Following In The Footsteps Of Faith Sermon #14
HOW TO ENJOY THE REST AREAS OF LIFE
Intro: There are times in life that are simply difficult to tolerate! There are
battles to fight, valleys to cross, long nights of the soul to endure and storms
that must be weathered. All you have to do is read the story of Job, or just
live in this world for any length of time and you will know what I am saying
is true. These times are not sent because the Lord wishes to cause us
trouble. He is in the business of conforming His people into His image, Rom. 8:29, 2 Cor. 4:17. The trials of life are the tools that shape us into His
likeness. Therefore, even though they are difficult, they are a blessing in
Despite how we feel sometimes, life isn't all bad. We would all have to
admit that there are times when the Lord inserts times of peace into our
lives. He allows us to pass by some "still waters" and He causes us the
"lie down in green pastures." I thank God for those times in my life and
I know you do too! Just as surely as the troubles of life are sent into our
lives to grow, mature and strengthen us, the rest periods of life are sent for
their purpose as well.
This chapter is all about a rest area in the journey of Abraham's life. (Ill.
The ups and downs that lead to this point.) I would like to point a few uses
for these rest areas of life. When the times of rest come, knowing how to
use them properly allows us to extract from them all the blessing that God
wants us to get. I want to preach for a few minutes on How To Use The
Rest Areas Of Life.
I. V. 33 FOR INHABITING THE BEST PLACES
A. The middle part of this passage has to do with a transaction between
Abraham and Abimelech, v. 22-31. This transaction saw seven
sheep change hands. These seven sheep we a testimony that the
well belonged to Abraham. The well became known as
"Beersheba", which means "The well of the seven-fold oath."
Well were of vast importance to men like Abraham. They needed
them to ensure the lives of their flocks, herds and families. It was by
this well of sweet water that Abraham settled down and enjoyed this
rest area of life.
B. When the fur is flying in your life, it is harder to concentrate on your
walk with the Lord. But, we should take advantage of the calm times
of life to enhance our relationship with Him. If we can learn to love
Him during the lulls of life, then we won't have to work nearly as hard
to find Him during the storms!
C. What I am advocating is a life that zeros in on God through prayer,
worship and the study of His Word. A life that doesn't wait until
everything falls apart to confess its sins and seek His face. But, a
life that is lived in a place of closeness day by day, even when things
are good. A life that finds a place of consistent growth in the things
of the Lord is a life that He can use for His glory! (Ill. A good
example of this truth is the life of Job. He called on the Lord when
things went wrong, Job 1:20-22. He was able to do it quickly
because he had spent time in the Lord's presence when things were
going well, Job 1:1, 5, 8.)
D. If we can ever learn to settle down in the best places of His blessings
during the good, restful times of life, we will not be so easily blown
off course when the adverse winds of trials and afflictions begin to
blow against us!
II. V. 22-32 FOR INSULATING YOURSELF WITH HIS PROMISES
A. These verses tell of the covenant made between Abraham and
Abimelech concerning their mutual interests. Abimelech was
concerned about his safety, Abraham was concerned about his well. At the end of this summit, Abraham could dwell with safety within the
borders of Abimelech's land because he had the promises of this
covenant, v. 23.
B. Use the rest areas of life as times to meditate on the great promises
of the Lord! Let these truths feed your soul. Then, when the
troublesome times do come, you will find that you are steadied by His
Word and by His great promises.
C. For instance, we believe in eternal security, and that is His promise
to His children, but under the right kind of pressure, you might begin
to feel that you are lost again. (Ill. John the Baptist - Matt. 11:3 - He
found himself in a position of doubt that he probably never thought
he would see!) The promise of His presence is another that comes
under attack. What about His power and ability? What about His
Sovereignty? What about His ability to meet your needs? However,
I believe that you will immerse yourself in His promises, they will be
a help and a comfort as you fight the battles of life. The whole point
is this, so fill your heart and life with His truth during the lulls in the
storm, that when the winds begin to howl again, you are insulated by
His promises. You will find that it is a tactic that works wonders!
III. V. 33 FOR INVOLVING YOURSELF WITH HIS WORSHIP
A. Abraham used this calm period of life to call on the name of the Lord.
He used this time to deepen his relationship with God. This certainly
equipped him for the battles that still lay ahead.
B. Why is it that so many people wait until the bottom falls out to call on
the Lord? The best time to worship Him is all the time! It says far
more about your character when you are consistent in worship than
it does for you to wait until you are in trouble to call on Him. (Ill.
Many people treat Him like He was a spare tire! Pull Him out when
life goes flat, put Him away again when the crisis has passed.)
C. Don't wait until some calamity comes to run to Him, be in the
business of seeking His face day by day. Then, when trials do
come, you are already close to Him. That is why church, Bible
reading and prayer are so vitally important.
IV. V. 33 FOR INVESTING IN THE FUTURE
A. This verse tells us that Abraham planted a "grove". This simply
means that he planted a tree. He is making an investment for the
future. At his age, he might never cool himself under its shade, but
Isaac will, and his grandchildren will. He is looking beyond himself
to those who will follow and is making a difference for them while he
B. Use the rest areas of life as times to make an investment in the
future of the Lord's kingdom work. Is there a young person you can
mentor? Is there a life you can impact for the glory of God? Is there
someone's life that you can be a blessing to for the glory of the
Lord? (Ill. This is what the Lord intends His people to be doing - Titus 2:2-5.)
C. There will come a time when your life will be wracked by the winds
of adversity. When those times time, your focus will be so inward
that you will not be able to make a difference for others. The time to
reach out is when things are going smoothly. Sadly, too many
believers live their lives for self, with no concern for anyone else.
V. V. 1-8 FOR INVENTORYING HIS BLESSINGS
A. As those peaceful days unfolded for Abraham, he was able to spend
the time listening to the laughter of Isaac and Sarah. He was able
to contemplate all that the Lord had done for him and how God had
blessed his life. It was a time for him to inventory the blessings of
B. Being thankful for the blessings of the Lord in the days when life is
good is a great way to prepare for those times when it is less than
pleasant! Living in the constant awareness of the Lord's goodness
and blessings in your life is a hedge against doubt, fear and
uncertainty when the hard days of trials come. (Note: God would
have us to be a thankful people, 1 Thes. 5:18; Phil. 4:6.)
C. Friends, don't take the easy days of life for granted! They will not last
forever, but while they are here, use them as times to rejoice in the
blessings of the Lord and to prepare for the days that are coming
when it may seem that the blessings are few and far in between!
Conc: At this point in his life, Abraham was well aware of all that he had
already been through. He knew what the storm felt like! He knew how dark
the valley could be and he knew how long the night could last. But, he did
not know what lay just ahead! If he had been able to see the future, he
might not have ever chosen to face it. God in His wisdom, used this rest
area time in Abraham's life to prepare him for the trial that was just ahead.
You know, you and I cannot see tomorrow either! We do not know what
is ahead. I am just glad that God, in His wisdom, plans a few rest areas
along the way for us to enjoy. He gives us the times of refreshment and
peace to help us to recover from our past battles and to prepare ourselves
for the trials that lie ahead.
Friends, are you using the rest areas of life to their full advantage? If
you are in one of life's lulls, thank God for, and ask Him to help you to use
it for His glory. If you are in the storm this evening, why not come before
Him and thank Him for the battle you are fighting and thank Him that
somewhere out there, there is a rest area with your name on it!