The Person God Uses
by Greg Hanson
Sunrise Wesleyan Church
November 21, 2004
Genesis 22:1-14 (NLT)
There’s a story that
takes place back in the days before the unification of East and West
Germany. It involves a young man who was trying to defect, and was
trying to escape from East Berlin to West Berlin. But like so many who
had tried before him, he was gunned down by communist guards while
trying to scale the walls. Onlookers rushed over to him as he lay in a
pool of his own blood. And his final words to them before dying? “I am
dying for the destruction of communism… what are you living for?”
Good question. What are you living for? What am I living for? Sometimes
we can get so full of apathy and indifference that our lives lose their
meaning. Josh McDowell says,
“Today, it is difficult to get people to cross the street for what they
believe let alone die for it.”
~ Josh McDowell
Yet when someone is completely sold out to what they believe in, even
to the point that they would be willing to die for it if necessary,
there are virtually no limits to what can be accomplished through them.
Never underestimate what God can do with one whose life wholly belongs
Earlier in the service, we read about Abraham and Isaac. Abraham was
someone whose life wholly belonged to God. It was an incredible story
about how Abraham was so committed to God that he was willing to give
up his own son because God asked him to.
What was God thinking? Did he really want Isaac to be killed? To be
sacrificed to Him? No. He would find no pleasure in the murder of a
young boy. What he wanted was to show that Abraham was sold out to Him
and would obey Him even to this extreme.
Abraham was a man that God could use. In fact, from Abraham God
intended to bless the whole human race. This morning I want to look at
this account in the life of Abraham and pull out three qualities that
are present in the person God can use.
The person God uses must be:
1. Available to
the Plan of God.
It’s interesting how
Abraham reacted to the instructions God gave Him. He didn’t offer a
plan “B”, he didn’t debate it, he didn’t try to negotiate or cut a
deal, he didn’t even point out the obvious contradiction between what
God was telling him to do and the value God placed on life. He simply
obeyed. He trusted God completely. His attitude was, “You’re my master.
I want Your will – nothing more, nothing less, nothing else.”
There’s a quote I heard years ago and I’m not even sure anymore where I
first heard it or who said it. It’s almost become a cliché. So if
you’ve heard it before, and it has grown stale, then listen to it
“God is more concerned with our availability than our ability.”
God’s got quite a track record of taking average people, or even below
average people, and doing supernatural things through them… just
because they were available.
Moses was just a stuttering cowardly man when God called him to lead
the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt.
Esther was just a young Jewish girl when God arranged for her to marry
the king of Persia, and subsequently save all her people from
David was just a little kid, a shepherd boy, when he fought the giant
Goliath and won!
Peter was just a lowly fisherman when Jesus called him to follow him,
and he became the primary leader in the early church.
It’s interesting to me that Peter, and all the other disciples as well,
had to leave their livelihood and follow Jesus. They were so available
to the plan of God that they were willing to leave their source of
income. Jesus Himself said;
Luke 9:58 (NLT)
“Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have
nests, but I, the Son of Man, have no home of my own, not even a place
to lay my head.”
Vance Havner, in his book On This Rock I Stand, wrote:
“God is on the lookout today for a man who will be quiet enough to get
a message from God, brave enough to preach it, and honest enough to
~ Vance Havner, On This Rock I Stand
You see, it’s not about getting God to bless you and sign on to your
agenda. God doesn’t owe you anything. Being a Christian and following
Jesus is about us signing on to His agenda and trusting His leadership
in our lives. As Abraham Lincoln said…
“My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is
to be on God's side, for God is always right.”
~ Abraham Lincoln
So the idea isn’t to say, “This is my plan. How does God fit?” It’s to
say, “This is God’s plan. How do I fit?” Are you available to the plan
of God for your life?
2. Abandoned to
the Purpose of God.
Years before Isaac was
even born, God talked to Abraham and made him a promise. He promised
Abraham that he and his wife, Sarah, would be the beginning of a
nation. They would leave a legacy. In fact, this is what God said in
Genesis 12:2 (NLT)
“I will cause you to become the father of a
great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and I will make you
a blessing to others.”
And in Genesis 15:5;
Genesis 15:5 (NLT)
“Look up into the heavens and count the
stars if you can. Your descendants will be like that—too many to count!”
And in Genesis 17;
Genesis 17:4, 6 (NLT)
“This is my covenant with you: I will make
you the father of not just one nation, but a multitude of nations! … I
will give you millions of descendants who will represent many nations.
Kings will be among them!”
So God promised and reinforced the promise that He was going to give
Abraham many, many descendants… too many to count, spreading throughout
the earth. With that in mind, take another look at Genesis 22:2…
Genesis 22:2 (NLT)
“Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac,
whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Sacrifice him there
as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will point out to
Do you see the problem? Isaac was Abraham’s only son. And he was being
asked to offer Isaac as a sacrifice! How would these other promises of
God, that Abraham would be the father of many nations, ever happen?
Well, that was God’s problem, not his. Abraham was abandoned to the
purpose of God and trusted God completely.
Let me show you a couple of interesting statements that Abraham makes
in this passage. The first is when he and Isaac leave the servants
behind. Abraham tells them,
Genesis 22:5 (NLT)
“Stay here with the donkey… The boy and I
will travel a little farther. We will worship there, and then we will
come right back.”
We? WE will worship and WE will come back? The other verse is found
when Isaac asked about where the lamb for the sacrifice was. Abraham
Genesis 22:8 (NLT)
“God will provide a lamb, my son.”
Abraham was doing exactly what God instructed him to do, but he never
lost faith that God would indeed keep His promise and somehow Isaac
would be spared. In fact, Abraham was sure that even if he did kill his
son, God had the power to raise the dead. Way over near the end of the
New Testament, there’s a great commentary on what Abraham was thinking.
Hebrews 11:17-19 (NLT)
It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac
as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received
God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, though God
had promised him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will
be counted.” Abraham assumed that if Isaac died, God was able to bring
him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son
back from the dead.
George Orwell in his classic book 1984 warned that this world would be
filled with people who care for nothing, live for nothing, and believe
in nothing. Well, Abraham deeply believed in something, and he
demonstrated that belief by his willingness to sacrifice his only son.
I read a story this week about how years ago two cars of a passenger
train traveling from Kingston, North Carolina, plunged into an open
drawbridge on the Elizabeth River. Eighteen of the passengers were
drowned or killed. The signal man insisted that he had displayed his
red flag in time for the engineer to stop the train, and other
employees testified to that fact in court.
The engineer, however, testified that it was a white flag that had been
shown, indicating that the way clear. Finally, one of the attorneys
suggested that the flag be brought into evidence, and the flag was
brought to the court. The flag was indeed a red flag, but through the
years it had faded enough that it could have easily been mistaken for a
What does your flag communicate to the world around you? Does your life
communicate a clear message or has your message faded? Does the way you
live your life match the words you speak and the things you say you
believe? Does your walk match your talk? We need to be people who are
completely abandoned to the purposes of God, trusting and following Him
regardless of what He asks us to do.
3. Assured of
the Provision of God.
Abraham told Isaac;
Genesis 22:8 (NLT)
“God will provide a lamb, my son.”
And that’s just what He did. So when they left, Abraham named the place
Yahweh Yir’eh. You may be more familiar with the term as Jehovah-Jireh.
Either way, it means: The Lord Will Provide.
According to Webster’s, the word “provide” has various levels of
Provide – to make ready beforehand; to supply
Now, I knew that to provide meant that you supply. I mean, it’s an
everyday word. We know what the word means. But what kind of caught my
attention was the word “beforehand”. You see, God never leaves us in a
lurch. He always supplies what we need before we need it. It might not
be very much before, but it’s never too late. He’s got perfect timing –
not a minute too soon, not a moment too late.
Listen to some of these verses that talk about the provision of God:
Deuteronomy 2:7 (NLT)
…the LORD your God has been with you and
provided for your every need so that you lacked nothing.
2 Corinthians 9:8 (NLT)
And God will generously provide all you need.
2 Thessalonians 1:7 (NLT)
And God will provide rest for you who are
being persecuted and also for us when the Lord Jesus appears from
Matthew 6:32-33 (NLT)
“Your heavenly Father already knows all your
needs, and he will give you all you need from day to day if you live
for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.”
Give me some feedback here. What are some things that God provides for
I’ve compiled a short list of some of the things that God provides. In
probably 45-60 seconds, these are the things I listed:
Are you assured of the provision of God? You may as well be, because He
promised he would supply your needs. Maybe you won’t get all your
wants, but He will meet all your needs. Trust Him on that. I can tell
you that He’s never let me down, and He’ll never let you down, either.
Isn’t it interesting
that Abraham, an average man with average problems, became a man that
God used to begin a whole nation that we refer to as God’s chosen
people? But Abraham did not display anything that’s impossible for us
today. It wasn’t an issue of intelligence or aptitude; talent or
ability; image or personality. He simply trusted God and obeyed. He was
available to the plan of God, abandoned to the purpose of God, and
assured of the provision of God.
My challenge for you this morning is simple: If you’ve been holding
back in trusting God and living for Him, then I challenge you to give
Him all of you this morning. Would you close your eyes for a minute? If
you’re here and it’s your decision this morning to trust in Him
completely and give Him all of yourself, then slip up your hand. No one
else is looking and I’m not going to mention you by name. But just
signal your commitment and reinforce it for yourself by raising your
to Tim Elmore, who provided much of the inspiration and material for
this message in his booklet “Being Used By God”, © 1990 Wesley Press)