Friday, May 13, 2011

Genesis 25:1-11 Part 2

Are you a reader of obituaries? Sometimes I’ll scan the obituaries of our local paper, because they are usually at the end of the local section. Some are very elaborate, detailing the person’s birth, childhood, schooling, military service, marriage(s), employment, survivors. Others simply report the death, as if the person had not lived a life. Oe thing you never see is something like this: “Bill was a great guy, if you don’t count the times he screamed at his kid and the two times he cheated on his wife, Betty;” or “She was a mean old broad, who hated everything and everyone, and who loved to gossip and put others down.” No, obituaries usually only note the positives of a person’s life - thankfully! Even the nastiest person is made out to be a saint at his or her death. And that is what we see in Abraham’s “obituary,” too!

We have seen the weaker side of Abraham recorded for all to read for posterity in the book of Genesis. We know how he made Sarah lie about being his sister TWICE to save his skin. We saw how he stumbled in his faith when he agreed to take Hagar. He was NOT the perfect saint. One of the things that makes the Bible so authentic and obviously God-inspired is that none of the “heroes” of the Bible are perfect, except for Christ. The rest all have their sinful sides fully displayed. Yet, God promises that our sins have been forgotten once we are His - they have been removed as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12).

When Abraham died he was 175 years old. If you look back to when God first called him in Genesis 12:4, you’ll see he was 75 when he first responded to God’s call. So, what do you suppose he did with his first 75 years, when he was living in a pagan polytheistic culture? Apparently is doesn’t matter to God, or to us, or it would have been recorded. But, I’m certain we would find that Abraham had plenty of “issues” in his past. Even during his 100 years of walking with God that were recorded, we have seen his failures, but none of these are included in his “obituary.” Hebrews 11, which is called “The Roll Call of Faith,” dedicates 12 verses to Abraham that show us what God remembers and wants us to remember about Abraham. The writer of Hebrews is making the point that people have ALWAYS been saved by faith in God, not by their own righteousness:

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. (vs. 8-10)

In these verses, Abraham is commended for his obedience to follow God’s call on his life and for having a heavenly perspective, living contentedly as a stranger just passing through this earth on his way to a better place.

By faith Abraham, even though he was too old to have children—and Sarah herself was not able to conceive—was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise. 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 as the sand on the seashore. (vs. 11-12)

Here we see God wants us to remember the faith of Abraham that believed nothing was too hard for God, including providing children through a barren old woman! And, finally, he is remembered by God for passing the test of his lifetime:

By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death. (vs. 17-19)

Twelve verses, more than given to any other Bible “hero,” tell us what God remembers and considers important for us to remember about Abraham: his faith in a faithful God, who is supreme, sovereign, and even able to raise the dead! Because, it really isn’t about Abraham - it’s about his GOD!

If you struggle with what you consider your lack of faith, or if you feel like you are not cutting it as a Christian, or if you struggle with feeling truly forgiven for those horrible skeletons in your closet, take hope from Abraham’s obituary! What is God going to remember about you?? He’s going to remember what HE has done IN you - not what you did for Him! Because Jesus died so that we might wear robes of His righteousness, God no longer sees those ugly things in our past - He is seeing us through Christ. Have no doubt that even now He is preparing a terrific obituary for you!

Have a great weekend!

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