Today’s Readings: Genesis 17 and Luke 6:37-42
Have you ever had to make a really tough faith decision? I mean a really, really, really tough faith decision.
Personally, I can’t say that in light of today’s Genesis reading and the decisions Abraham made (and had made over many, many years) that this has been the case for me, however …. and you know that whenever ‘however’ is used, it means that what you are about to read is as a direct result of what has just unfolded.
Recently I was reminded about the significance of the ordinariness of life; the significance of the everyday decisions that we make where we don’t realise the implications not just for ourselves but in light of God’s plan for mankind, how he will use all things for his good.
“And we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love him who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
Yes, this reminder was about understanding that God would, and has done since the beginning of time, used a whole range of what we might call ‘bizarre circumstances’ to achieve his plan of redemption for mankind.
What we read in Chapter 17 of Genesis is a significant … no VERY significant time in the life of Abraham; the dialogue Abraham has with God; the decisions Abraham makes in faith and the precision of the date details, all contribute to reinforce the meticulousness and significance of God’s timing and plan.
Have you ever like Abraham THOUGHT you knew how things would unfold based on what you THOUGHT to be certain? And given the period of time passed (like Abraham) AND personal circumstances, have you found yourself in a place where you THOUGHT you knew for certain the outcome?
BUT God obviously had and has plans that are MORE certain ….
“I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.” Genesis 17:7
These are not just significant words to skim across. These are the promises of which we are the direct descendants spoken about! Not just significant, VERY significant promises.
And there’s more, for this was about a home; not just any home, but a place of belonging promised!
“The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; ….” Genesis 17:8a
But it’s the end of this statement that needs to be read slowly for the significance it was to Abraham and for us; the descendants …
“ ….. and I will be their God.”
And so this brings us to the consequences of the call by God to Abraham to circumcise all the males.
Did Abraham question God?
Did he question how any of what he was experiencing on a day to day basis could possibly have any relevance or fit with a promise that was taking years to unfold before any evidence of seeing God at work?
I’m certain this was the case BUT what we read in this chapter is about painful obedience that trusts in a future and hope promised – a covenant – by a faithful God.
Then God said, “Yes, BUT your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.” Genesis 17:19
And that is one VERY significant promise …
I’m eternally gratefully of living this side of the cross and the scripture we have at hand for our encouragement.
In Hebrews chapter 11 we read a beautiful depiction of the ‘ancients of old’ which includes a number of verses about Abraham. If you haven’t read this chapter in some time, can I encourage you to sit down and read the whole of this chapter as it gives a wonderful summary about faith, but in each story are imbedded the humanness of life and God’s amazing grace. And about Abraham …
“And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless and the sand on the seashore.” Hebrews 11:12
And that’s where we fit with this amazing story of grace; an encouragement to understand that out of what might seem at times to be difficult and painful decisions, is an encouragement to hold firm to a belief that God is and will continue to be at work about achieving his purpose and plan for his creation.