I am in the early stages of writing a devotional book for my grandchildren about key people in the Bible. The second character is A is for Abraham. The goal is to help them cross the application bridge from the tension-creating circumstance in Abram’s life, his faith and their own circumstances and developing faith. Abram, later known as Abraham, offers rich life lessons with a multitude of applications. As I stated in Unchained to Change, yesterday, observing movements and behaviors across time in the lives of real people in real circumstance that resulting in change, is fascinating. The change described in Genesis was significant culturally, socially and personally for them, but also significant historically with application today.
When I began reading about Abram in Genesis, I was looking for life lessons for my grandchildren, keeping the concepts and applications simple. The first step for me was to look at Abram’s family tree, since family connections are important to young children. So when Abram was asked to leave his home and kin, he had to have faith and trust in this God he could not see. What struck me however, looking at Abram’s genealogy, was a purposeful and intentional God. The Old Testament is a love story about God and his people, Israel. This love story recounts a thread that can be traced from Adam to Jesus and ultimately to the followers of Christ by adoption. Genesis 5 provides the generations from Adam to Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth. Chapters 6 & 7 tell us about the struggles of the flood for Noah and his family (N is for Noah will likely cover those struggles). Genesis 8:1 begins with, “But God remembered Noah and the animals” and covers Noah’s life aboard the ark, the trials that followed, up to the tower of Babel in chapter11. Towards the middle of Genesis 11, the genealogy continues with Shem, Noah’s son. Most would find this boring. However, reading their ages when they conceived the next key character followed by the number of years they lived is meant to give us something or it would not have been recorded. It reminds me that God does not forget no matter how much time has passed, nor does he change his plan because of some crisis event. He is not surprised by the rise of terrorism in our country. He is not rattled by the events that rattle us. He is the same, yesterday, today and forever. This lineage gives me hope and helps me see this world through God’s eye. He is not limited by time. Age does not matter in his economy. The people he uses are regular people with real struggles who mess up, just like me. God never abandons them and they never lose faith. It all works out for them as long as they keep their focus and the God’s plan is realized. There is real pain and loss in these stories. There is fear and wars, murder, hatred, restoration and consequences for choices, just like there is today for us. But God is in control and works his plan for his glory and our good, just like he promised.
As the Genesis account reaches Abram, God begins to test our faith in his promises. Genesis 11:29 says “And Abram and Nabor took wives. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai . . . vs 30 Now Sarai was barren, she had no child.” Since you know the rest of the story, you can almost hear the background music reflect impending doom (Dun, Dun, Dun DAHHHH). God goes to great lengths to connect his thread of love and faithfulness to Abram, our next key character. God’s promise of a great nation begins with a barren woman and an old man (by today’s standards). Our circumstance and limitations do not diminish God’s plan and purpose; not for us, not for his use, not for the world. What brings me hope in the midst of the fear-producing events of this world, is that for thousands of years God has kept his promises. He remembered Noah floating in a boat and cared and responded. He created great nations from a barren woman and old man. He’s got this. I can trust him. I can stand when I want to hide. I can trust when I cannot see. I can love when it’s easier to hate. I can engage when it’s easier to isolate. I can relax into his faithful arms and believe He’s got me. A purposeful, intentional, merciful, faithful, loving God has got me and you.