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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1278

The Birds Will Come
Part One

April 2, 2017

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1278 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: I believe God’s people always need encouragement and help and it’s always in order. So anyway, Abram…Abraham was called Abram at this time and you remember how God had revealed Himself to Abram sometime before this. I don’t remember the time element exactly. He was living as basically a heathen—idol-worshiping family living somewhere in what is present-day Iraq, probably. And, God revealed Himself to Abram.

Now there was a certain amount of knowledge that had been handed down in a more traditional sense. People knew that there was a God. They had heard the tales of the flood. It wasn’t that many centuries after.

( congregation inaudible ).

I’m sorry, I’m not reading it. I’m gonna go to Genesis, chapter 15. I’m not there yet. But anyway, he had heard God’s voice and God said, get you out of your family, out of your household, and go to a land I’ll show you. And so he began the journey, and actually his dad went with him and one of his nephews, Lot, went with him.

And they settled in a place that was sort of halfway around the Fertile Crescent, and lived there until his father died and the Lord renewed the call. And they went on to the Promised Land in Palestine.

And he began to be a God-worshiper instead of an idol-worshiper. Everywhere he went, he built an altar and worshiped God and there was a sense of faith and confidence that was born in him that has become the model for faith ever since. It’s what it’s really all about. God spoke, and he believed Him.

I mean, it really is complicated, isn’t it? But that what it comes down to. When God speaks, do we really believe Him? And Abraham or Abram did. And he began to learn about God through his experiences, which again, is a pattern for how God deals with His people in the world. We don’t sit in a classroom and get it all. We learn in the classroom of life, and we learn over a lot of time and a lot of hard knocks.

And so, he did, he had the experience of going down into Egypt to escape a drought, I guess, a famine, and lived there for a while. And, actually, had to sort of tell a half-truth to get out of a situation where he knew Pharaoh would take an interest in his beautiful wife, and the Lord even backed him up in that. Isn’t it amazing how merciful God is to deal with us where we’re at?

( congregational response ).

He accepts us and loves us in one sense, but He loves us too much to leave us there. So He’s always reaching down to the very point where we’re at, loving us, but calling us forward. And He was doing this with Abram. And at every point his life, Abram was learning more things about God and his faith was deepening.

And, you remember how they came to the place where Lot and Abram couldn’t take care of their herds and flocks. There were just too many for them to stay together and so Abram tells Lot, if you go to the left, I’ll go to the right and so forth. Wherever you want to go, you take the first choice.

He looked down…at that time, the whole plain of Jordan, and what later became desert after God judged Sodom and Gomorrah…but at that time, it was a beautiful, well-watered place. And so he decided, that’s the place I want to go, and he pitched his tent near Sodom which was a wicked place.

And Abraham continued to worship God. He travelled from place to place, lived in tents, and everywhere he went he built an altar to God. And God kept revealing Himself a little bit at a time. And part of it had to do with his…I’ll skip over some of this because it’s not important. But anyway, he comes down to this period of time, this incident in chapter 15, where God comes to him in a vision and says, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” (NIV).

And, there was this sense…Abram was just a household, a pretty good sized household, but nonetheless, he was just an individual with an entourage of servants and flocks and herds, but he was living as a foreigner in a country, and it was dangerous. In fact, they had just come through that battle of all the kings, where God helped him to go and rescue, even the king of Sodom — rescued him. It was a blessing to him, even in his condition.

And here the Lord reminds him. You’re here because I brought you here. I’m the One who’s protecting you. Isn’t that an awesome thing that God…this blessing of Abraham, all these blessings of Abraham have passed down to all of his children and we’re his children! If our faith is in Christ, if God has birthed us into His Kingdom, through the Gospel of Jesus Christ and what He’s done, we are Abraham’s children. We’re heirs of these same promises.

And, whatever He may allow in our lives, he’s nonetheless watching over us. There’s nothing that Satan can possibly do to any individual life that God does not allow and does not have a purpose in. So, praise God! And our reward…I mean, do you want a better reward than to know Him and to enjoy His presence? Praise God, I appreciate His presence in our singing this morning.

( congregational amens ).

Thank God for the reality of it! It’s not just Christmas carols that we sing because we want to feel warm and fuzzy. There’s a reality behind those songs. It’s the Truth! He is the Lord! And He does reign! I know it doesn’t look like it because He’s permitting things to happen. But he’s allowing them to come to a conclusion—the conclusion of the age. We’re gonna see evil come to a zenith. We’re gonna see God’s people brought to maturity, to a readiness to step over into eternity.

How all that’s gonna unfold, I don’t know. But I know who does know. And we, like Abraham, are sojourners in a land that’s not our home. That’s our home. My home is somewhere else. But I’ll tell you, the same God who was with Abram is with us. Praise God!

But now, Abram, of course, at this point in his life, he’s heard what God has said, he’s obeyed Him, he’s believed Him, but naturally he’s got questions. You know…I’m gonna bless all the world through your seed. Okay, I don’t have a son here. And time goes by and I’m getting old…and how’s this gonna happen, Lord?

And so, he asks the question. He says, “O Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” And that was evidently the custom of the time that the head of his servants would have become his heir in the absence of a natural heir.

“And Abram said, You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir. Then the word of the Lord came to him: This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir. He took him outside and said, Look up at the heavens and count the stars—if indeed you can count them. Then he said to him, So shall your offspring be.”

And this is one of the key verses in the Scriptures! It’s referred to in the New Testament as the essence of what faith really is and how people become righteous in God’s eyes. We certainly cannot earn it. We don’t have the ability. We don’t have it within us to be able to qualify ourselves to be accepted by God. It ain’t gonna happen. We’re sinners. We need a Savior.

But anyway, the Scripture simply says, “Abram believed the Lord, and he…” the Lord, “…credited it to him…” Abram, “…as righteousness.” And that ought to be a lesson to us today. That’s what God is looking for. He’s looking for the simplicity of child-like faith in His ability to save us!

( congregational amens ).

Now I understand your service last night…last Sunday, rather, had to do with, ‘we have all we need in Christ.’ Well, praise God! That’s exactly right, because I don’t bring anything to the table when it comes to salvation. God doesn’t look down and say, hey, there’s Phil. I see something good in him and I’m gonna fan it into flame. No, there ain’t none! To put it in good English.

( laughter ).

There’s nothing. I have nothing. He chose…I mean, there’s no goodness in me. The goodness is in Him! And because of goodness in Him and because in His love and His purpose, He reached down to a helpless sinner and has provided in that Savior everything I could possibly need. I can’t add to that.

And so, salvation is not trying to be a Christian, and trying to somehow take on a religious lifestyle, trying to earn my way into his favor. He’s given me that in Him. It is abandoning my efforts! It is placing the impossibility of my becoming acceptable to Him into His hands to fix because I can’t do it. But that’s the hope of the Gospel.

And that’s what Abram was looking at here. There was no way he could produce an heir. And yet, that was central to the very purpose of God for his existence. And yet, he looked, he stared that impossibility in the face and said, God, I believe You. That’s the essence of how we come to God.

At some point, God has to confront the human will with the reality of our situation and turn our attention from us and what we are and what we aren’t, to Him and to His provision for us. And then our entire trust is placed in that. And then He goes to work. How many people has He gone to work on this week?

( congregational response ).

Yeah, He’s still working, isn’t He? Thank God He is, because I’m not there yet and neither are you. But He is faithful. And I’ll tell you what, this was a man that God called from such a heathen background and yet we see that somehow, there was something imparted into his spirit that enabled him to take a stand in faith, and at every point in his life, even when that faith was severely tried, he was able to stand and push through.

In spite of wobbles at times, in spite of times when he went this way and that way…there was still something in his heart that continued to point to true north. And he was able to get back on track and God was able to work. I’ll tell you, we have a God who is able to keep us on track when we don’t do so good. Thank God!

But anyway, the promise was that you’re gonna have a son and, “Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” But here’s another thing. Abram was still…he believed and yet there was a desire to go deeper. There was a desire to have a stronger conviction. There was a desire to reach further, to climb higher, spiritually speaking. And so, he asked the Lord…see, this is interesting that this is precipitated by what he says.

Well, the Lord continues to go on. He says, “I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans…” in Iraq, “…to give you this land to take possession of it. But Abram said, O Sovereign Lord, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?” There’s still that element of…I believe You, but I want to grow in my faith. How many here need to grow in your faith?

( congregational response ).

Yeah, definitely…both hands. You know, I believe the Lord knew this was coming, don’t you? He knows everything. And, He could see the heart that was behind this. This wasn’t somebody who was looking for reasons to doubt. This wasn’t for some carnal thing, but this was somebody who wanted to believe. This was somebody who wanted to trust God, was looking to Him with an honest heart. And so he asked the question, “How can I know that I will gain possession of it?”

So, the Lord basically sets up a kind of a covenant. I don’t know what’s behind all of this but it must have been something that was understandable to him. This is how we make a covenant with a deity. The heathens practiced various forms of sacrifice. And so, the Lord proposed…I was gonna call it a ceremony, but that’s not exactly it…but a covenant event.

“So the Lord said to him, Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon. Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other.” So he’s laying out this sacrifice. Now here’s what happens while he’s doing this and while he’s waiting. It said, “The birds, however, he did not cut in half.” But now some other birds come into the picture.

“Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away. As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. Then the Lord said to him, Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. But I will punish the nation…” and so forth.

I’m not gonna go ahead and read all of that, but there are great promises. He is given a whole lot more detail about what the Lord is gonna be doing for him. And it’s an experience that was meant to strengthen his confidence and strengthen his faith. God was answering.

But what brought my attention back to this was the process. Because here’s Abram, at God’s behest, setting up a situation where he has now made a sacrifice, he’s waiting on God, and what happens? Birds come, don’t they? And that’s kind of the thought that I had: ‘the birds will come.’ How many of you have had some birds coming around you this week?

( congregational response ).

Yeah. You know, I’ll go back to just some basic stuff here. God created us in His image, and it’s something we’ve brought up many times. His purpose was to live in us and through us and to express His wonderful, awesome, divine nature through us. That’s what we were made for. We were not made to be independent and rebellious. We were made to be an expression of His life and nature.

But we’re not the only ones in the scene, are we? We live in a world that is ruled over by spirits of darkness. And these birds are a pretty good picture of those…of devils, really, is what he’s talking about here. They are devils. And you think about the nature of a devil and their place in the scheme of things right here. Do you remember how when God came to Adam and Eve after they had fallen, and he looked at the serpent and He said, “…dust shall be the serpent’s meat.” (KJV). What were we made of in the beginning?

( congregational response ).

Dust, yeah. What you’re talking about there is…Satan, this is going to be your existence. Your nature is evil. Your nature is to do everything that is totally contrary to my nature, but the nearest thing you’re gonna ever have to satisfaction is when you use a human being and you express the evil of your nature through that human being.

And you see that in many places in the Scripture. You see devils feeding on human beings and trying to express their nature. You’ll see someone who’s overtaken with wrath, for example. And I’ll tell you, they can get to a certain point where there is a demon who is just like an alcoholic. He can’t get away from…he’s not happy unless he’s expressing what it’s his nature to do.

And so he’s got to find somebody and he’s got to vent that awful anger that he really has against God. And so, he will cultivate and build himself a home in somebody. And you take every aspect of fallen human nature and you will find demons that will feed on that and try to gain control and influence to the point where they can express their nature. And that’s the nearest thing they get to pleasure. And they are as addicted to that as the worst drug-addict on this planet is addicted to his need for those drugs.

And so, what I’m seeing in here is a picture of a believer who has come to God and said, God, I give You myself. These birds, this sacrifice, represented him. This is me laying down my life. This is me saying, God, I don’t believe to the world, I don’t belong to the Devil, I belong to You. And I am willing to die, I’m willing to lay down my life in order to come to a deeper relationship with You.

And how many times have you and I gone out of a service and somehow the Lord has spoken to us, and we’ve gone out and we’ve been stirred, we got a glimpse of something, we got a glimpse maybe of higher ground and we begin to reach out for it and there’s something that stirs within us, and what happens? The birds start to come.

There’s a time element between the time when Abram put out all these birds and he had to sit back and God hadn’t come yet. And it’s in that interval…I’ll tell you, God is wise in the way He does things. I’ll tell you, God is wise in the way He does things. He doesn’t just...He’s not a push-button God. Hey, here’s the formula…oh, good, I’ll push that button and boom, I get the instant result! God tries faith, doesn’t He?

And I’ll tell you, if you and I are going to declare, I’m yours, Lord, I’m gonna serve You, I want You, I want higher ground! Get ready, devils are gonna come...birds are going to come. And we’re gonna have to learn to recognize that.

And the thing that blesses me is Abraham…Abram at this point…there was a constancy, there was a certainty, there was a conviction in his heart…that this is what I’m doing! The God of the universe told me to do this! This sacrifice is not for you, birds! This sacrifice is for Him.

( congregational amens ).

And, I’ll tell you, this is the essence of our Christian journey. You could look at this and say this is a pretty good picture of Abram’s entire relationship with God. Because, how many times were there when his faith, waiting on the promise of God…25 years before he even had a son that God could say, yeah, that’s the one.

And then later on, being asked to sacrifice that one son! All these things that God called him to do that represented sacrifices of his own heart and his own nature, laying down his life for the purpose of God, to which God had called him. Can you imagine the things that went through his head during that time?

( congregation inaudible ).

Yeah! Oh, I just…I started to try to organize this and like so often…it just doesn’t seem like I’m able to, or the Lord blesses me to do that. It’s probably a good thing, because you don’t need my sermon.

But I’ll tell you what, there are birds that will attack every single person! One of them is…you did all this and nothing is happening. You prayed this prayer and nothing’s happening. You know why? Something’s wrong with you. It’s gotten quiet here. Yeah! How many of you have had that kind of bird land on your head…at a time like that? Yeah! That’s just ‘situation normal.’

But I’ll tell you what, God is going to teach us every time He allows a bird to come, God is teaching us something. God is teaching us to make a choice. You know, we talked about that Wednesday night. Every time we have some idea that comes into our heads that is contrary to what God has promised, what God has said, there’s like a fork in the road! We come to a fork and God says, “…this is the way, walk ye in it.” And the Devil comes along and says, ‘time’s wasting, you’re wasting your time, you tried it, it didn’t work…give in!’ And we have a choice, don’t we?

I’ll tell you what, God is so wise in the way He does things! He tries faith, not to discourage us, but to build strength, because you look at Abram after this was all over…Abraham…do you think his confidence increased? I do! Because, I’ll tell you what, he was able to withstand every attack of every single bird that came along. And he was able to look the Devil in the eye and say, get away! This sacrifice, I have offered…I have offered myself! This represents me! I have offered myself to God. You can’t have me.