“And Abram took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, and all the possessions and people they had acquired in Haran, and set out for the land of Canaan.” (Genesis 12:5)
Abraham was called out of the Land of Ur and told to go to a place that God had prepared for him. (Gen 12:1) Salvation is always a calling out. God moves us from our life of bondage to sin, to a life of faith in him. In every account there is a calling and a sending into the unknown. Salvation is a journey of faith, and faith is a confidence in what cannot be seen (Hebrews 11:1). But it begins with a promise, God promised Abram (the name means exulted father);
“ I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you; and all the families of the earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:2&3)
We are justified by faith (Gal 3:24) and this faith is developed when we journey into uncertainty, when we seek God and not our own wisdom. It is human nature to reduce life to a set of laws and principles, that give us order and certainty and a “comfort zone” we see this in the life of Israel who developed more and more laws of exclusivity. Jesus challenged this, the Gospel is for all the world, “all need to be saved, all can be saved and all must be saved and all must know that they are saved.’ Christ is not for the few, our salvation is for the benefit of all.
Abraham (means, the father of many). His name change shows the requirement that we mature from a desire to be exalted ourselves (Abram) to our faith being for the benefit of all (Abraham).
In his journeys Abraham goes through many trials and makes many mistakes, but God works everyone of them for good. Remember that though the story of the Jewish scriptures does not follow Ishmaels story any further, even Ishmael is assured of God’s blessing.(Genesis 21:13 & 18) From the beginning God’s plan reunites the children of Isaac and Ishmael, the salve and the free, for in Christ there is no distinction, (Gal 3:28) no insiders and outsiders, no Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, we all belong to Christ, we have from the beginning, for all were given the promise.
Note how in the ”pattern” there is always two: Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, Ishmael and Isaac: there is always, God’s way and our way! And God at work in both, God’s salvation offered even to Cain as he goes out under the protection of God (Genesis 4:15). Cain’s Son Enoch was such a faithful man that he did not die but was taken up into heaven (see Genesis 5:24) God always brings about good!
I hope that you will rethink the story of Abraham for your own life. I pray that you will realise that we too are called to this journey of faith and a pattern of life. Before us are choices, and we make them as obediently as we can, and we trust God with them. Abraham walked a difficult road, but every step was under the promise, a covenant made by God. Though the waters of life are tumultuous, God always makes a way for us and we can walk on the dry ground that he has provided, and although the waters part in a future of uncertainty, we can walk confidently because God is with us. He provides water in the wilderness, (Genesis 21:19) he provides, the lamb (Genesis 22:13) to set us free from the wages of sin, (Romans 6:23).
Salvation is God calling us to participate in the life that He has created us for. Today may you answer the call as Abraham did.
Let us pray.
Lord God thank you that we live under a Covenant of blessing. Thank you that you are forgiving and do not hold our sins against us, but continue to be at work in our lives and in all the decisions that we make, working for good, for your all people. Thank you that you are faithful on our good days and our bad days, and that you never forsake us. Use us today to reconcile the world to yourself, we submit to the Holy Spirit that our lives may bring you glory. Amen.