Sunday, July 05, 2015

This week's lesson (July 4-10): Abraham, the first missionary

Abraham is a mystery.

When you read God's promise to "make [Abraham] into a great nation," after all, then you naturally assume that he must be a good man, a godly man, a man who deserves such a blessing.

Then Abraham's fear of Pharaoh leads him to hide behind his wife -- something no self-respecting nomad would ever do . . . and you're left wondering:
  • Is he greedy? Then how do you account for Abraham's generosity to Lot?
  • Is he a coward? Then how do you account for Abraham's rescue of Lot?
  • Maybe God didn't know just how bad Abraham could be? Then why does He repeat His blessing -- and not just once, but several times?
No, it's a puzzle . . . 
And not until Genesis 20:12 do things snap into focus: not until Abraham off-handedly reveals that his wife "is my sister, the daughter of my father though not of my mother." You can't pretend this doesn't matter -- not after the story of Lot and his daughters. And with that revelation, you're left wondering:
  • Why would God bless this marriage with offspring?
  • How can God bless the offspring of this marriage?
  • And what kind of God would bless someone like Abraham -- someone who clearly doesn't doesn't deserve it?
In short, the story of Abraham is a mystery.
Grace always is.

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