Going Deeper with the Message:
The Scarlet Thread
by: Andrew Archer
The Bible is a collection of letters, history, poetry, and more—it may seem like a book of many different stories. However, it is all actually one unified story that points to Jesus. The late American Bible teacher, William Evans, said that “the atonement [of our sin by Jesus’ death on the cross] is the scarlet cord running through every page in the entire Bible.” Pastor Tim showcased this on Sunday by explaining how the story of Abraham and Isaac, while it is an event that actually happened, also foreshadows Jesus’ sacrifice for us. I want to share another pivotal moment in Abraham’s life that does the same.
In Genesis 15, God made a covenant with Abraham. In Biblical times, the way in which these types of covenants were made had a great deal of meaning. They would get a few different animals, cut them in half, then lay all of the pieces opposite of each other. Pretty gross for those of us reading it today. Then the two parties, a couple of kings for example, would walk in between the pieces together to establish the covenant. By walking “down the aisle” of the animals, each party was essentially saying, “if I break this covenant, let what has happened to these animals, happen to me!” These covenants were serious agreements.
Well, the covenant God makes with Abraham in Genesis 15 began in a similar fashion, but had one major difference. God had Abraham get the animals, cut them in two, then lay them opposite each other. Then, when it was time for them to walk together to solidify their covenant, God caused a deep sleep to come over Abraham. God then walked down the aisle—alone. In doing this, God was saying that He was going to take responsibility not only if He broke the covenant, but also if Abraham and his family broke the covenant. God knew that Abraham wasn’t going to be able to keep up his end of the deal so God decided that He was going to remain faithful even if Abraham was faithless.
How does this point us to Christ? Well, in creation God established a relationship with people—a relationship that we broke. However, God did not and still does not want us to experience the eternal consequences of breaking our covenant with Him. So, what did He do? He took responsibility for our fault by sending His son Jesus to pay our penalty by shedding His blood on the cross.
How incredible is it that God knew we couldn’t hold up our end of the bargain and took the punishment for us anyway? All so that we might live in that covenantal relationship with Him by placing our faith in Jesus. As you grow closer with God by reading His word, keep your eyes peeled for the scarlet cord that unifies it all.
Living out the Message:
Trust and Obey, and God Will Make a Way!
By Barb Barnhart, Preschool Coordinator
Have you ever asked a preschooler what they want to be when they grow up? We did this a few weeks ago in the Preschool Family Experience. I love to hear their responses. One wanted to grow up to be an elephant! Another wanted to be a mommy or a superhero! We all want to “grow up and become”.
I knew from a young age that I wanted to teach young children. After having taught kindergarten for ten years, I had the opportunity to follow what I knew was God’s further direction for me. I took a one year sabbatical and traveled from southwestern Pennsylvania to Jackson, Mississippi. God faithfully worked it out for me to go to Seminary and to complete my Master’s Degree in Christian Education in one year.
That statement makes it sound like it was such an easy year. It wasn’t! I was more than a day’s drive from home. I was incredibly homesick. It was a new culture, and I knew no one! I worked two jobs and took sixty credit hours of classes. Often I thought, “God, are you sure about this?”
After that year, I came back and wrestled with why God would have sent me so far from home to return and do what I was already doing—teaching kindergarten and serving in a local church. Trusting is definitely a hard part of this journey of faith. Move ahead twenty five years, I retire from teaching and the door for ministering with preschoolers and volunteers opens up at Chestnut Ridge Church. Yep, 25 years I waited for my dream job in ministry!
Like Abraham, we all have choices we must follow to be obedient to God’s leading. God was faithful to Abraham and He is faithful to us. Our “right paths” are determined by God’s leading and in His time.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own understanding;
think about Him in all your ways,
and He will guide you on the right paths.
It is said that, “Childhood is a journey not a race”. Likewise, our relationship with the Lord is definitely a journey. God has the perfect plan. It takes time. Remember—trust and obey, and God will make a way!