What's Up With The Genesis Promise?
Genesis 12:1-4 - NIV
The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."
So Abram left, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran.
No Country For Old Men
Abram came to be known as Abraham, but in our initial introduction to him he is Abram, son of Terah. When we meet him he is living in Haran and had already put many miles behind him; he had seen three quarters of a century pass when all of a sudden he had this supernatural encounter.
The fact that Abram was an old man when God stirred the embers of spiritual curiosity into a flame did not seem to faze him or slow him down. Ultimately the land or country God was calling him to was a place called faith, which was not so much a destination as it was a journey.
Putting the movie title No County For Old Men to work as a metaphor, faith is no country for old men because faith has very little room for old patterns of thinking, old mindsets, old ruts of routine, old ways of reacting to the stuff of life.
Abram’s response is actually quite remarkable when it gets put alongside what we see expressed in our lives. Speaking from a growing experience, as we age we tend to settle into the comfortable and wrap the tried and true around us. It appears to be a universal inclination, but it conflicts with faith.
Faith is newness that takes the old of the past and transforms it; faith is a fresh perspective that always possesses redemptive power. Faith sees new possibilities and is renewed each morning. Faith is a day by day adventure in living.
We must grasp the awesome marvel of faith with all the excitement and wonder of a child, but exactly what is faith?
Hebrews 11:1-2 - The Message
The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It's our handle on what we can't see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.
God Is God
Faith is taking God at his word; faith meets reality when we put it to work and take God at his word in all the circumstances of our lives. Is that easy to do?
Not at all because life throws some high hard ones at us; life knocks us down in the dirt and can be a confusing series of difficulties that hurt or confuse us. Sometimes faith means walking in the darkness with only glimmers to prod us on.
Abram came to understand faith as the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. His story tells us that God exists, God cares and God desires to be in relationship with individuals.
Consider his life: Abram was safe and secure in the city of Haran. By the standards of his day he was wealthy. There was no earthly reason for him to venture out into the unknown, but his imagination was engaged; he responded to the mystery of God with the heart of a child.
Abram packed up and left, but we must realize that he did not have to; he had a choice. He could have just as easily said thanks but no thanks. He might have gone off into a knee-jerk rant: No way, no chance, no how, not me!
Instead a fire sparked in him and he began to clutch hold of faith with a sometime desperate helplessness. In his obedience Abram discovered that God is God and there is no other; he learned that life itself is a God-thing.
Life Worth Living
God initiated this encounter with Abram for his purposes; God singled out Abram. What we see in this ought to teach us that life is not about us; life was not about Abram; history was not about Abram.
Life is about God; history is about God. Life is about what God desires to do in and through each one of us. History is God’s story unfolding in our midst and he has made provision for us to connect our stories to his story.
God told Abram that all peoples on earth would be blessed through him; history tells us that Jesus of Nazareth was a direct descendant of Abram.
How could a peasant carpenter from a village of no repute be the fulfillment of the great covenant? It was a question that haunted the first-century religious leaders in Jerusalem. A particular Pharisee named Nicodemus was seeking to make sense of his understanding of faith which was rooted in the promise to Abram. One night he went to Jesus and engaged him in conversation.
In the ensuing dialog, Jesus crystallized the meaning of the promised blessing: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
What’s up with the Genesis promise is this: It is in Jesus Christ that we are blessed and have life worth living.
- Wanted Man
Wanted Man a.k.a. Ken R. Abell, seeks to be a blessing to others. He's a rake, a rambler, and a teller of tales who understands that there is strength in a story well told and well lived. To learn more, inquire or schedule him, visit this web site.
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