In calling and reaching out to Abraham, God was also reaching out to us, to humanity, for a second time. The first time God interacted with people, before the judgment of Noah’s flood, we chose to ignore His call and to disregard Him and His words. The Bible tells us that every imagination of our hearts was evil, and the result was global chaos with rampant violence and bloodshed. Few on the earth walked with a consciousness of the Lord in their daily lives and most lived only for themselves at the expense of others.
In the end, only one person, Noah, truly sought the Lord, and as a result he was blessed with God’s divine companionship, forgiveness and fellowship. God began to build a new, eternal community of faith though Noah and his seed, Abraham.
After his calling, Abraham would live in the promised land of Israel. Eventually, his grandson Jacob’s family would be compelled to move down to Egypt due to a severe famine, and their exile would last for several centuries. Abraham had been warned by God about this in advance:
12 As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram (Abraham). And behold, dreadful and great darkness fell upon him. 13 Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. 14 But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. Genesis 15:12-14 ESV
God disclosed that Abraham’s descendants would go from living a life of prosperity and blessing to living an oppressed life as slaves in Egypt, all happening over the course of several hundred years. Then, when God’s timing was right, eighty-year old Moses would be sent to free those descendants from the bondage of Egypt, leading them by divine grace towards the Promised Land of Israel.
Abraham had been personally chosen and called by God, the Creator of the universe. It was an extreme privilege, but it was not a life of ease and leisure. Though blessed with many riches, Abraham would live a life of many challenges with strong demands placed upon his faith. But he would prevail, as noted by the apostle Paul in Galatians chapter 3 where he says that the true sons of Abraham are not necessarily his blood descendants, but those who believe like Abraham, the “man of faith.”
Abraham did have tremendous faith, but he was not perfect. Consider the case of his promised son. It had been decades since God promised seventy-five-year-old Abraham that his descendants would become a great nation. And many years since God said his descendants would be more numerous than the stars in the heavens. Yet, so far, no child had come along. After ten years of waiting, Abraham and Sarah came up with their own plan in place of God’s. Using Sarah’s maid as a surrogate mother (Genesis 16), Ishmael was born. But this did not change God’s mind in the matter of divine lineage, and He did not alter it. God is sovereign over our lives. We can pray to Him and ask Him to make changes, but when God’s plan is better for us, He will lovingly and gently say “No”.
The royal line of Christ recorded in the genealogy of Jesus comes through Isaac, who would be born to Sarah on God’s timeline. No matter how old she was or how unlikely or impossible it appeared to Abraham and Sarah at the time, God fulfilled His word to them and established the line of Christ through Isaac, Sarah and Abraham’s son.
God is calling out to each one of us to give us another chance, be it the second one the hundredth.
Abraham had to wait on God for his promised blessing. What in your life are you are waiting for God to make happen? Is there something missing that you believe He had promised you? Something you had earnestly asked for that you have not received? Or is there something you have lost that has produced tremendous grief and perhaps has formed a barrier between you and God?
The Lord has said, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5 ESV. He wants each of us to live a life of peace and joy in Him, despite our circumstances.
Let us pray,
Lord, we lift our burdens, losses and heartaches to you. We ask for Your relief, comfort and grace. Remove also from us the pain of disappointment and regret. Bring us fulfillment and joy in your Presence as we seek another chance to walk with You. We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.
We can continually seek God’s help to accept some large obstacle or hole in our life. The Serenity Prayer can be a great tool to use for this, throughout each day:
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.” Amen.