March 17, the Eighth Day of Lent
March 17, 2011 § 1 Comment
It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going.
The author of Hebrews continues telling us of the heroes of faith, moving on from Noah to Abraham. Abraham occupied an important place in Jewish history; as he was the first one to be called a Hebrews, all Jews saw themselves as “sons of Abraham.” Here, the author of Hebrews specifically references Genesis 12.1-4. All Jews would have seen this moment as a key point in their history as a people; they would have been familiar with this event.
By speaking about Abraham, the author of Hebrews is using an example that his audience would have been familiar with; any Jew would have immediately resonated with the story of Abraham, since the Jews claimed his history as their own. The author of Hebrews continues to remind his audience of people in their history, their family, that lived by faith. He will speak of Abraham for several verses, but we will look at each individually.
The concept of packing up and leaving all that we know may resonate with some of us. The experience of journeying without knowing where we are going may also strike a chord. However, the author of Hebrews wants us to think of Abraham’s obedience.
Abraham’s obedience came out of a couple of things that we discussed earlier this week: a) He believed in God’s existence (and superiority in the pagan religions of the time) and b) he believed that God rewards those who seek him. As God spoke to Abraham, Abraham realized that he must obey in order to seek God. J. Wesley Adams says this about the call of Abraham: “Abraham’s call involved a) leaving the security of the known and the familiar, and b) pursuing the promise and inheritance of God in spite of the unknown and the unseen.”
Some days, we feel as though a promise is the only going keeping us going. Some days, we may not feel even that. However, we can take encouragement from Abraham’s example. Faith empowered Abraham to obey in the face of uncertainty. It can do the same for us.
As we journey through Lent together, may we obey by faith.
“Dear Lord, thank you for encouragement from your Word. Thank you for taking care of me where I am; please help me to leave the past and embrace what you have for me, even if I don’t know where that leads. I ask that you would help me to trust you with my future. Show me what to do, Lord, one step at a time; and remind me that one step is enough. Amen.”