I’d like to begin by asking a question what is the most famous line other than the one you heard awhile ago, the most famous line in the Lion King? If you remember, Hakuna Matata..matara or matata..whatever. In fact, they sang this in the film, you’ve seen it, “Hakuna Matata, what a wonderful phrase, hakuna matata, aint no passing craze… it means no worries, for the rest of your days, it’s our problem-free philosophy… hakuna matata. So it was the mantra of Simba to remind him to not worry about everything. Just to remind everyone, that is not biblical.
Isaac, in Genesis chapter 26 went through situations also in his life. But hakuna matata was not his problem-free philosophy. What he had was the promise from God. To be specific, THE PROMISED PRESENCE OF GOD. So turn with me to Genesis chapter 26. Our text this afternoon is from 1 to 6. We will focus on the first six verses but I’d like to read from verse 1 to verse 33. Genesis chapter 26 verses 1 to 33 and our focus is the first six verses. I’ll be reading from ESV. Now there was a famine in the land, besides the former famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Gerar to Abimelech king of the Philistines. And the Lord appeared to him and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; dwell in the land of which I shall tell you.
Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you and will bless you, for to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father. I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and will give to your offspring all these lands. And in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” So Isaac settled in Gerar. When the men of the place asked him about his wife, he said, “She is my sister,” for he feared to say, “My wife,” thinking, “lest the men of the place should kill me because of Rebekah,” because she was attractive in appearance. When he had been there a long time, Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out of a window and saw Isaac laughing with Rebekah his wife. So Abimelech called Isaac and said, “Behold, she is your wife. How then could you say, ‘She is my sister’?” Isaac said to him, “Because I thought, ‘Lest I die because of her.’” Abimelech said, “What is this you have done to us? One of the people might easily have lain with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us.” So Abimelech warned all the people, saying, “Whoever touches this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.” And Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. The Lord blessed him, and the man became rich, and gained more and more until he became very wealthy. He had possessions of flocks and herds and many servants, so that the Philistines envied him. (Now the Philistines had stopped and filled with earth all the wells that his father’s servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father.) And Abimelech said to Isaac, “Go away from us, for you are much mightier than we.” So Isaac departed from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar and settled there. And Isaac dug again the wells of water that had been dug in the days of Abraham his father, which the Philistines had stopped after the death of Abraham. And he gave them the names that his father had given them. But when Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and found there a well of spring water, the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Isaac’s herdsmen, saying, “The water is ours.” So he called the name of the well Esek, because they contended with him. Then they dug another well, and they quarreled over that also, so he called its name Sitnah. And he moved from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it. So he called its name Rehoboth, saying, “For now the Lord has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.”From there he went up to Beersheba. And the Lord appeared to him the same night and said, “I am the God of Abraham your father. Fear not, for I am with you and will bless you and multiply your offspring for my servant Abraham’s sake.” So he built an altar there and called upon the name of the Lord and pitched his tent there. And there Isaac’s servants dug a well. When Abimelech went to him from Gerar with Ahuzzath his adviser and Phicol the commander of his army, Isaac said to them, “Why have you come to me, seeing that you hate me and have sent me away from you?” They said, “We see plainly that the Lord has been with you. So we said, let there be a sworn pact between us, between you and us, and let us make a covenant with you, that you will do us no harm, just as we have not touched you and have done to you nothing but good and have sent you away in peace. You are now the blessed of the Lord.” So he made them a feast, and they ate and drank. In the morning they rose early and exchanged oaths. And Isaac sent them on their way, and they departed from him in peace. That same day Isaac’s servants came and told him about the well that they had dug and said to him, “We have found water.” He called it Shibah; therefore the name of the city is Beersheba to this day.
It was common during their time for Canaan to have a famine. It’s common. And so it’s common for people go to Egypt when there’s famine in Canaan because Egypt was full of food and resources. But we can see here in the first part of our chapter, God prohibits Isaac to go to Egypt and tells him to dwell instead in the land of Gerar. Now, Gerar is also inside the land of Canaan. It is in the southern territory specifically in the territory where the Philistines were settling, where they lived. In fact, they had a king there and the name of the king in fact it is a title of the king..it’s Abimelech. So they lived, the name of the place, their land is Gerar. However, it’s still inside the land of Canaan. As you know, the whole land of Canaan was so big and it was still full of many inhabitants during that time eventhough God told them I promised to give you the land eventhough it was full of inhabitants during that time. Marami pang nakatira doo, okay na foreigners, na Canaanites. So basically, God is saying, don’t go to Egypt eventhough there is famine now. Remain in Canaan. That’s what God is basically saying. But before Isaac settles in the southern part of Canaan in Gerar, He heard the promises of God. In fact same promises that God gave to Abraham. If you remember, we read that in our scripture reading, we read chapter 12 verses 1 to 12. That was the first time when God gave Araham all the promises, that He will bless him, Abraham. And now that God will bless Isaac, right, that God will give Isaac the descendants, many descendants. And that God will give Isaac the land of Canaan. But I think, what’s highlighted in this chapter though, the specific promise that was highlighted in this chapter is that fact that God said, “I will be with you.” I will be with you. And so after God reiterated the promises, Isaac goes through..the whole chapter we read it..the same situations that Abraham went through, right. He lied about his wife being his sister. That’s something that happened with Abraham, in fact, twice.
And there were disputes regarding the wells that also happened with Abraham. And Isaac having a covenant of peace, a treaty with the king of the Philistines. That also happened with Abraham. So we see these things, a repeat of all situations that happened to Abraham. Events that also happened to his father and more on that next sermons. We’ll focus on the specific the specific passages there but what God assures Isaac of during these situations and this is why I said this Promise specific promise is highlighted in this chapter verse 24 when God appeared to Isaac he reiterated fear not for I Am With You. God promised His presence to be with Isaac whatever the situation is. Or you will go through the same situations? I will be with you. That’s exactly what God did. Because we see in verse 28 in verse 28 when Abimelech and fickle the commander were making a treaty with Isaac what did they say verse 28? Oh we see the reason why we wanted to make a covenant of peace with you uh uh Isaac, is because we see plainly that the Lord has been with you. So what do we see here? God is saying, Isaac, while Egypt has many resources, has many food, don’t go there. Stay in the land that I promised you. You will experience challenges but don’t forget I will be with you. Isn’t it something that we can all relate to? An unchanging truth that all of us must always be reminded of.
And that is my message this afternoon, WHATEVER THE SITUATION IS, WE CAN BE CERTAIN THAT GOD IS WITH US. Makakasiguro tayo na ang Diyos ay kasama natin sa kahit anong sitwasyon. That is my message this afternoon. And I have two points for you. Firstly, the ASSURANCE OF HIS PRESENCE. We can read that from the passage. Kasiguraduhan ng Kaniyang Presensya. And my second Point BENEFIT OF HIS PRESENCE. Yung biyaya ng Kaniyang presensya. So let us consider the first point
Assurance of His presence. So God gives Isaac in the first six verses God gives Isaac several “I will” statements. I will be with you, I will bless you, I will give you this land, I will multiply your offspring. But then verse 5 tells us that it was conditional. It was something conditional.
The reason why God will do these things is because verse 5, “Abraham obeyed my voice.” Because Abraham kept my charge, because Abraham kept my Commandments, because Abraham kept my statutes and my laws. The Covenant that God gave to Abraham was a conditional Covenant. God will give the land. He will multiply his descent Abraham’s descendants because Abraham was obedient. But at the end of the day we all know that Abraham was still a sinner like all of us. How we read all the story how he uh procreated with Hagar, right. Nagkaroon sila ng anak, si Ishmael. Hindi sila makapag-hintay sa promise ng Panginoon. So we saw how he lacked faith in his life. Nagsinungaling pa siya. He lied about his wife. At sinabi niya una sa king of Egypt sa Genesis chapter 12. Sabi niya, ‘Ah hindi, kapatid ko yan.’ Sinabi din niya afterwards, nangyari uli yun. Sa king of Gerar naman, si Abimelech din. Sabi niya, ‘ah, hindi, kapatid ko yan.’ So he lied. He was a sinner. And yet the Scripture acknowledged his obedience. And because of the obedience of Abraham,Isaac was benefiting from the obedience of his father, right.
Abraham was obedient, sabi dito. Now this reminds us of someone else. This reminds us, this reminds us of Someone else who truly obeyed, who perfectly obeyed. We saw how even si Abraham ay nagkasala pa rin kahit na inacknowledge sya na obedient siya. Reminds us of Someone who is perfect, who truly obeyed the will of God, who never sinned and that is Jesus Christ. Now if God blessed Abraham, if God blessed Isaac because Abraham and even Isaac were obedient. And God will indeed multiply their descendants and God will indeed give them the land because of their obedience. And what more, yung obedience nung perpektong Taong puunta dito. What more, the obedience, the perfect obedience of Jesus Christ. What more? He was sinless. Now, when sin entered the world, God immediately promised, ang sabi ng Panginoon, Oh, I will send the seed of the woman and the seed of the woman will crush the head of the serpent. And what that means, is that sin, that there will be a reversal of Genesis chapter 3. Sin entered the world back then. Death entered the world. Now this seed of the woman, what He will accomplish is that He will reverse everything. In fact he will make everything new. He will defeat sin, He will defeat death, He will even defeat the serpent. These are the promises and Christ was obedient. He was perfectly obedient, truly obedient. Sa tingin ba natin, hindi rin totoo yung mga promises na iyon? Tingin ba natin, hindi matutupad yung mga promises na iyon? If the promises of Abraham, I mean, ay kung gagawin ng Panginoon, He will, He will, He will, He will multiply. He will give the land because Abraham was obedient. Even though he was sinner, he was a sinner, what more si Christ?! What more si Christ? Isa pa sa mga promises sabi sa Ezekiel chapter 36 verse 27 – God promised to pour out His spirit. I-pou-pour out daw ng Panginoon ang Kaniyang Espiritu and cause the people to be obedient. So see these are better promises that were accomplished by Jesus Christ by His obedience. And again, if Abraham’s obedience was acknowledged and that the physical blessings were given to Abraham and even Isaac because of their obedience, how about Christ who obeyed perfectly the purposes of God? Because Christ’s obedience is better. It is perfect! We can definitely rest assured as well if God said to Isaac ‘because you were obedient I will be with you.’ If Christ was obedient and He was. And God says He will pour out His Spirit! He will give His presence to His church. Then that means that it is indeed true that God’s presence is with His people because of the perfect obedience of His son. Jesus Christ’’s obedience, His obedience assures us of the abiding presence of God. Abiding! Abiding!
This is only true to those who have faith in Jesus Christ. If you don’t have faith, God’s presence does not abide in you. Rather, John chapter 3 verse 36 tells us whoever does not obey the son shall not see life but the wrath of God remains on him. If you don’t believe in Christ who is the Seed of the woman who defeated sin by His perfect life, who defeated death by dying on that cross and rising from the dead. He is the person and work that was promised by the Old Testament prophets by that God himself promised immediately after Adam and Eve sinned.They don’t believe in Jesus Christ. The wrath of God sabi sa John chapter 3, remains on you.
So repent now of your sins and come to faith in Him. Believe in Him and His work on the cross, His death and Resurrection. But if you believe in Jesus Christ, Ephesians 1 chapter 13 tells us because of the obedience of Jesus Christ, we were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. If you believe in Christ, the Holy Spirit is your seal. Minarkahan ka na. The Holy Spirit is your down payment, your guarantee of the inheritance that you will receive when you will be in glory with Christ. God is with us.
God is on our side. In fact you can also say God is in us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. No, I don’t mean that we become little gods’ God, we become gods. No! Pag sinabi nating God is in us, it just means the Holy Spirit indwells every true believer. That’s the reason why we can flee from Temptations. That’s the reason why we can mortify our sins and cultivate opposite graces. That’s the reason why we can be sanctified because the Holy Spirit indwells every believer. Thanks to the perfect Christ who accomplished this because of His obedience. God says he will pour out His Spirit and will cause us to obey. Oh, Christ was obedient, hence, God’s promise in Ezekiel is true. We are indwelt if you have faith in Christ. Believe this truth brethren. Huwag mo lang siyang tanggapin, paniwalaan mo Siya with all your heart and mind and soul.
Believe this truth that God is present, God abides in us. The mistake of many when it comes to the idea of death, kamatayan, is that they believe that those who died can guide them, watch over us. Usually, yung ating sinasabi, watch over us, he is now with us, he can pray for us. Well that’s obviously wrong. But see how people are so convinced by this wrong theology of death. In fact it shaped their life now. But they think that that their friends who or family members who passed away are with them. Ganun ang kanilang paniniwala ngayon. Of course that’s that’s really sad. Pero karamihan ay ganoon ang understanding. In fact they hold to this truth very firmly. Now how about us? Knowing that it is, that’s false, but we know what’s the truth, what’s the truth. Knowing that it is indeed true that God abides in every believer. We are called today to hold on to that truth, to cling to that truth. In fact, that’s my challenge for you this afternoon.
CLING TO THE TRUTH OF GOD’S ABIDING PRESENCE IN OUR LIVES.
Believe it, have faith that God abides in us always. The problem now is our understanding of the presence of God. It becomes subjective. We had to feel His presence in order for us to know that He is present.
When something very emotional that something emotional yung nangyari sa atin, when a certain blessing comes to us or if a certain prayer was answered by God, that’s the time we say oh God is truly present. But no! Kapatid, God is always present in a believer’s life through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Whatever the situation, even in difficult situations, even at times when you feel like God is not there, even if God was with- withholding His grace. Well, hold on to this truth, that the Holy Spirit never leaves a believer’s life. God abides in every believer. Cling to this truth. This means that even at times that we are so low, we can definitely turn to God anytime. We can definitely fellowship with God in prayer and even in reading the word, that the truth that God is always present in our lives shall overcome the temptations that would deceive us into thinking that God doesn’t care for us, God doesn’t love us. That the challenges in life, struggles in life become purposeful for us.
Because God is with us. And God uses these things for us. Because God is on our side. He is with us, He is in us.
There was a Puritan whose name was John Howe, hindi John Lao, sorry. John Howe, H. John Howe. He was on his deathbed, experiencing excruciating pain. Sabi dun sa kaniyang biography, what gave him the comfort and the courage to face death was the knowledge of God’s presence in him. He will, he knows that God is all has been present in his life when he had faith in Christ. He, he believes that he’s entering Glory. He’s not going to lose that presence. It is ever abiding. So that gave him comfort. Mga kapatid, do you feel that God is not with you? Do you only think of this truth if something good is happening in your life?
Repent of that! And cling to the truth of God’s abiding presence in our lives. What a loving God we have brethren and thanks to Jesus Christ who alone is able to accomplish this for us. If not for Christ, living on our behalf, dying on that cross, we can’t expect God to be with us. In fact John chapter 1 verse 14 – He’s the word who became flesh and dwelt with us! Emmanuel God With Us! So that when He, when He accomplishes His work on the cross, God will be indeed with us. His spirit with us in every believer. And so while it is true that the presence of God abides in every genuine individual believer, it is also true that God has a special presence. That is my last point BENEFIT OF HIS PRESENCE.
BENEFIT OF HIS PRESENCE. So God told Isaac in verse 2 onwards, do not go down to Egypt. Dwell in the land of which I shall tell you. Sojourn in this land and I will be with you..sabi ng Diyos. He said dwell there and I will be with you. Dwell there, do not go there. Dwell there and I will be with you. So it’s true that the presence of God is with us, is in us and yet there is a sense when we are called to be in the presence of God. Dwell there and I will be with you. If Isaac went to Egypt will he be blessed?
No. So basically Isaac must continue the call to obedience that his father Abraham did. There is the sense that Abraham obeyed that’s why God will do this. But, but God is still calling Isaac to obey Him, right.
Abraham, Abraham obeyed me Isaac, oh so you Isaac will be blessed. But I command you also to keep my commands, to keep my Covenant, to not go to Egypt. And so if you disobey me, then you will not be blessed. You need to be in this land to be in my presence so that you will receive the blessings. You can’t get these blessings outside of Canaan so remain here. That’s basically what God Said to Isaac. Now that was back then.
We don’t go now to Canaan now or to Israel to experience the presence of God. His special presence. How about now? God’s special presence is not confined in Canaan.In fact when Christ was speaking to the woman, He’s saying the presence of God will not be any more in mount..in Jerusalem, in the temple you won’t see that, you won’t experience and see the presence of God there anymore. There will come a time when true worshipers will worship in spirit and in truth. People who knows the Truth, who have been changed the truth capital ’T’ Truth by Jesus Christ, who have been regenerated by the spirit Capital ’S’ Holy Spirit.
When they gather together now, that’s where God’s presence is.
Matthew chapter 18 verse 20 for where two or three are gathered in my name there am I among them You might say “Teka Pastor, di ba church discipline yung context noon? That’s right. That’s why church, in church discipline, kailangang gawin iyon ng church na gathered sila. Pero ginamit ni Christ yung ‘for where two or three are gathered in my name’ , He was actually uh pointing to the religion of that time, Judaism. Yung tinatawag na “MINYAN.” There has to be 10 people so that, so the worship service of Judaism can continue. Pero sabi ng Panginoon, hindi! When there’s two or three, oh they can worship God already. And when they worship together faithfully, there am I among them, sabi ni Christ.
Again, it is true that God is present everywhere. Sabi sa cathecism, where is God? God is everywhere. It is true that God is present also in every believer. We talked about that a while ago. And yet it is also true that God especially present in a body of believers, in a community of believers gathered in worship. And you know what? God calls us to draw near, dwell there and I will be with you. Come to that presence! Come to the corporate worship of God! And if Isaac was to be blessed in Canaan, same for us! It is in the special presence of God where He continuously blesses us. Where He continuously communicates His blessings to us. The church gathered is God’s Garden of Eden, dwelling place. The church gathered in worship is God’s tabernacle, God’s temple, God’s dwelling place. It is in the church where the word of God, the gospel is preached. Where the sacraments are administered. It is where these things are communicated to us to give us strength, to give us comfort, to give us hope. The word that you hear from the Lord’s day is the same word that you use to defeat your sins. When your car needs fuel, what do we look for? Where do we get fuel? Gasoline stations.
When you run out of food, where do you look? Groceries..o sige, wet market. When you need shelter to rest, where do you want to be? Your own home. We say these things are necessities, but these things only satisfy your physical body. How about the need of your soul? Where do you go so that before the start of the week, you’ll be full tank? Where do you go so that you won’t hunger and thirst for the word? Where do you go so that you can find rest? It is in the corporate worship of God, brethren.
So ang challenge ko sa inyong lahat: Train your heart, train your heart to be in the corporate worship every Lord’s Day. Dwell there and I will be with you. Train your hearts not to be late. Train your hearts to be with God’s people who confess the same faith as yours, who also worship and love our God. Train your hearts to greet your brethren.
Fellowship with them and build them up. The problem is if we think that the Lord’s day worship is a place where you’re just dragged. Dragging naman! Naku, Sunday morning na naman! Ginagawa ko lang ito kasi baka ma-discipline ako. Pag hindi ko ito ginawa…ginagawa ko lang ito kasi yung asawa ko lang naman ang may gustong mag-worship. And that’s a problem if you think like that. That coming to worship is legalistic.
Kelan pa naging legalistic ang sumunod sa layunin ng Panginoon?! Legalistic na pala ang sumunod sa ten commandments. Lord’s Day worship feels dragging for some. And it happens if we’re not looking at the corporate worship as a place where God specially dwells. That happens, this happens we forget that God is with his people, Think about it. When we when we say it’s Sunday again. I have to drag my feet to the church again. It’s the same as saying: wait, it’s Sunday again, I have to drag my feet to the presence of God. Can’t we see what’s wrong there? Hebrews chapter 12 verses 22 to 24. Sabi ni, author ng Hebrews, this is where you go when you’re in the presence of God. It says but you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the Living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in feastal gatherings, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all into the spirits of the righteous made perfect. Lastly, he said, and to Jesus, the Mediator of a new covenant. Brethren here’s what’s happening when you attend worship. You are at the top of the highest mountains in the world, Mount Zion. In fact so high is where Earth meets heaven. There are innumerable angels who sing with us when you sing hymns, when you sing Psalms to the Lord, when you worship God. Innumerable angels who sing with us. At hindi lang yun.
Yung mga nag-enroll na raw sa langit, yung mga namatay na raw na una, na, na-redeem ni Christ, they are there also, enrolled, worshiping, joining the worship.
And lastly, you go to whom? To Christ. You go to Christ the mediator of a New Covenant. That’s what happens when you attend worship. The question is are our hearts trained in a way that we understand this every Lord’s day? Are our hearts trained in a way that every morning they were saying oh I’m burning to God. I’m going to the presence of God. I’m going to Mt. Zion to be with God’s people. I’m going to receive all the blessings that Christ will shower upon us people. I’m going to be strengthened by the word today. Because I need it. I’ve been sitting for the past week and I need the graces and blessings of God. His strengthening so that I can mortify my sins so that I can be confident and I will be reminded of my Hope. Because I was hopeless the past week. I need it. Or do you think this way – Ito na nga lang ang time ko sa sarili ko. Ito na lang ang time ko sa pamilya ko. Do we realize the blessing and the privilege we have, brethren? When a brother or a sister or a pastor tells you to attend worship, when they tell you lovingly, when they remind you lovingly of your duty and privilege to attend worship. Oh let me rephrase that.. when God calls you to worship. It’s God telling you be there because your soul needs it. You need to be blessed by God spiritually. You need to be with your brethren. I’m giving you what you need to kill the sin that hinders you. I’m giving you my son, Christ. You need Christ. And in worship, Christ gives Himself. Imagine a sinner is invited to be in the presence of God. A sinner wouldn’t want to do that. A sinner wouldn’t really want to go. But we are invited, brethren. But see, we’re not just talking about just going. We’re talking about worshiping. Being there to worship. But of course it starts by going.
Iyan yung sinabi ni Joseph A. Pipa Jr. in his book, Is The Lord’s day For You. He said and I quote “I like to think of the Sabbath as a wonderful garden adorned with beautiful flowers where God meets with us.” Ganun ba ang tingin natin sa Sabbath? Ganun ba ang tingin natin sa Lord’s day worship na para bang napakagandang hardin? Mas maganda pa sa Garden of Eden in fact. Adorned with beautiful flowers and most importantly, the reason why it is beautiful, because GOD MEETS WITH US. Dwell here and God will be with you. When spiritual famine comes brethren, Egypt will not quench your thirst. “Your Egypt” meaning whatever it is that you think would satisfy you will not give you what you truly need. For Christ Alone is the bread of life. He is the living water and Christ is proclaimed to us. Christ preaches to us Himself.
When the church faithfully gathers every Lord’s Day, it is only by staying in this dwelling place of God, the church gather in worship where you can truly be satisfied brethren. So brothers and sisters the promised presence of God is a reality to sinners. Sa ating mga niligtas ng Diyos, redeemed by Christ and in dwelt by the Holy Spirit therefore we must celebrate this truth and enjoy a special presence in corporate worship. May the word of God enrich our knowledge of him and may it steer us to live the life of these truths.
Let us pray. Great God and gracious Father, salamat po Panginoon sa reminder that You abide in every believer. Lord that whatever situation we’re in, Lord, we can be certain that You are with us. Na hindi Mo kami iiwan. That nothing can separate us from Your love, oh Lord. Salamat Panginoon. And Lord, You know how weak we are because of our sin, because of our remaining sin. And so You have Your footstool in this earth. And that is the corporate gathering of the church. Para patuloy ang aming sanctification. Para patuloy ang pagpapalakas Mo sa amin.
Panginoon, nawa maging faithful kami, oh Lord sa pag-gather with the saints at pagsamba sa Iyo. Knowing Lord, na hindi lang ito duty, but also a privilege, for this is Your means for us oh, Lord to continue in our sanctification to to obey Your law in the world. So Panginoon, marami pong salamat. We Praise You In Christ’s name amen