MOMENTS OF TRUTH

“21 Qualities for Christians in the Bible”

#5 - Competence

24 May 2020

Competence goes beyond words. It is the ability to say it, plan it, and do it in such a way that others know that you know how – and they are inspired to follow. The thing is, all competent Christians must continually search for ways to keep learning, growing, and improving. They follow through with excellence. This is always a choice, an act of the will. Competent Christians always go the extra mile. For them, good enough is never good enough. This is the attitude within them that inspires and motivates others to do the same. While some Christians rely on relational skills alone to survive, effective Christians combine those skills with high competence to influence others and help them to achieve their very best!

When we turn over to Genesis 22:1-18 we learn from Abraham, what it is to be competent in God’s eyes! For Abraham was obedient to God’s instruction when it came to his son Isaac. “Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am." 2 Then He said, "Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you." 3 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. 5 And Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you." 6 So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. 7 But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, "My father!" And he said, "Here I am, my son." Then he said, "Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" 8 And Abraham said, "My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering." So the two of them went together. 9 Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. 10 And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the Angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, "Abraham, Abraham!" So he said, "Here I am." 12 And He said, "Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me." 13 Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 And Abraham called the name of the place, The-LORD-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, "In the Mount of The LORD it shall be provided." 15 Then the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, 16 and said: "By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son - 17 "blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. 18 "In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice."

The first thing we see concerning God and Abraham is found in Genesis 22:1, “Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am."” God tested Abraham just as He tests all of us. God gave Abraham instructions and he followed them as we read in Genesis 22:3, “So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.” This was the first indication that God could see the competence He was looking for, but Abraham is one of those who goes “above and beyond.” For we see in Genesis 22:6, “So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together.” If you recall, there were servants that initially went with them. But now we see only Abraham and Isaac. In Genesis 22:8 we read Abraham’s response to Isaac’s question concerning the sacrifice, “And Abraham said, "My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering." So, the two of them went together.” In Genesis 22:9 we get to see yet another step in Abraham’s competence, this is where it always hits me hard, “Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood.” What happens next is even harder in Genesis 22:10, “And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.” It is at this point Abraham’s love for God and commitment to serving Him is ultimately revealed. God recognizes Abraham’s “above and beyond” competency and in Genesis 22:12 we read, “And He said, "Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me." Abraham Heard God’s Instructions

Abraham’s Competence was revealed for he took all the necessary steps required for the burnt offering. This is a tremendous story! And we must remember where God stayed Abraham from killing his son Isaac, God Himself, did not keep His only begotten Son from being put to death as a sacrifice for all mankind. When it comes to competence, well, Abraham’s competence was rewarded, and He was truly blessed by God. When it comes to our service to God, what lengths will we go to?

Now let’s turn our attention to yet another story concerning competence. Now we turn to 2 Chronicles 29:1-11 and 15-36 and the story of when Hezekiah becomes king of Judah, “Hezekiah became king when he was twenty-five years old, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Abijah the daughter of Zechariah. 2 And he did what was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father David had done. 3 In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the LORD and repaired them. 4 Then he brought in the priests and the Levites, and gathered them in the East Square, 5 and said to them: "Hear me, Levites! Now sanctify yourselves, sanctify the house of the LORD God of your fathers, and carry out the rubbish from the holy place. 6 "For our fathers have trespassed and done evil in the eyes of the LORD our God; they have forsaken Him, have turned their faces away from the dwelling place of the LORD, and turned their backs on Him. 7 "They have also shut up the doors of the vestibule, put out the lamps, and have not burned incense or offered burnt offerings in the holy place to the God of Israel. 8 "Therefore the wrath of the LORD fell upon Judah and Jerusalem, and He has given them up to trouble, to desolation, and to jeering, as you see with your eyes. 9 "For indeed, because of this our fathers have fallen by the sword; and our sons, our daughters, and our wives are in captivity. 10 "Now it is in my heart to make a covenant with the LORD God of Israel, that His fierce wrath may turn away from us. 11 "My sons, do not be negligent now, for the LORD has chosen you to stand before Him, to serve Him, and that you should minister to Him and burn incense." … 15 And they gathered their brethren, sanctified themselves, and went according to the commandment of the king, at the words of the LORD, to cleanse the house of the LORD. 16 Then the priests went into the inner part of the house of the LORD to cleanse it, and brought out all the debris that they found in the temple of the LORD to the court of the house of the LORD. And the Levites took it out and carried it to the Brook Kidron. 17 Now they began to sanctify on the first day of the first month, and on the eighth day of the month they came to the vestibule of the LORD. Then they sanctified the house of the LORD in eight days, and on the sixteenth day of the first month they finished. 18 Then they went into King Hezekiah and said, "We have cleansed all the house of the LORD, the altar of burnt offerings with all its articles, and the table of the showbread with all its articles. 19 "Moreover all the articles which King Ahaz in his reign had cast aside in his transgression we have prepared and sanctified; and there they are, before the altar of the LORD." 20 Then King Hezekiah rose early, gathered the rulers of the city, and went up to the house of the LORD. 21 And they brought seven bulls, seven rams, seven lambs, and seven male goats for a sin offering for the kingdom, for the sanctuary, and for Judah. Then he commanded the priests, the sons of Aaron, to offer them on the altar of the LORD. 22 So they killed the bulls, and the priests received the blood and sprinkled it on the altar. Likewise, they killed the rams and sprinkled the blood on the altar. They also killed the lambs and sprinkled the blood on the altar. 23 Then they brought out the male goats for the sin offering before the king and the assembly, and they laid their hands on them. 24 And the priests killed them; and they presented their blood on the altar as a sin offering to make an atonement for all Israel, for the king commanded that the burnt offering and the sin offering be made for all Israel. 25 And he stationed the Levites in the house of the LORD with cymbals, with stringed instruments, and with harps, according to the commandment of David, of Gad the king's seer, and of Nathan the prophet; for thus was the commandment of the LORD by his prophets. 26 The Levites stood with the instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets. 27 Then Hezekiah commanded them to offer the burnt offering on the altar. And when the burnt offering began, the song of the LORD also began, with the trumpets and with the instruments of David king of Israel. 28 So all the assembly worshiped, the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded; all this continued until the burnt offering was finished. 29 And when they had finished offering, the king and all who were present with him bowed and worshiped. 30 Moreover King Hezekiah and the leaders commanded the Levites to sing praise to the LORD with the words of David and of Asaph the seer. So, they sang praises with gladness, and they bowed their heads and worshiped. 31 Then Hezekiah answered and said, "Now that you have consecrated yourselves to the LORD, come near, and bring sacrifices and thank offerings into the house of the LORD." So, the assembly brought in sacrifices and thank offerings, and as many as were of a willing heart brought burnt offerings. 32 And the number of the burnt offerings which the assembly brought was seventy bulls, one hundred rams, and two hundred lambs; all these were for a burnt offering to the LORD. 33 The consecrated things were six hundred bulls and three thousand sheep. 34 But the priests were too few, so that they could not skin all the burnt offerings; therefore their brethren the Levites helped them until the work was ended and until the other priests had sanctified themselves, for the Levites were more diligent in sanctifying themselves than the priests. 35 Also the burnt offerings were in abundance, with the fat of the peace offerings and with the drink offerings for every burnt offering. So, the service of the house of the LORD was set in order. 36 Then Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced that God had prepared the people, since the events took place so suddenly.” Now, to get the whole story we need to also include 2 Chronicles 31:20-21, “Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah, and he did what was good and right and true before the LORD his God. 21 And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, in the law and in the commandment, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart. So, he prospered.”

There are some things to take note of concerning Hezekiah in 2 Chronicles 29:1-2 we learn he was a relatively young man and already had his heart right, “Hezekiah became king when he was twenty-five years old, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Abijah the daughter of Zechariah. 2 And he did what was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father David had done.” As well, he sought to get things on track for the Lord for in 2 Chronicles 29:3 we read, “In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the LORD and repaired them.” Notice the words he speaks in 2 Chronicles 29:10, “Now it is in my heart to make a covenant with the LORD God of Israel, that His fierce wrath may turn away from us.” Hezekiah was determined from his heart to prevent God’s wrath from coming down upon them. Notice what we read in 2 Chronicles 29:15, “And they gathered their brethren, sanctified themselves, and went according to the commandment of the king, at the words of the LORD, to cleanse the house of the LORD.” When we jump down to 2 Chronicles 29:30 we see the positive outcome from the people due to the competence of Hezekiah, “Moreover King Hezekiah and the leaders commanded the Levites to sing praise to the LORD with the words of David and of Asaph the seer. So, they sang praises with gladness, and they bowed their heads and worshiped.” When we look further at 2 Chronicles 29:36, we can see continued joy, “Then Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced that God had prepared the people, since the events took place so suddenly.” AS with other characteristics, competence has a lasting impact. In the case of Hezekiah this is easily seen when we go back and read 2 Chronicles 31:20-21, “Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah, and he did what was good and right and true before the LORD his God.” 21And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, in the law and in the commandment, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart. So, he prospered.” Hezekiah understood how their fathers had turned from God. Hezekiah’s Competence was shown in that he knew what had to be done, and it came from his heart! Hezekiah’s Competence brought joy to all those who repaired the temple and returned to following God! Now, we could safely say that with our examination of Abraham showing his competence by obeying God not sparing his only son and Hezekiah proving his when he led the cleansing of the temple from his heart that these would be all we need. However, our God has provided for us numerous examples of competence in the Scriptures. Another one we could have discussed is the qualifications of “overseers” and “deacons” found in 1 Timothy 3:1-13. You see these roles given by the Lord are crucial for every congregation of the Lord’s people. The qualifications listed identify the character traits necessary to serve in a leadership capacity in the local church. Therefore Character + Competence = an Overseer & a Deacon who leads his family well! Overseers & Deacons prove their competence in how they lead their families and the home and family is the proving ground for men to become servants in the Lord’s church. They must be competent! Lessons like Abraham and Hezekiah aid all men to become men of competence in doing the Lord’s work.

     With these examples of competence and so many others, let us examine our hearts and see if we “measure up” to the level of competence truly desired by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! For all Christians need to be people of competence so others will come!