After Terah was 70 years old, he became the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran. This is the account of Terah’s family. Terah was the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran was the father of Lot. But Haran died in Ur of the Chaldeans, the land of his birth, while his father, Terah, was still living. Meanwhile, Abram and Nahor both married. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milcah. (Milcah and her sister Iscah were daughters of Nahor’s brother Haran.) But Sarai was unable to become pregnant and had no children. One day Terah took his son Abram, his daughter-in-law Sarai (his son Abram’s wife), and his grandson Lot (his son Haran’s child) and moved away from Ur of the Chaldeans. He was headed for the land of Canaan, but they stopped at Haran and settled there. Terah lived for 205 years and died while still in Haran. The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” So Abram departed as the Lord had instructed, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran.
Dear God, maybe we aren’t as great as we think we are. Maybe, sometimes, we are just convenient to your plan.
It’s interesting that Genesis doesn’t really give us any great insights into why you chose Abram. I imagine it had something to do with the fact that he was pretty much willing to do any weird thing you asked him to do.
- Leave your family and go where I tell you (to be disclosed later). Okay
- Listen to Sarah and send Hagar and Ishmael off to seemingly die. Okay.
- Sacrifice your son on an altar to me. Sure.
I would imagine that the people around Abram/Abraham thought he was pretty weird. A religious zealot. But you gave him credibility through the blessings you gave him so I would imagine that was enough reason for the people around him to go along with him.
Is everything I just typed heresy? I don’t know. Maybe. But then I think of Paul. It certainly wasn’t his love for Jesus or goodness that made you call him. It was his zeal that you knew you could redeem and redirect for your purposes (is that more heresy?). Samson? Well, Samson was just a mess of a person, but certainly your person for a specific time. It certainly wasn’t his goodness or love for justice and mercy that earned him your favor. Jacob? A scoundrel if ever there was one, but you had some specific plan for this clan spawned by Abram through Isaac and Ishmael. Thousands of years later, and these are the two dominant religions in the world.
It makes me think of a Rich Mullins song called “Who God is Gonna Use.”
As part of the intro to this YouTube video he said, “Some people say, ‘Rich, don’t you feel like a phony talking about Christ?’ And I say, ‘No, I don’t because I don’t believe Christ loves me because I’m good.'” Then he goes on to sing about all of these people in the Bible you used about whom there was nothing particularly Godly. Balaam’s donkey. Pharaoh’s daughter who found Moses. Esther. Pilate.
So what’s my point in all of this? I think it’s that I can let go of any search for significance and rest assured that whatever significance you want my life to have you can accomplish with or without my decision to be significant. My job is to love you with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love my neighbor as myself. I’m called to do that because you deserve that. As to my worth in your kingdom, one day you will hold me accountable for what I did or didn’t do with my life.
“But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
I’ll admit that I don’t try to solve every problem I see. I don’t think there is any way that I possibly can. But then again, that is why you have the body of Christ and not just me. My job is to be sensitive to what you are calling me to do.
Father, give me ears to hear and eyes to see. Help me to not embrace my own posterity, but to embrace you. Help me to also see others through your eyes. Help me to not judge. To not assign a “kingdom value” to them. I would have totally discounted Abram, Jacob, and Samson. There are national leaders whom I discount now. I definitely have my opinions about who should win the next election for president, and I will vote that way, but I can also recognize that I don’t know your heart on this and I will trust that you are working out a greater plan that I cannot see even if it looks on the surface like we are taking two steps backward.
In Jesus’s name I pray,