Isaac & Jacob: Faith for the Future

We live in a futuristic society. There is constant thought given to the future and planning for the future. Now I know that sometime we can go a little overboard in our focus on the future, however, planning for the future is important. The most wonderful thing concerning the future for believers is the reality of our eternal future. When it comes to looking at the future there is an element of faith involved. We see in the lives of Isaac and Jacob that they had a strong faith for the future. Notice our text in Hebrews eleven verse twenty and twenty-one: “By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.” Both of these men were looking into the future. They had a confident expectation in those they blessed that the future was a reality for them even though they could not see it. Isaac blessed Jacob, not knowing the details of what was to come. Jacob’s name was changed to Israel and a great nation was born. You see, we do not know the details of our future. We know we have a heavenly home, but for now, we do not know what tomorrow will bring. In order to look to the future we must have faith. The question for us to consider is: how can we have faith for the future?
First of all, faith for the future requires uncompromising belief. Isaac believed that the one he blessed would have a future. He knew that God would fulfill His promise. Jacob worshipped God, understanding that God was in control of the future. Now, when we speak of the future here, we are not simply referring to a future in heaven, though that is included in our future. Instead, we need to understand that God is also concerned with our future here on earth. He desires that we be successful. He wants us to have a future. There are two things that we need to have an uncompromising belief in to have faith for the future. We must have an uncompromising belief in Jesus. Obviously, our future begins with salvation. You cannot have a future in this world and in the world to come apart from a relationship with Jesus. Think about it. If you are not a born-again child of God, what are you living for? What purpose does life have apart from Christ? If you do not believe in Jesus then you have no real life to live for He is the giver of all life. With Jesus there would be no reason for work, for education, for government, and the list goes on. Having a relationship with Jesus gives us purpose, it gives us hope. Knowing Jesus gives us a reason to live and a reason to have a future. Apart from Jesus there is no future. In order to have faith for the future, you must trust in Jesus for salvation. The second thing that we must have an uncompromising belief in to have for the future is that we must have an uncompromising belief in the Word of God. Now, remember, we are not necessarily dealing with a future life in heaven. We are dealing with the future in a practical sense. We are dealing with our future in this life. If you do not believe the Bible to be true, what future do you have? Think about it. Let’s say that you do not believe what the Bible says concerning the creation of the world. Let’s say, you believe in evolution. Okay. Evolution says that we as human beings are basically chemical accidents. We came into being through a process of random chemical reactions. We are animals that have evolved into humans. Now, if we are animals, then why is there a need for a civil society? If our thoughts are just a result of some chemical reaction, what need is there for education? If mankind is just a product of evolution, then what purpose would there be for human government? This is the problem I have with those who do not believe the Bible. You see, all the order that we see in the universe is answered in the Genesis account of creation. The laws that we have in our governments originates with the Bible. The laws of logic and reason began with the Bible. You cannot have science apart from the Bible. If you do not believe the Bible, then there is no purpose for living. Think about it. If the Bible is not true, then why plan for the future. If there was no God to whom we are accountable, then why have order. If we are just a bunch of animals, then why go to school and to work? You see, without a belief in the Bible and in the God of the Bible, there is no future. The Bible clearly teaches us that we are to be educated. The Bible teaches us that we are to work hard to provide for our families. The Bible teaches us that we are to be good stewards and invest in our future. All of these things are Biblical concepts. In order to have faith for the future, we must have an uncompromising belief in the Word of God.
A second thing we need to understand in order to have faith for the future is that faith for the future receives what God allows. Remember, the account of Isaac and his blessing on Jacob. Jacob was not supposed to have the blessing. Esau was the first born; he was the one who was to receive the blessing. Jacob deceived his father just like he deceived Esau for the birth-right. Did this upset Isaac? Of course it did! But, even though he did not like it, he accepted it. You see, sometimes God allows circumstances in our lives that we may not like, but in order to have faith for the future we must trust that God knows what He is doing and we must receive what He allows. The Bible speaks a lot about contentment. Read Second Timothy 6:6-8. In this passage we learn that godliness with contentment is great gain. In other words, you will do better in this life, you will be more successful, you will be more blessed, if you are content with where God has you and you live godly. Are you content with where God has you? You desire a great career, you want to do something with your life, but are you content with working at the supermarket or the factory? God has you where you are for a reason. God wants to use you where you are. Until you are content with where God has you, then you will never experience the wonderful future that God has for you. I remember just a couple of years ago; I was in a tough spot in my life. I was the pastor of a church in Georgia and working for a local radio station. It was not a bad life, but I was just not content. The church had wonderful people and we developed good friendships there, but there were issues that brought a lot of stress and strain on our family. I was burned-out and confused and desired a change. The thought was even in my mind to leave the pastorate and work full-time in radio. However, I could not get away from the fact that God had called me to be a pastor and to preach His Word. So, I began to take matters in my own hands. God was not working (at least I did not think He was) so I started searching. My wife’s grandmother called us one day and told us about a church in Maine that needed a pastor. I told her she was crazy and that I would never want to live in Maine. I started sending out resumes to different churches and finally I came to grips with the idea that maybe I could live in Maine. So, I sent resumes to Maine as well. However, I was very picky. I was tired of the small country church and I wanted something greater. I felt like I was more gifted to pastor a large church. I did get a call from a church in Maine. It was a large church for the state of Maine. I was one of the final candidates to be their pastor. But, God closed the door. It was at that point that I gave up. I began to realize that I was taking my future in my own hands rather than being content with where God had me. So, I prayed. I recommitted myself to God and told Him I was done searching and that I would be content with where He had me. Not long after that we were visiting my wife’s family in Maine for a much needed vacation. At a birthday party, my wife’s aunt comes to me and tells me about a church looking for a pastor. At first, I did not care to listen. I had just settled with God, and thought I was supposed to stay where we were in Georgia. Come to find out, this was the same church that my wife’s grandmother told us about a little less than a year before that. With must hesitation, we decided to go and visit Spruce Head Community Church. Within three months of that initial visit, we are living in Maine and serving as pastor of the Spruce Head Community Church. For the first time in my life, I have the upmost confidence that I am in the center of God’s plan for my life. I am very content. You see, it was not until I was content with where God had me. It was not until I gave up and simply trusted God, that a door was opened and here I am. Brothers and Sisters, God has a great future for you in this life, but in order to live in the reality of that future, you must be content with where God has you. You must receive what God allows in your life. To have faith for the future means that we receive whatever life brings and we embrace it. Even the heartaches and pains, for God is working it all out for our good. Stop fighting God, stop taking matters into your own hands. To have faith for the future, you must receive what God allows.
A third and final thing we need to understand concerning faith for the future is that faith for the future recycles what God gives. Both Isaac and Jacob passed down a blessing that was given to them from their fathers. They took what God gave them and did something with it. When you recycle something, you are reusing it. You are taking what you already have and using it again. You see, everything we have is a gift from God. We are to take what God gives us and use it for His glory. Often times, we never realize our full potential because we do not use what God gives us. This could be applied to many areas of our lives including: talents, employment, education, finances, material things, and so on. When God gives you something, you should always ask, for what purpose? Why did God give me this and what does He want me to do with it? I think of our church at Spruce Head. We are faced with many challenges for the future. We have been very blessed. Spruce Head is a church that has a huge impact on its community and around the world. We are a growing church. Not just numerical growth, but spiritual as well. New ministries have been formed and greater evangelistic efforts are being made. We have challenges. Our space for ministry is very limited. Though we have beautiful historical facilities, they are not adequate. So, what do we do? What is in our future? Several years ago, Spruce Head Church was given several acres of land. Anytime, God gives us something, we should always consider the purpose. We do not know the details of the future, but God gave us land. You may not know what God has for your future, but he gave you a family and a job. Is Spruce Head going to build a new building on that land? I don’t know. But, I do know this, when God gives us something, we need to take notice, because He sees what we cannot see. If we do not use what God gives us, then we will never reach our God-given potential and we will never know what God has for our future. Having faith for the future is taking what God gives and investing into His kingdom. Are you recycling what God gives you? You see, sometimes God gives things without our asking. The reason is, because he knows the future. He has a plan. Everything you have, every talent, every spiritual gift, every open door, every penny in the bank; it is all given to you for a reason. To have faith for the future, we must recycle what God gives.
As believers, we rejoice over the fact that God had given us a heavenly home. We have a glorious future. But, God also has a plan for our lives here on earth. He has a future for us. In order for that perfect plan of God to become a reality in your life, you must have faith, just like Isaac and Jacob.

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