So Abraham. I’m not sure why I picked this guy to write about. Honestly, I think I have a lot more in common with Sarah.
Woman who gets tired of waiting for God’s plan? Yep.
Woman who talks her husband into a crazy plan because God’s timing doesn’t make sense? Um, yes.
She and I could have had some good talks.
But here I am to talk about Abraham. So what’s the deal with this guy? Out of all the people mentioned in Hebrews 11, he gets the most coverage. Eight verses discuss him individually, plus a few more verses with others. Most of the other saints get only one verse or maybe a few. What’s up with that?
Well, a review of his life in these verses contain some pretty big stuff:
A call by God to leave his home country.
God promising many, many descendants, but then Abraham and Sarah having no baby until they are old.
Then after the long-awaited son finally arrives, God tells Abraham to kill this son as a sacrifice. At the last minute, God provides a substitute ram in place of Isaac. Wow, kinda dramatic at times, huh?
But here’s the thing. When we review Abraham’s story, we find a few, ahem, not so stellar moments. He started out worshiping other gods. He lied. He agreed to his wife’s crazy Plan B on the whole child thing, which involved … marrying the servant?
So… are we supposed to follow this guy’s example?
God tells us in Heb. 12:1-2 to “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” Not “fix your eyes on Abraham.” So where is Jesus in this story?
Well, a handy little footnote directed me to Joshua 24:2-3:
“And Joshua said to all the people, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Long ago, your fathers lived beyond the Euphrates, Terah, the father of Abraham and of Nahor; and they served other gods. Then I took your father Abraham from beyond the River and led him through all the land of Canaan, and made his offspring many. I gave him Isaac.”
Ok, let a grammar nerd geek out for a minute, ok?
Check out those verbs: took, led, made, gave.
Who’s doing the action?
At the very beginning of Abraham’s story, God is working, creating life, where there was only a dead soul, worshiping idols. The genealogy in Genesis 11 tells us the family line from Noah to Abraham. Somewhere along the line, false gods had entered the family story, and now Abraham is living in a pagan land, worshiping other gods.
We don’t know how God brought His Word to Abraham. Was it through a priest? Another believer? A missionary? It doesn’t give us those details. But the very beginning of Abraham’s story is God creating life. God called Abraham to faith and renewed His promise of a Savior. This shows us something awesome: God creates life where there is only a dead heart. Abraham’s life points us to God and how God works.
We are dead in our sins and God comes to us. He makes the dead alive, creates faith in stone cold hearts. And not only that, but he continues to work in us daily. It wasn’t a one-and-done thing at our conversion. Oh no. God is still active in our lives, keeping us close to him, and leading us along life’s crazy adventures. God wrote Abraham’s faith and perfected it, He kept working on Abraham, even after Abraham made mistakes.
Look at all God did in Abraham’s life:
God found him.
Called him to faith.
Promised him life in a new land, which pointed to the promise of life in heaven.
Gave him a child, when one was not possible.
Gave him descendants, including the promise of the Savior to come.
All of this proved God did not fail in His promises. God’s action is the foundation for Abraham’s faith and trust in God. God’s action led to Abraham’s action. Just as God was actively working in Abrahams’ life, He is also at work in yours. He is creating new life in you every day. He is working through His Word each time we read it. Each time we hear it at church, preached or taught. He not only creates faith in our dead hearts, but is faithful to His children throughout our lives, throughout our days of stumbling, falling, doubting. He does not let us go. He doesn’t leave us as idolaters, liars, doubters, etc.
He pursues and works in us to keep His own.
HE is faithful.
HE creates life.
He walks steadily with us as we stumble, fall into doubt and sin.
It’s not about Abraham. It’s about God.