Lately been thinking about the life of Abraham after reading through Genesis 11-25. For someone who has such a well-known reputation in the history of faith (see Heb. 11: 8-22), he is someone who makes a lot of poor choices. For a life that spanned 175 years much of which is chronicled is his failures, as he extricates himself from difficult situations by lying about his wife, Sarah, not being his wife but his sister, not once…but TWICE! Both times being heavily rebuked by a pagan authority, and both of them knew what was proper conduct. Ironic because they were men who didn’t know God, and Abraham supposedly did. He impregnates his wife’s servant girl, tries to intercede for the lecherous towns of Sodom and Gomorrah, and had to deal with his dysfunctional extended family that he loved (i.e., Lot and his family). He also spends a lot of time wandering on the cusp of settling in the land that God promised him, but it never happens, as is exemplified by the fact that he has to barter with the Hittites to find a plot of land for him and his wife’s last resting place, their burials.
While all of this may seem rather negative, or at least not very positive, I am encouraged by this man’s life. But why? Because he exemplified a life that trusted in the works and the actions of God. He gets up, goes and leaves his home country, where all of his kindred live in comfort and ease, and goes where God calls him. He trusts God’s promise that a child will be born, even in spite of his wife’s many years of barrenness, and he trusts the Lord’s promise so much so that he was willing to sacrifice his child, the answer to the promise, because he trusted that God’s promise and faithfulness would go forth somehow and someway (Heb. 11:19). So much of Abraham life is contingent on the reality that God made a relationship with him, and Abraham spent the rest of his life trusting this God, who he didn’t fully understand, and who revealed Himself sparingly. He had seen enough though, and knew that God was both real and good, and on the move to make things better for himself and for the whole world. Nothing drastic changed over Abraham’s 175 years, and he lived a life that might be somewhat painfully ordinary, but he trusted in a God who is not ordinary.
When you look through the lens of patient faith, you see that God did act on the promises to Abraham. He did have progeny as large in number as the stars in the sky, and they DID enter the promised land, eventually. However, when you take a closer look the ultimate promise was made and eventually fulfilled: “ I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies.” (Gen. 22:17) Paul picks up on this in Galatians and makes the point that Jesus is this offspring. All of those who have a relationship with Jesus stand with him at the gate of his enemies, strong and protected, pushing back against the tide of evil. We trust in and patiently wait for this God who is not ordinary, and drastically hates evil and sin, and loves this world and His people. Jesus stands at the gates of His enemies.
He Has Done Great Things
-praise God for all the funds raised for Birthright which was over $2,000! That is a lot of diapers, formula, clothes for children and families in need.
-praise God for all the JAM kids who went on the trip up to Hidden Acres, Iowa for the Winter Blast Conference. Eleven kids went to worship King Jesus, and celebrate the good news that He died for sinners at this retreat for middle-school students . Four of which concluded this weekend that they want to trust that good news, and have a life that is now defined by this relationship with Jesus.
The question now is, what do we do as a church? Where is God possibly calling you to? Is it to work with youth, and reap the harvest that is white for harvest? Jesus makes this statement to his disciples after interacting with the woman at the well in John 4:35-36: “ Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest. Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal; so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.”
You may be surprised to where God is perhaps “throwing” you into in regards to reaping the harvest. If you want to play some role in helping with the discipleship of the youth at our church, please contact either myself or the Boyers for the JAM Group, the Shoemakers for Overflow, and the Baumstarks for Haven.
Also, I want to give a special thanks to those who gave their time and money to help make this trip happen. On top of that, know as a church that your money is going towards the building of the kingdom, and real people are entering his kingdom and gaining eternal life.