Late last night, I sat down at my desk to finally complete an assignment for my Old Testament class that should have been done much earlier. The assignment was to read the Abraham story (Genesis 12-25) and the accompanying textbook pages, and then answer a few reflection questions over them.
My plan was to get this done quickly and move on with my day.
Fortunately, God had something else in mind.
Although I have read this story many times in the past, I think I have often failed to fully grasp it. I have always viewed Abraham as a hero, mustering up great faith in order to be willing to leave his country or even sacrifice his son.
While this may be true, I think it misses the point.
Although Abraham does demonstrate great faith a couple of times, he is unfaithful much more often. He lies about his wife to protect himself…twice… laughs in doubt at God’s promises, and fathers a child out of unbelief about God’s promised offspring.
Yet, in all this, God is overwhelmingly, graciously faithful to him.
When Abraham breaks God’s covenant, God still blesses and protects him. Abraham’s unfaithfulness only further highlights the unfathomable faithfulness of God. God makes it clear that, no matter what, he will ensure that his covenant promises are fulfilled. Even in Abraham’s unrighteousness, God still chooses to bless him, and to bless all nations through his offspring.
By choosing to preserve Abraham’s line, God continued his plan of redemption, as Jesus ultimately came from that line. So then, in fulfilling these promises, God was not only displaying his faithfulness to Abraham, but to all generations, you and I included.
Today was JBU Grandparents’ Day and, as I sat next to my mom and grandparents at chapel, this idea continued to permeate my thoughts.
As I looked down the chapel bench, I considered how gracious God has been toward me. He has been faithful to me even in my unfaithfulness. He has been faithful to my parents, who first introduced me to the goodness of God, and to their parents, and to countless other generations of his people, all the way to Abraham and beyond.
Today, my heart echoes that of the Psalmist:
“I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord, forever;
with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations.”