Friday, Feb. 22

To download an audio version, click here. 

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. By faith Abraham, even though he was past age—and Sarah herself was barren—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.  All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.   - Hebrews 11:8-16

Get the point?  Abraham lived “By Faith”, and what an incredible life he lived?  Abraham left, but he never really arrived, he remained a pilgrim, a traveler whose true home was not a place on this earth, but in the presence of his God. 

I have often heard authors and speakers describe the Christian life as an adventure. It is an exciting and adventurous life. Recently I heard a literary scholar discussing the difference between an adventure and a quest by using J.R.R. Tolkien’s books as examples.

The Hobbit – An adventure story, “there and back again,” something you choose, adds a little spice to your life, but then you come back from your adventure and pick up where you left off.  

LOTR – A quest. You don’t just come back from a quest.  A quest chooses you or it calls you. It changes your life.  You never really return from a quest, because even if you do come back, you are not the same person you were before.

The Christian life is really more of a quest than an adventure! It chooses you and it changes you. 

The key question is “how?” How can I surrender this completely?  How can I live this kind of life?

First, it does not always happen all at once (as we will see in the life of Abraham). It is a process and we experience setbacks. So you don’t have to be perfect all of the time to respond to the call, but you do have to want God above all else—above your own agenda and plans.

Abraham lived his entire life in this gap between promise and reality. 

Miroslav Volf writes, “The courage to break cultural and familial ties, to abandon the gods of his ancestors and to answer the call of God of all cultures and all peoples.... This is the original Abrahamic revolution..In the same way Christians must be willing to depart, to leave in order to make Christ their first allegiance.” 

It is always far easier to stay where you are or to know where you are going than to go and not know.

Abraham was given all of these promises by God, but underneath them all was the one central promise. The promise of a son!

All of the other promises hinge on this central promise:
Make your name great
Make you into a great nation

Bless all peoples through you
All these promises require a son, an heir.

Do you see that it is no different for us today? Every promise we have from God hinges on the promise of Jesus Christ! Everything comes down to the promise of the Son!

Sarah was barren and Abraham was old. That meant the son was going to be an act of miraculous grace. God in effect says: “Abraham, you can’t make this happen yourself, you’re just going to have to live with the faith in the son.” 

We are in the same position as Abraham. Responding to the call means to “get out,” to leave behind whatever holds us back, whatever competes for our allegiance, and live each day with faith in the Son!

Jeff Frazier

No comments: