, the conductor of the bus was irritated with me, because I was not a slim person but quiet heavy so he kept saying, ‘keep to the side.’ I was wading my way through the crowd, my husband and my son were sitting in the back bench and off course my husband’s heart was in his mouth looking at the aggressive way I was ministering in a remote village. However, I found a lady who was returning from a pilgrimage because her beads, her forehead smearing with ashes and her yellow saree said it all. I quieting ventured to sit next to her and I had not time for pleasantries, I just had 10 minutes to finish my job. I opened the subject asking ‘do you know Jesus and then I went to explain my healing and resignation from a multinational bank to serve the Lord.’ She look uneducated but BAM she asked me” you wouldn’t leave the multinational bank to serve your Lord, if He was not true” then she said something which is still ringing in my ears, ‘why did you not come to my village to preach about this Jesus, I had to send my only son away because the astrologer said he is a curse to your family and also my cow is not well which is the only source of income.” Right there in the crowded bus I prayed for her son and her cow. When the bus reached her destination she alighted from the bus, but my heart went out to her…..I kept looking and looking until her fragile figure faded away in the crowd……
Unless you leave the city and its pomp to travel to far off locations, travelling the dusty roads you can never reach the lost souls…………….
God took me from the plush corridors of the foreign bank into the dusty roads of Tamil Nadu to reach out the poor and I still work among the poor in Hyderabad doing ‘baby sitting’ job for children of street dwellers teaching them alphabets. That’s my call! Period.
HOLINESS AND CLEANLINESS:
Leviticus 7:21 'When anyone touches anything unclean, whether human uncleanness, or an unclean animal, or any unclean detestable thing, and eats of the flesh of the sacrifice of peace offerings which belong to the LORD, that person shall be cut off from his people.'" Did you see that?
After reading His Word, how could one continue to watch secular movies and many other programs on TV that is nothing but subtle porn stuff? Can we say like David in Psalm 119:104”Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.” How can we be crucified? This can be achieved only through a painful process of failure, disappointments, betrayals, criticism and excruciating pain.
MY PERSONAL TESTIMONY OF EXPERIENCING THE FIRE AND KNIFE:
I was skinned first to then be used by God:
Not until we are abandoned and deserted, are we able to relish and nourish the sweet fellowship of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the year 1999, while I was five months pregnant with my second child, I was diagnosed with multiple fibroids which were found on the inner and outer walls of the uterus. The fibroids were rapidly growing along with the baby and the doctors gave a final verdict to terminate the pregnancy and abort the baby because the fibroids were choking my baby. My world came crumbling down and I was shattered. After two days of diagnosis, what the doctors feared happened, some of the fibroids ruptured and I was bleeding profusely. I was rushed to the hospital and as I lay there in the hospital bed alone, I could hear the shrill cries of the new born babies being delivered by other women. I wondered what would happen to my baby! Will I ever see the baby? I went through excruciating pain. I was kept under observation, close to the delivery ward so that I could be rushed, if there may be an emergency. During this time, something happened which touched my heart tremendously. The doctors brought the scanning machine close to my bed and showed me the ‘movements’ of my baby inside the womb. Oh, I saw my baby!
But strictly the doctors declared that the baby had to be aborted, because of the multiple fibroids that were choking my baby. The pain was unbearable and the doctors pressurized me to go in for abortion immediately. With no strength left physically and emotionally, I whispered to the Lord, “Please, Lord, don’t let them kill the baby, I want my child.” On the third day after I was admitted in the hospital, my husband and I tried everything possible in our strength. When everything failed, as I lay crying miserably curled up in the hospital bed writhing in pain, my husband along with another Christian aunty prayed to Jesus at 10 pm in the night. I don’t know exactly what happened that night, but I do know that Jesus answered our prayers and at that time of total helplessness and hopelessness, I felt surrounded by a His glorious peace and I slept peacefully after many days. When my husband came early the next morning, he was surprised to see me fresh, because I had been suffering from severe pain for the last few days. I had slept peacefully the whole night without pain! That was the first victory to our prayers! We were encouraged and our steadfast faith in the Lord started from there. My husband and I firmly refused to abort the child and my husband brought me home in an ambulance and I was carried to the second floor of our apartment in a stretcher. Due to various other pregnancy related complications as well, I was bedridden. The most humiliating experience was not being able to walk to the wash room, but depend on bed pan. How miserable!
For the first time in my life, I decided to read the Bible from the beginning, meticulously and not just read a portion of it here and there. As I passionately read the Bible every day, God increased my faith and I took my next giant step of refusing to take medicines and injections. My husband found my faith mysterious and incomprehensible, but as I kept confessing my love and faith in Jesus, he allowed me to have my way. One particular morning, filled with faith, I wondered why should I lie in the bed and disturb others when the Word says that “by His stripes I am healed!” I boldly got up from the bed and walked. God did a miracle at that time, He replaced my placenta to the original position and I was able to now walk. Praise the Lord! I did not receive complete healing, though; if it was just physical healing that I needed, the Healer would have surely granted me that immediately, but God wanted to bless me with something more than that! Oh, how I love the text:”….but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:4,5) How could one glory in tribulations? Yes, Apostle Paul teaches us to smile and be happy in the midst of our pain, because He would never fail us. He was preparing me for the big picture which only He knew. After many more months of praying and waiting on Him, God performed the miracle in my life and I delivered my miracle baby boy Joshua.
CONCLUSION: Had he not climbed Moriah with the fire and knife, Abraham would have missed the ‘special ram’ that was just meant for him. Some of us want the ram but are not ready to take the fire and knife to kill our carnal desires, selfish plans and all things that has no God in it.
Prepare to offer yourself as a living sacrifice for God! Romans 12: 1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”