Does faith exist where there is no faithfulness?
In Genesis 12 we meet the Abraham. He is an important part of the progressing story of God’s restorative work in the world. Abram is the beginning of a great nation, the nation of Israel. God chooses this person so he might choose for himself a people. God chose for himself a people so that he might send a person, his son Jesus Christ, into the world to redeem the world.
The Big Picture of the Bible that focuses on Jesus. Learning the Big Picture allows us to better understand the small pictures along the way. This part of the picture is an introduction to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob….the first, second, and third generation of the nation of Israel. This father, son, and grandson set such a powerful foundation of faith for their descendants that generations to come would speak of God as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. What an amazing legacy.
In Genesis 12 God promises Abram that he will give him a land that he will show him and that he will make a great nation from him that all of the nations of the earth will be blessed through. Abram, in response, to this great promise and this open-ended set of instructions takes off toward a land he does not know
Go is the first step to great. No one has ever experienced greatness without taking some risk. Greatness follows obedience. The desire to make great of our great God requires obedience to go.
The blessings of God never have their complete purpose in the one who receives them.Abram is blessed by God in many ways, but the purpose of these blessings was so that the all the nations of the earth would be blessed through him. We, however, miss the greatest blessings of God in our lives because we desire to be a container for them instead of a conduit of them.
In the following chapters we see how Abram and Sarai, his wife, struggle with the promises of God as they age yet have no children. Eventually Sarai gives Abraham a servant to bear children by and Ishmael is born. This does not fulfill God’s promise to Abram because this was not God’s plan, nor his promise. Instead it causes generations of hatred and war as the descendants of Ishmael (the Muslim world) and the descendants of Isaac (the Jewish people) are still enemies with one another. Patience is necessary to live and live out the promises of God.
We learn a great truth through the failings of Abram and his family (like when Abram lies about Sarai being his sister because he is afraid for his life). We learn that God purposefully uses imperfect people to do his perfect work.
Abraham’s long awaited son, Isaac, who was born very late in Abraham’s life, had some interesting experiences in his life. One such experience is the time that he and his father set out to make a sacrifice on a mountain. They had all they needed but the sacrifice itself so he asked his dad where was the sacrifice. Abram answered him “God will provide.” Little did young Isaac know that he was to be the sacrifice because God had commanded it of Abraham
Abraham and Isaac left their servants at the foot of the mountain with the words that they would both return. Abraham obediently bound Isaac to offer him as a sacrifice, but God stopped him and provided a ram for sacrifice. He praised Abraham for his faith and faithfulness and promised to bless him beyond measure and to bless the world through him and his descendants.
This foreshadows the great sacrifice of Christ. The difference is that God the Father had no other substitute. There were no other options for the price necessary for our redemption so in spite of his son’s plea to “remove the cup from him,” God offered his one and only son as a sacrifice for our sins.
Faith is God will provide. Our faith is in the fact that God has provided salvation in His son Jesus Christ. Do you believe he will provide?
If you do, then you will live a life of risk for God. Isaac’s son’s Esau and Jacob also had a strained relationship as Esau sold his birthright and inheritance to his tricky younger brother, Jacob, for some stew. Jacob was a selfish young man that God changed through the years. Eventually Jacob wrestled with God and God made a covenant with him and renamed him Israel. God marked Israel as his own. This marking declared that Israel, and his people, were God’s own.
Israel had 12 sons that led to the 12 tribes of Israel. A great, but imperfect, nation of people was born. God chose these people for a purpose and a plan. God purposed the redemption of their souls long before Jesus walked the earth and died on the cross.
The Big Picture invites us to be prepared for the Gospel of Jesus, to present the Gospel of Jesus, and to participate in the Gospel of Jesus. How can you live more prepared to follow Jesus this week? Who needs to hear the great big picture of the redemptive work of Jesus from you this week? How can you participate in the grace and love of the Gospel personally this week?
The work of Jesus is a Big Picture. Praise God you are invited to be a small part of it.