Sunday, February 13, 2011


I've been reading through Genesis 13-17 the last few days. It is about Abraham, the father of Israel. And Sarah. And a few other people too. I've been thinking about Abraham. I've been feeling sorry for Abraham. I've been in awe of Abraham. His reaction to God, His faith. It's crazy faith. It's not perfect. When I read stories like this, though, I always think "Yeah, I would have cursed God, right about there." I also think it is curious that we don't teach Scripture to children very well. All I remember about Abraham is singing "Father Abraham" while yawning in the hard pews of my Baptist church. That is about all that I remember about Abraham. I also don't remember anything about Abraham from my Old Testament class freshman year. That one is probably my fault. Oh well. I'm learning now.

So, God stops in on Abram and Sarai and says "Hey, you guys are having a baby. I'm promising this. You will be the Father of Nations. You won't be able to count them, because they will number more than the stars. See? K. Bye."

I imagine Abram in his 20's, Sarai ten years younger, maybe a little scared. I mean, I guess we expected to get pregnant, anyway. God just decided to make a covenant with us. Okay. Cool.

Fast forward...70 years. A lot happens in between here. Abraham and Sarah both make some foolish choices. Sinful. I don't blame either of them. They've been waiting for years. God came by when Abraham was 70ish and said, "This thing is still on." And Abraham believes. Scripture even says his belief was counted towards his righteousness. This is incredible to me. If I were Abraham, I'd be watching my body waste away, all my good years fading, all my friends, grand parents. God, don't you think there was a better way to plan this?

Finally, in chapter 17, when Abraham is 99 years old. 99. years old. That is really old. Back then it was old just like now. God comes by and says "Get ready. Be blameless. Now is the time." What does Abraham do? Falls on his face. Twice. He has watched himself deteriorate and grow old and frail, his wife gone from fertile to...already past menopause?

It doesn't make sense. It's illogical. Bad timing. Silly. It is truly laughable (Isaac). I see two fascinating realizations from this text.

First: Throughout this, Abraham asks "Really, God?" and "How?" But he doesn't ever ask "Why? Why did you put me through this terrible waiting? God I trusted you, and was this really best? I believed."

I know my own heart cries Why? Oh, the injustice. It's not fair!

That is not this story.

Abraham does believe. He may not understand how OR why, and, he doesn't ask.

Second realization: God doesn't give an answer. God doesn't say "Thanks for waiting. I really needed you to wait because this war... Or this was going on with this country...Or...fill in the blank. God doesn't confess to any human logic or reason. All God does is make a promise. Then 70 years later says "The time is now."

That is justice. That is sovereignty. That is perfection. Because at the foundation, at the center - you know what there is? God.

Not my reasoning. God. Not my plans. God. Not my logic. God. Not my ability. God. Not my strength. God. Not my comfort. God.


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