As I’ve been reading through the Old Testament, I’ve noticed a few trends. I’ve noticed the flaws of the players. I’ve noticed that the Old Testament is a great picture of God’s grace. This, along with reading Preston Sprinkle’s book Charis, has made me more in awe of what God has in store for us.
The story of Abraham is a great one, so why not start at the beginning? In Genesis 12, the Lord promises Abram land, a nation, and to bless and protect his family. What a great promise! In our lives, how encouraging and motivating is it for someone to believe in us? God… GOD… believed in Abram. How motivating! It makes you want to run through that wall. In response, after God tells Abram land will be his, he enters Egypt. Upon entering Egypt, he feared Pharaoh would kill him to take his wife. So what did he do? Trusted God, right? NO! Of course not! He and Sarai hatched a plan to pass her off as his sister. This is great, until Pharaoh finds out. Spoiler: 25 years later, Abraham and Sarah hatched the same plan again, not learning their lesson the first time: God was watching out for them.
Now, let’s fast forward. Abram, 86 years old, is told by the Lord in a vision “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” How cool!?!?! God encouraging and and reaffirming his protection for Abram! Abram’s response?
2 But Abram said, “Lord God, what will You give me, seeing I go childless,”
Umm, what? Abram was doubting God’s promise of many descendants. But who wouldn’t, right? As I’m sure most of you know, Abram and Sarai took matters into his own hand: they agreed Hagar, their maidservant, would bear their child. It was not until age 100 did Abraham and Sarah bear their own child, Isaac. 25 years from the initial promise, 14 years after God’s confirmation of the promise and their immediate doubting. Just from this story, we can learn so so much. A list of top 10 lessons on Abraham’s life could be taken from these two errors in Abraham’s ways. But let’s continue on:
Isaac, Abraham and Sarah’s son, had to have been their prized jewel. Imagine, waiting 25+ years and finally getting your prize? So, what went through Abraham’s head when God told him to sacrifice Isaac? But, at this point is when you see it: Abraham trusts God. In the end, it works out for good. Now you see why God appointed Abraham as he did!
Isaac had many of the same flaws as his father, Abraham. He told the Egyptians Rebekah was his sister and struggled to trust God when he said they’d have kids. Both are mistakes Abraham made as well. Surely Abraham told Isaac about his blunder with Sarah. Surely he was encouraged (strongly) to trust God.
But, even despite their errors, the trends… a grace was displayed that the human mind cannot comprehend. We often have a view of God that he will only forgive so much. This is nowhere near true! God knew the plans he had for them. God knew their flaws and where they would fail him. But God used them despite it and through it. God listened to Abraham when he plead for Sodom. God’s covenant was promised to these two men and ran through them. No matter the flaw, no matter your sin, God can and still use you. What did both men do? They cried out to God. They begged God. They were angry with God. To me, this says God longs for your relationship, the truth. God longs for the communication lines to be open. Let’s oblige…
‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ Jeremiah 33:3