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January 2, 2021 – Genesis 12-22

Abraham is such a model of faith, but the Scriptures do not give us merely a hagiographical version of his life. We learn not only about his faith and victories but, also, about his frequent lack of faith and failures. The reminder begins as Abram and Sarai head down into Egypt, and Abram says to Sarai, “when the Egyptians see you, they will say, 'This is his wife.' Then they will kill me, but they will let you live. Say you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared for your sake’” (12:12,13). Rather than trusting God, Abram resorted to deceit, his lack of faith on full display.

The story seems to go back and forth:

  • He let Lot choose the best of the land, not worried about his portion. Faith!

  • After rescuing Lot, he declined the booty from battle, trusting God’s provision. Faith!

  • He questioned God, that he had not given him the promised son. Lack of faith.

  • The scheming with Hagar and the birth of Ishmael. Lack of faith.

  • Abram and Sarai questioned God’s promise in their old age, even laughing at him. Lack of faith.

  • His prayer and pleading for Sodom. Faith!

  • In Gerar, a second round of passing Sarah off as his sister. Lack of faith.

  • He called on the Lord at Beersheba. Faith!

  • Obedience in taking Isaac to offer as a sacrifice. Great faith!

Paul looked back at the life of Abraham and declared, “he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was ‘counted to him as righteousness’” (Romans 4:20-2). Then, Paul concludes, “But the words ‘it was counted to him’ were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Romans 4:23-25).

I am glad that God allows imperfect people to be his friends and children, aren’t you?

1/3/2021 – Genesis 23-28

Abraham’s and Sarah’s long lives were coming to an end. Chapter 23 tells about Sarah’s death and burial. Both were flawed individuals but by the grace of God (our only hope, also) they saw the mighty hand of God at work and the fulfillment of the promises he made to them. At the end of their lives, they could say, “We have known God, and we have seen his faithfulness.” With our own sin and with all that the world can throw at us, what a blessing, at the end of life, to be able to give such a testimony!

The son of promise, Isaac, was married to Rebekah, and “after the death of Abraham, God blessed Isaac his son” (25:11). “And Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren. And the Lord granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived” (25:21), and twins were born: Esau and Jacob. Through much trouble –deceit, jealousy, famine, lack of faith on the part of Isaac, etc. – God reiterated the covenant promises to Isaac and promised, “I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you” (28:15). More would God do for Isaac but, surely, when he came to the end of his life, he could say with his parents, “I have known God, and I have seen his faithfulness.” We who rest in God and his promises that are found in Jesus Christ, we do not fear the end of earthly life because we know God and his faithfulness.

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