What If We Never See It?

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Contributed by Chris Rhodenhizer, Lead Pastor of Image Church

Several months ago, I wrote a blog on Hebrews 11:21, contemplating all that the great patriarch Israel [Jacob] had risked by faith. This passage of Scripture has lead me to live more deeply on faith, and trust God to bring about His work with or without me. I believe a lot of Christians, especially pastors, think that the work God calls us to do is a guarantee that it will be finished by us, and even physically seen by us – that is not always the case! The big question is – are we still willing to live this life of faith, for God’s great glory, even if we never see the work He calls us to do come to our standard of completion???  Below, we will re-visit the article, “What if we never see it?”  My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will move you to deeper faith with your only goal being that God is glorified!

What if we never see it???

What is it that you want to see happen before you die? Is there something you want to do or see? Are there things you have risked, and have yet to see them work out? What if we never see these things come about or happen?

I think about this sometimes, when dreaming about what God could do with Image Church.  With all the things I desire for our church, I wonder sometimes if God will allow me to live long enough to see it happen – I constantly feel like I am running out of time!

Let’s take a glance at Hebrews 11 and dive into the end of a life – a life that is on his death bed. We need to see what we can learn from a life well-lived and well-risked…

Hebrews 11:21By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff. [ESV]

Now we might ask, “why does the author of Hebrews pick this over other events in Jacob’s life?  I mean, Jacob had wrestled with God, He had traveled through crazy lands, he had moved around, he had risked and moved to Egypt in old age and done many other adventurous things.”  There are a couple of reasons for this concerning his life…

1st: He had faith in the future promises of God

Because of Jacob’s old age and poor health, there is nothing else he can rely on – he has to wholly trust in God. Unlike other times in his life, he cannot trust in his own wits.  He cannot risk by using his own manipulation this time.  His risk was trusting completely in God and God’s people, that HE and they would finish this race. He could not go back to Israel on his own.  He would physically die in Egypt.  This is how he would end his earthly life.  Look at this in Genesis…

Genesis 48:11-12And Israel said to Joseph, “I never expected to see your face; and behold, God has let me see your offspring also.” 12Then Joseph removed them from his knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth. [ESV]

Jacob is going back over his life – how that the risk of following God, even to a foreign land, was worth it.  Even though he is going to die in a foreign land, it has been worth it! Also notice Joseph’s interaction with his dying father, Joseph had put his young boys on his fathers lap so Israel [Jacob] could see them in order to bless them. It says Joseph removed them, then he gets on his knees to show great respect, love, honor, and devotion to his dad.  John Calvin says this concerning Joseph and Jacobs death bed words – “Joseph considered it a greater privilege to be a son of Jacob, than to preside over a hundred kingdoms!”  The second only to Pharaoh, royalty, humbled himself before the patriarch who mediated God’s promises – this was a risk for Joseph.  Egyptian leadership only bowed to Pharaoh! Jacob is truly seeing the life of true faith is a life well-lived. Jacob is also seeing that passing this kind of life on to the next generation is well worth it. He could look back over his life and see the true results in front of him. Although he would never see his promised land again, he would be found faithful by the promised One, Jesus!!

Another reason Hebrews records the end of Jacobs life…

2nd: He had faith that God would finish this

Genesis 48:21-22Then Israel said to Joseph, “Behold, I am about to die, but God will be with you and will bring you again to the land of your fathers. 22 Moreover, I have given to you rather than to your brothers one mountain slope that I took from the hand of the Amorites with my sword and with my bow.” [ESV]

Hebrews 11:21 is directly taken from this entire chapter in Genesis.  His entire life could be found in his risk to live by faith.  Jacob, or Israel, is letting Joseph know what God can and will do, then he lets him know what he is leaving him, and what he had paid for it. Jacob is leaving him more than his other brothers, plus he had fought for it, risked for what God had told Him to do. Jacob is completely trusting that God would finish all of this after he had died, that his kids and people would go back to the land God had set-up for them. Jacob believed this would happen knowing he would never physically see it come about!

SO, when we are called upon to live on faith, risking what we cannot physically see and may never see – do we allow the possibility of NEVER SEEING IT to hold us back???

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One Response to “What If We Never See It?”

  1. Elena Schuenemeyer Says:

    No holding back! Just obedience in doing His will. It’s not about us, it’s about Him!
    Praise God!

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