By His Weakness Received Life

In weakness He remembered us
As He carved each wooden beam 
How we struggled in our frailty
To build our lifelong dreams

This Carpenter from Galilee
In a wilderness with stones
Was touched with our infirmities
By a hunger to His bones

When He took the cross and carried it
With a strength we cannot know
He laid down His rights and privileges
And His blood began to flow

But on the day the stone rolled back
And His grave was opened wide
We looked inside to see that we
By His weakness received life

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15 NKJV

By His Weakness Received Life by Peter Caligiuri copyright 2022 all rights reserved

The Legacy of Intercession

Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” Genesis 18:25 ESV

We begin looking at prayer this week, with one of the most vital purposes of prayer: intercession. If you are interested in a deeper look at intercessory prayer, I highly recommend Andrew Murray’s book, “The Ministry of Intercession” It is interesting to me that until we encounter Abraham (the Father of our Faith) we hear very little about prayer in the Bible. Surely Enoch prayed, along with other good guys, like Noah and Abel, but only Abraham’s prayers are recorded in detail. But if you think that Abraham started out by praying super spiritual requests you will be greatly disappointed. One of his earliest prayers that we have is found in chapter 15 of Genesis where he begins by saying,

O Sovereign Lord, what will you give me since I am childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus? Genesis 15:2

Then, even when God promises Abraham that despite his age, that he will not only have a son, but that God will give him the entire land of Canaan; what is his response?

O sovereign Lord, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?" Genesis 15:8 ESV

Though these questions seem both a bit selfish as well as impertinent, God is not at all bothered by them. He loves Abraham’s prayers, and He is preparing to answer them one day in a spectacular fashion. Abraham’s prayers (and even better God’s response) give me hope as I grow in my own prayer life. After all, we don’t delight in listening to our children, only after they have graduated from college. We enjoy even their most immature conversations while they are toddling around our house, and we are still changing their diapers! Skipping ahead to chapter 17, we listen in again to Abraham praying a few years later, as now he is praying for someone besides himself.

And Abraham said to God, "If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!" Genesis 17:18 ESV

And then in the same way that friendships deepen as we become more deeply committed to one another, God continues to draw Abraham into a more intimate fellowship. So. just a couple of years later we come to Abraham, the intercessor in chapter 18. Here, he is no longer praying for himself, or even his family. This time, Abraham is asking for God’s mercy for the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and God patiently listens to his every word. Then Abraham asks –

"...will not the Judge of all the earth do right?" Genesis 18:25b

What a question to ask God! It almost sounds like Abraham is making an accusation and yet God does not leap to His feet in anger. Instead, God gently guides Abraham’s prayers, step by step, towards greater and greater mercy. “Spare the city for fifty righteous.” evolves to thirty, twenty, ten and finally, only five. The biggest surprise for me is that eventually those who were spared were the family of Lot. These were not folks who I would have picked out as a particularly special loving group. No! They were complicated, messed up, far from perfect and a lot like us! So be encouraged today. God has given us a legacy of intercession that stretches all the way back to Abraham. Just as God cared enough to listen to Abraham pray for his own imperfect family, so God longs to hear us cry out for ours. He is eager to teach us, He is eager to listen, and He is waiting to answer us in spectacular fashion far beyond anything we could ever ask or think or even imagine!

Resting in the Arms of God

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
Romans 8:26 ESV

“Everything is going to be alright. God’s got this.” and, “He works everything for good.” Are all great sounding Christian ideas but in times of grief and discouragement the words often feel hollow and empty.

Some years ago we used to trade babysitting duties with another young couple so we could each have a kid-free night out. Their smallest was Debbie. From the first night she came Debbie decided that the only way she would go to sleep was if I held her in my arms and walked back and forth in our apartment for at least 20 minutes. Though my arms ached by the time she fell fast asleep I grew to have a special attachment to her.

That is what prayer is supposed to be between us and God. He invites us to bring Him our inconsolable griefs and welcomes us to be carried in His arms. Often I need Him to walk me back and forth across the throne room of heaven for much longer than I needed to carry Debbie. But the comfort and assurance I find there alone helps me embrace the truth that He is working all things together for good. Yes He is a good God – but only prayer keeps me close enough to His heart so that I can learn to rest in Him. Are you resting in the arms of God today?