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Why did God place the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil?
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쏛nd the LORD God commanded the man, saying, 쁅rom any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die.쇺 (Genesis 2:16-17) ...
       
 
  
 

Having Faith that God can raise people from the dead

Manmin News   No. 751
1228
October 08, 2023


쏝y faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac; and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; it was he to whom it was said, 쁈n Isaac your descendants shall be called. He considered that God is able to raise men even from the dead; from which he also received him back as a type. (Hebrews 11:17-19)


In the Bible God was pleased with some pioneers of faith who followed God셲 words without using human thoughts in any situation and blessed them. Abraham believed completely that God would be able to raise people even from the dead and proved his faith through actions so that he became the 쁣ather of faith. What kind of faith did Abraham have and what kind of actions did he demonstrate as proof of his faith in receiving amazing blessings physically and spiritually?


1. Abraham trusted in God and obeyed His words only by faith

1) With the faith that obeys God without mobilizing fleshly thoughts
Abraham lived about 4,000 years ago and his original name was Abram. He had no child because his wife Sarai was barren. His father Terah left his hometown of Ur of the Chaldees along with all his family and headed toward the land of Canaan. In the middle he settled in Haran.
In those days idolatry was prevalent not only in Ur of the Chaldees but also in Haran. Terah maintained his pure lineage in reverent of God despite such environment but at some point, he got increasingly stained with idolatry. So, God caused Abram to leave his native country and his father셲 house and become independent so that he would not be stained (Genesis 12:1).
It was the beginning of the plan of God to make him the father of faith, and God gave him a covenant of blessing, saying, 쐙ou shall be a blessing (Genesis 12:2-3). Abram did not know where he was going, but he wholly trusted God and set out in obedience to God셲 word without any thought (Hebrews 11:8). This departure in obedience was itself the proof of his faith in God.
Because he believed in God셲 promise of blessing Abram was able to lay aside his former life without any lingering attachment and to depart in obedience to God셲 words.


2) With the faith in God who controls misfortune and fortune

Abram believed that only God controls disasters and blessings. The ground for this kind of faith was that he experienced God셲 work of turning misfortune into fortune not long after he left his hometown and moved to Egypt.
When Abram arrived in Egypt, the people there saw his wife Sarai and found her so beautiful. They even praised her in front of the Pharaoh. The Pharaoh became curious about her appearance and summoned her to the palace. This way Abram lost his wife to Pharaoh, King of Egypt (Genesis 12:14-15).
This could possibly happen in ancient times. In return for Sarai the Pharoah treated Abram generously and gave him many livestock and slaves. However, the Pharaoh and his house met with a big plague by God and he discovered that Sarai was Abram셲 wife, so that he sent her back to Abram (Genesis 12:17-20).
Abram had a short period of distress in heart but did not lose anything. Instead, his possessions were enriched with the livestock, silver and gold he received from Pharaoh. He almost lost his wife but that incident turned into a greater blessing in flesh and spirit. This experience enabled him to increase his faith in God and to trust God even more sincerely in all he did.
In Genesis 13, Abram was more and more blessed and became wealthier and his nephew Lot, who was with him, was also blessed. Their possessions increased so much that they could no longer stay together. When Abram셲 shepherds and Lot셲 quarreled against each other, Abram said to Lot, 쏱lease let there be no strife between you and me, nor between my herdsmen and your herdsmen, for we are brothers. Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me: if to the left, then I will go to the right; or if to the right, then I will go to the left. (Genesis 13:8-9). Abram was senior to Lot, but he gave up the right to first choice and let his nephew take a better place. Lot chose a better land with plenty of water and left.
The reason Abram followed goodness and gave his nephew the right to first choice was because he believed in God who controls life and death, fortune and misfortune. Abram and Lot were nomads and one of the most important factors in their businesses was water. However, Abram was well aware that real blessing did not depend on such physical conditions but only on God.
So how did God bless Abram when he gave a better land to his nephew Lot? In Genesis 13:14-17, God says 쒋 Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants forever. And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if anyone can number the dust of the earth, then your descendants can also be numbered. Arise, walk about the land through its length and breadth; for I will give it to you. God promised him a greater blessing because he completely believed in God who controls fortune and misfortune and sought goodness.
In this sese the key to blessing is whether God is with you or not, rather than any environment or condition. Of course, you should not ignore physical conditions or environments but as children of God you should prioritize the presence of God with you in your business.
For example, when you enter into a business, you should not do it on your own or only with your ability. You should rely on God by faith, who controls life and death, fortune and misfortune. You should do it in accordance with God셲 will, not out of greed. You should also do everything by faith in God and with a honest and sincere heart and try your best to do good; then blessings will surely come upon you.


3) With the faith in God who controls life and death

Abram believed that God controls life and death. He believed in God as the Ruler of all life. When he left his hometown, God promised, 쏧 will make you a great nation. And later God said, 쏧 will make your descendants as the dust of the earth. However, many years had already passed since he left his hometown, and he had no son to continue his family.
There was a reason that God did not respond quickly like this. Though God knew Abram believed that God is the Ruler of all life, He wanted to obtain from him the evidence of that faith. God planned to confirm his faith and to establish him as the father of faith through the generations.
Since Abram was old and childless, he wanted to make his servant Eliezer, whom he had raised at home, his heir (Genesis 15:3). But God clearly says, 쏷his man will not be your heir; but one who shall come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir. God also took Abram outside and told him, 쏯ow look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them. So shall your descendants be. God planted stronger faith into his heart once gain to let him have confidence.
When he was 99 God renamed Abram, which means 쁳he eldest, to 쁀braham which means 쁳he father of a multitude of nations. God also gave his wife Sarai a new name 쁓arah, which means 쁝 mother of nations. God further said that he would have a son at this season next year.
Abraham believed these words of God and indeed had a son Isaac at the age of 100 (Romans 4:18-22). Until he had Isaac he had once thought God셲 will would be fulfilled through his servant Eliezer or Hagar셲 son Ishmael. But God repeatedly told him, 쏰ne who shall come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir.
At last, the sed of promise was conceived by the power of God through him and Sarah whose bodies seemed to be dead from old age, and Abraham came to fully believe that God controls death and life.
This was just the beginning of the faith that God wanted Abraham to gain. One day God commanded him to do something. God said to him, 쏷ake now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah; and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you. (Genesis 22:2).
A burnt offering is one of sacrificial methods in Old Testament times. It involves cutting an animal into pieces, dividing the bones into pieces and cutting the flesh into pieces, placing them on an altar, burning them with fire, and offering incense to God. God promised Abraham many times that He would give him countless descendants, like the stars in the sky and the grains of sand on the seashore, and the seed of that promise was Isaac. But now God commanded him to offer Isaac as a burnt offering.
Nevertheless, Abraham obeyed and took Isaac to the place God had instructed him to go to. He had no sadness or resentment in heart at all, but rather a feeling of gratitude. His trust in God did not change.
When Abraham arrived at the mountain, he built an altar, spread out wood on it, bound Isaac, and placed him on top of it. The moment he took the knife and was about to kill his son, a voice suddenly came from heaven calling, 쏛braham, Abraham!
Abraham said, 쏦ere I am, and a very touching word followed. God said, 쏡o not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me (Genesis 22:12).
Abraham fully believed that even if he killed Isaac and offered him as a burnt offering, God would bring him back to life to fulfill the promise. Through this, Abraham셲 faith in God who controls life and death was clearly confirmed (Hebrews 11:17-19).


2. Abraham became a blessing through his actions of faith

Abraham entrusted everything he did to God who controls life and death, disaster and blessing, and as that result God blessed him in everything he did (Genesis 24:1). James 2:23 says, 쏿nd the Scripture was fulfilled which says, 쁀nd Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness, and he was called the friend of God.
Thus, Abraham performed the precious duty of overseeing the Upper Grave where saved souls stay temporarily, until the resurrection of Jesus Christ (Luke 16:22). He received many other blessings as well because he wholly trusted God who controls life and death, fortune and misfortune and entrusted all he did into God셲 hands.
Abraham became the father of faith for all who believe in God and was called the friend of God the Creator. Not only spiritual blessing but good health and long life was given. He also got rejuvenated and gave birth to six more sons after Isaac. His material blessings were abundant as well.
If you truly believe in and love God, you have to rely on God who controls life and death, disaster and blessing and to show the action of faith as the proof of complete faith.


Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
If you believe God controls life and death, fortune and misfortune and entrust everything to His hands, there is no problem in your life that cannot be solved. I pray in the name of the Lord that you will have the same faith that Abraham the father of faith did and succeed and prosper in all things you do.


 

 

 
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