Whoever said the Bible wasn’t relevant anymore clearly hasn’t read it….or read it with a heart to understand God anyways. We’re continuing on our study of Genesis and Abraham’s life is such an incredible example to us, his spiritual descendants. I thought it was pretty hard when God called him away from the home he’s known all his life, to leave family and friends, the comforts of a relatively modern city and to “Go to a place I will show you.” Where? I’ll show you…just get going. Ok. I imagine it was also really hard to face the quarreling in his household between Lot’s servants and his own, then to come to the decision to part ways. Lot was his nephew and probably like a son to him since he didn’t have a son of his own. Then when he heard of the impending destruction of Sodom, where Lot was living, Abraham pleaded with God to spare the city if there were even 10 righteous people there. Yet the next day he woke to see the smoldering ruins and though God had graciously spared Lot (meaning, he didn’t deserve it either), Abraham might not have known. And then he had to deal with more conflict in the home when Sarah’s handmaid became pregnant by him and bore him Ishmael…a son whom he loved but was not of God’s promise. All the while he faithfully waited on God to make good on His promise of a son to Abraham and Sarah, through whom all the nations of the earth would be blessed.
Thankfully, this miracle son is born, when Abraham was a ripe old 100 years old. (Pretty good action for an old guy!) And his house is filled with joy and laughter for once. But trouble brews again as Ishmael starts to mock and pick on his half brother. Abraham now makes another difficult decision to send this son away.
Then somewhere in his early centenial years, God tests Abraham with his most precious gift – Isaac. His son. His only son. Whom he dearly loved. Of all the difficult things he’s been through, this one takes the cake. Poor Abe doesn’t get a break! He’s over 100 years old! But he passes and is greatly affirmed by God.
So I’m reminded that in God’s school of life….there is no coasting. There isn’t a “Ok we’re here! We can get comfy and rest now.” We are either growing or regressing. God’s testing isn’t to tempt us to fail, but to affirm in us what we have grown in and have learned. I hope I can be as faithful a student as Abraham.