Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Abraham is such an interesting guy. What struck me most about today’s reading, and I think it is something I’ve missed in the past, is that Abraham did not ask for descendants as numerous as the sand. Abraham didn’t ask for worldwide and timeless fame. We don’t enter into a story about a God answering Abraham’s petition for blessings. Nope. God wants to bless Abraham. God has the blessings prepared for Abraham. He just asks Abraham to follow and obey.
It gives me a bit of a warm feeling inside to know that God already has blessings in store for us. I too often picture prayer life as petition only. I know it is a valid form of prayer. After all, Jesus himself said to “seek”, “knock” and “ask”. But that is one dimensional prayer, or even more accurately, one directional prayer. In Abraham, we see a deep and intimate relationship between a man and God. In order to receive the blessings, Abraham is asked to follow and obey. He does and what a difference it makes. Sounds easy, but what does God ask us to do? Build an ark, leave our country, cut some skin off a very sensitive body part. God’s will is crazy to the human mind, but if we are his, we trust it.
Another thing jumped out at me, especially in the readings from Romans: Doing the will of God is not what saves you. Doing the will of God is evidence of your faith in his will. That faith is the first step toward salvation. The act of circumcision was only a way of marking Abraham and his people as faithful, but the act was not what made them God’s chosen people. They are God’s chosen people because God chose them (isn’t that an intelligent statement). However, their faith is evidenced by their willingness to do God’s commands.
I can’t say it much better that this:
So how do we fit what we know of Abraham, our first father in the faith, into this new way of looking at things? If Abraham, by what he did for God, got God to approve him, he could certainly have taken credit for it. But the story we’re given is a God-story, not an Abraham-story. What we read in Scripture is, “Abraham entered into what God was doing for him, and that was the turning point. He trusted God to set him right instead of trying to be right on his own.” – Romans 4:1-3 (The Message)
My response to this reading is to trust in the crazy will of God. Seems like Genesis is all about that crazy will. What God really wants from his people is a willingness to follow his lead.