I was a latecomer to church, never attending until my mid-twenties. Occasionally I would help with the kids ministry. They would sing the song “Father Abraham.” It’s funny to me that the kids would feature him in contrast to adult ministry. We didn’t talk about him so much.
In this current study of Abraham, he has been magnified. In the past I only thought about Abraham in regard to justification by faith and the Isaac sacrifice thing. This time around I see how bright he was in a rather bleak story. The fall of Genesis 3 leads to the first children murdering one another and a terrible downward spiral to chapter 6 where Noah shows up to bring some rest and refreshment. Then, immediately following we see the downward spiral continue with the tower of Babel. Gen 11:4 reads:
Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.
Their hearts were bent on doing exactly opposite of what God had made man to do. We are reminded of the reality that God so plainly stated after the flood in Gen 8:21:
Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood.
So, along comes Abram. He is no shining star but at least he is eligible to be used. He has not married his niece, he has not built a city to make a name for himself, and he has remained alive. (Gen 11:27-32) God chose to use him. God chose to bless him. Abram had not removed himself from the realm of blessing. God promised to bless him and use him to bring blessings to all the nations of the earth. God was intent on carrying out His mission and he will use anyone who will not remove themselves from the possibility.
I will make you into a great nation
Jesus is the ultimate offspring of Abraham. Through faith in Him we find complete forgiveness. Through faith in Him, anyone can remain in the realm of blessing! We can all be used to carry out the mission of God in our little microcosms.
When Peter made the faithful profession in Matt 16:16
You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Jesus told him that this is the stuff that He builds His church on. Abram expressed faith by believing and by acting in accordance with his belief. It wasn’t just lip service. Abram does exactly what God had asked him. (Gen 12:4)
So Abram left, as the Lord had told him
To be clear, Abram is no shining example of a human. But, he has remained in the realm of blessing through critical measures of obedience. Through obedience he chose to pursue the mission of God. He chose to allow God to bless the nations through him. His name would be made great because he humbled himself through obedience.
Our challenge is simple. Will we accept the call to bless the nations? Will we remain in the realm of blessing through faithful obedience? Will we set our hearts on walking with God and being a blessing to all in our path?
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A shepherd and his journey